Counting the calories in our favourite snacks
Table olives are one of the most popular and frequently consumed foods in Spain. They taste great and can be combined with just about anything, and are one of the most nutritional foods in the supermarket. We too often think that fats are bad for us, but we do need some fat in our diets and olives are one of the best sources. Olives are very rich in healthy unsaturated fats, especially the monounsaturated oleic acid, and contain relatively little of the ‘bad’ saturated fats. They aid our insides thanks to their digestible fibre content. Essential minerals such as calcium, iron, potassium magnesium, phosphorus and iodine can all be found in olives.
The table below shows the nutritional differences in a range of popular snacks. Green or black olives come out as being healthier and lower in calorie content than just about any alternative snack option.
Counting the calories in our favourite snacks is the best option to know what we are eating.
Olives are mainly composed of water and a portion of 100 grammes contain about 150 calories. The same weight of olives holds 2.6 grammes of dietary fibre, or 1.73 grammes per 100kcal when expressed in other terms. Under the labelling regulations of the European Parliament and the European Commission, olives are classified as a source of dietary fibre and their consumption can help us reach our recommended fibre intake of 30 grammes per day.
About a fifth of the weight of olives is made up of oil, of which 82 % is oleic acid, followed by palmitic acid at 13%, then linoleic acid or omega-6 at 5%, stearic acid at 3%, linolenic acid or omega-3 at 1%, and finally palmitoleic acid at 1%. These figures may vary slightly, and the exact figure depends upon the ripeness of the olive.
Olives are a relatively low in carbohydrate and in protein content, with a portion of 100 grammes holding just 1 gramme and 0.8 grammes respectively. Seven olive fruits – about 25 grammes in weight – contain 0.28 grammes of sodium and smaller quantities of other minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus and iodine.
Small amounts of other nutrients like vitamin B and soluble antioxidant lipids such as provitamin A and E can also be found in table olives.
So without a shadow of doubt, we should leave the crisps and doughnuts alone and eat more olives instead.