The TV host says it tames inflammation and "helps with weight loss," but is that true?
Reviewed by Dietitian Jessica Ball, M.S., RD
For the past 21 years—yep, American Idol debuted way back in 2002—Ryan Seacrest has grown to become one of our country's preeminent hosts with the most. Even though he "retired" in April from his co-hosting role with Kelly Ripa (on the show that's now called Live with Kelly and Mark), Seacrest still has plenty on his plate. The 48-year-old celebrity juggles hosting KIIS-FM's On Air With Ryan Seacrest, the weekly American Top 40 radio countdown, American Idol and Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve.
But since Seacrest no longer needs to rush to get to the New York City studio for TV filming alongside Ripa quite so early, he's been able to dial in his morning routine.
"I don't have to get out the door quite as fast," Seacrest tells our sister brand People in a recent interview. "So that's been a little bit of a change of pace."
After sliding on his UGG slippers but before sipping on his first cup of java and fueling throughout the day with a Mediterranean diet-inspired menu of "vegetables, fish and salad," Seacrest reveals one of his daily habits: "I have a shot of olive oil in the morning before my coffee every day. I find that that actually helps with weight loss and helps with your inflammation; helps with all the different systems in your body."
Related: Regular vs. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: What's the Difference?
Seacrest isn't alone in this fat shot strategy; TikTok users like @oliveoilqueen and @eliyahmashiach sing the praises of olive oil shots, claiming that they tame everything from bloating to chronic inflammation, and reporting that it delivers benefits like clearer skin, stronger bones and more regular menstrual cycles.
If you look at a global scale, this is actually nothing new. Residents of certain Mediterranean communities have been reportedly taking A.M. olive oil shots since at least the 1960s. But is it healthy?
Are Morning Olive Oil Shots Healthy?
The health benefits of olive oil are pretty undeniable. Consuming olive oil has been linked to better heart health, lower risk for certain cancers, stronger workouts…and yes, lower levels of inflammation. A study published February 2020 in the journal Cells reports that olive oil offers antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds that may help slow signs of aging.
Related: Understanding Acute vs. Chronic Inflammation: What's Healthy and What's Harmful?
However, you need not take shots of olive oil to score those benefits, and downing large amounts of olive oil at once may trigger digestive distress. There's no current science to stand behind any claims that there's something special about sipping on olive oil on an empty stomach, either. Plus, one major benefit of olive oil is how it helps unlock the nutrients and health benefits of other foods. Many vitamins, including A, D, E and K, are fat-soluble. That means we must consume these vitamins alongside fat to ensure they can be absorbed and utilized by the body, and olive oil has been proven to help act as an "usher" for these vitamins.
As far as Seacrest's weight loss claims go, the FDA recommends 1 ½ tablespoons of olive oil per day, and some studies have reported some health benefits for slightly more olive oil than that. That said, a shot has 3 tablespoons, and each of those tablespoons has 119 calories, according to the USDA. Translation: A shot of olive oil has 357 calories, and that's added to your daily calorie tally before you've consumed a bite of food. If you add more olive oil to your menu throughout the day (which is a strategy EatingWell dietitians recommend in many of our healthy meal plans), you'll definitely be getting a strong dose of daily fats without the need for a standalone shot. This isn't necessarily a misstep, just something worth keeping in mind as you consider your wellness goals.
Also worth noting: Since those bites require chewing and often come with fiber, which slows digestion, eating calories from food is often more satisfying than drinking calories. So drinking calories from smoothies, protein shakes and olive oil (if you like) is actually a wise strategy if you're trying to gain weight.
The Bottom Line
If you enjoy taking shots of olive oil in the morning and find that you feel better starting your day the Seacrest way than you did pre-fat shot, just keep its concentrated calorie content in mind as part of your daily menu. Nutrition isn't one-size-fits-all, and if this works for you, cheers! That said, you'll score additional health benefits and lower your overall calorie intake for the day—which may or may not be a goal for you—if you consume olive oil as part of meals.
Speaking of which, if you're seeking new ways to sprinkle doses of olive oil onto your menu, we highly recommend Garlic Hummus, One-Pot Garlicky Shrimp & Broccoli, Olive Oil Chocolate Chunk Blondies and Maple-Balsamic Vinaigrette.