There’s been a lot of talk of how olive oil is healthier for a person than butter. But it seems there’s a tendency for us to put a lot more olive oil on our bread than butter.
In two different Italian restaurants we randomly gave people either olive oil or butter, and weighed the leftovers after they finished their meal. Those using olive oil ate 26% more fat calories on every piece of bread they ate compared to the more frugal butter users.
Olive oil is harder to spread and it has a “health halo” which makes us feel less guilty about overindulging. Still, 26% more oil is 26% more fat.
Source: Wansink, Brian and Lawrence W. Linder (2003), “Interactions Between Forms of Fat Consumption and Restaurant Bread Consumption,” International Journal of Obesity, 27:7, 866-868.
For 30 years my Lab and I have focused on discovering secret answers to help people live better lives. Some of these relate to health and happiness (and often to food). Please share whatever you find useful.
This video of one of my post-docs gives a flavor of one type of research that we've done: