Olive Oil In Protein Shakes? Dietitian Explains Pros & Cons

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Mixing olive oil with protein shakes is practiced by bodybuilders, people on a keto diet, and people on a heart-healthy diet. If you want to add olive oil to whey protein shakes, I’ll explain how to do it properly and the pros and cons.

Key Takeaways

🫒 Heart Health Booster: Olive oil is rich in properties that combat heart disease. Regular consumption, even just half a teaspoon daily mixed with a protein shake, can reduce the risk of heart ailments by 15%, according to a study by the Havard School of Public Health.

💪 Muscle Recovery Aid: The high omega-3 content in olive oil reduces inflammation, aiding muscle recovery post-workout. Mixing it with protein shakes creates an effective recovery blend.

🔥 Natural Testosterone Boost: Consuming olive oil can enhance testosterone production, which helps in increasing lean mass and reducing fat mass. Incorporating it into protein shakes is a natural way to elevate testosterone levels.

5 Reasons To Put Olive Oil In Protein Shakes

reasons to put olive oil in protein shakes

The 5 reasons to mix olive oil in protein shakes are:

1.  It Has Heart Disease-Fighting Properties 

The most common reason people add olive oil to their protein shakes is due to its heart disease-fighting properties. 

Olive oil is one of the top foods that benefit cardiovascular health. 

“In addition to protecting against plaque buildup in the arteries, diets rich in olive oil have been shown to boost protective HDL cholesterol and lower high blood pressure. This is why olive oil intake has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease.”

-Jillian Kubala, M.S, R.D.

Several studies have explored the relationship between olive oil and the reduced incidence of heart disease

A study compared the lifestyles of those who took more than ½ a teaspoon of olive oil daily with those who didn’t. 

The group that took the olive oil daily saw a decrease of 15% in the risk of heart disease.

Adding it to your protein shakes is an easy way to increase daily consumption.

2.  It Adds Calories For Those Bulking

One of the most significant benefits of adding olive oil to your protein shake is that it helps add calories.

For those bulking and looking to gain muscle, finding new ways to add calories might be challenging without feeling stuffed all day

Also, for those who don’t have much time to snack constantly (and eat 6-8 meals daily), having calorically-dense meals is the way to go. 

In most cases, I often recommend my clients add a fat source since they are high in calories. The most common way is nut butter or seeds (like chia).

However, adding olive oil is another way of adding healthy fats to increase the calorie content of the protein shake. 

3.  It Promotes Protein Synthesis On Keto Diets

When carb stores are low, for example, if you are following a ketogenic diet, consuming fatty acids is the primary energy source.  

Therefore, you need a surplus of fats in your diet, so you’re not using protein (muscle) as your energy source.  

For those using keto, having a diet with a good amount of fat promotes protein synthesis, which is essential for those prone to losing muscle mass quickly or those looking to add muscle mass.

4.  It Will Aid In Muscle Recovery 

Olive oil can speed up and improve muscle recovery by reducing inflammation. The primary anti-inflammatories found in olive oil are from antioxidants.

Antioxidants can help to reduce oxidative damage due to free radicals in the body

In particular, an antioxidant known as oleocanthal can be found in olive oil and has been shown to have similar effects to Ibuprofen, an anti-inflammatory drug.

“(Olive Oil) is also a source of polyphenol compounds that act as antioxidants in the body to lower the burden of oxidative stress. One polyphenol in olive oil called oleocanthal appears to have strong anti-inflammatory powers.”

-Matthew Kadey, M.S, R.D.

In addition, the primary fatty acid found in olive oil is an Omega-9 fatty acid called oleic acid.

Oleic acid has been shown to reduce inflammatory markers in the body, making it a helpful tool to combat oxidative stress from heavy and strenuous workouts.

5.  It Can Help Increase Testosterone

Fats are needed to produce certain hormones like testosterone. In particular, a high intake of monounsaturated fats (found in olive oil) helps to promote testosterone production.

Testosterone is a hormone that helps increase lean mass while decreasing fat mass. Due to this benefit in body composition, people often want to increase their testosterone levels.

There are ways to increase testosterone through food, which include consuming omega-3 fatty acids. 

This was displayed in a study done with 60 healthy individuals, where first, during a stabilization period of 2 weeks, they consumed butter as their fat source. 

Then, the participants were divided into two groups: (1) those who consumed argan oil and (2) those who consumed olive oil for 3 weeks. 

Those who consume olive oil saw a 17% increase in their testosterone levels compared to those taken at the beginning of the study. 

Thus, adding olive oil to your protein shakes can help you naturally boost your testosterone levels

Are There Drawbacks To Olive Oil In Protein Shakes?

drawbacks to olive oil in protein shakes

1. It Might Lead To Weight Gain

If you are not careful with managing the serving size of olive oil, you could easily add more calories than your body needs, leading to weight gain. 

This is significantly worse if there is no muscle stimulus along with it (i.e. if you’re not working out), as the weight gain will likely be fat mass.

If you include olive oil in your shakes, remember to track those calories as part of your overall nutritional intake, especially if you’re trying to meet a specific calorie or macronutrient target.  

2. It Might Have An Unusual Flavor

Another reason people don’t add olive oil to their protein shakes is the flavor it can add to your shake. 

Olive oil tends to have a very distinct flavor. The flavor combination between a protein shake and olive oil might not pair well for some people.

For example, some people have reported that the combination is unbearable, while others don’t mind that taste at all.

I’ve been adding 3tbs to my shakes for 8 months. Never taste it or get grossed out by it. Especially if you have frozen fruit or something in there

Reddit User –AZPHOX

“I don’t care for it. I’ve tried it; I can taste the smallest amount. (I actually love olive oil, as part of an oil/vinegar dressing in salad, or more commonly add a 1/2 Tablespoon to a cup of cottage cheese). I enjoy it in the correct context. But for shakes, I stick with peanut butter, almond butter, flax seed meal, coconut oil.”

Reddit User –OatsandWhey

In my opinion, the taste will highly depend on the amount and type of olive oil that you use. 

I recommend first adding one teaspoon of olive oil to your protein shake. I have personally tried this and didn’t notice the taste at all. I used a vanilla protein flavor and blueberries to help disguise any taste of olive oil.

If you find the taste okay, add another teaspoon of olive oil until you get used to the flavor. 

3. Not Ideal To Consume Pre-Workout

Since olive oil is composed of fats, it tends to digest more slowly. 

Although this might be a benefit since you can feel full and satiated, you might not want to add it before working out. 

It can produce bloating and make you feel sluggish during your workout.

Who Should Mix Olive Oil In Protein Shakes?

Not all people need to include olive oil in their shakes. 

However, there are some instances in which I do recommend including olive oil in their protein shakes. 

If You Are Bulking 

While in a bulking phase, you must exceed your caloric intake for muscle growth. 

Often, those caloric intakes could reach 3000+ calories for a bodybuilder. These amounts are tough to achieve.

This is especially a problem I see with some of my female clients. 

Increasing their daily calories by 200-300 calories can be too overwhelming when they want to gain muscle mass. 

Looking for energy-dense foods like olive oil is a great way to add those extra calories without noticing it. 

You Are Living The Ketogenic Lifestyle

The other case I often recommend adding olive oil to protein shakes is for those following a ketogenic lifestyle. 

People typically think that a ketogenic diet adds more protein and removes carbs. 

Although this might be true to a certain extent, other factors must be considered.

Since carbs are decreased, the body needs to find another energy source. Fats are the primary energy source for people following a ketogenic diet.

If no fat is consumed, protein is used to supply energy instead of muscle building. This results in losing muscle mass.

One of the most challenging things my clients encounter is how to add more fats to their ketogenic diets. 

I always focus on adding healthy fats (olive oil) vs. saturated or trans fats (deep-fried food). 

Adding olive oil to your shakes while doing keto can help you reach 50%+ of daily fats if you track it properly. 

How To Combine Olive Oil With Your Protein Shake?

olive oil and protein shake

Amount of Olive Oil

The amount of olive oil you add depends on your caloric intake. 

On average, a person has a daily intake of 25-30% of fats. 

This means that for a person who consumes 2000 calories (the average caloric intake for someone who is slightly active), your daily fat intake is around 55-65 g of fats. 

This could mean having 12-15 teaspoons of olive oil daily. 

However, it doesn’t mean you will consume all those fats in olive oil. 

You should consume a variety of fat sources, and whether you like it or not, the protein sources you eat (even if they are lean) have some fat too. 

Thus, adding one to two teaspoons of olive oil to your protein shake is more than enough to have other sources of fats throughout the day (nuts, seeds, or avocado). 

Time of Day

You can consume olive oil during the morning, afternoon, or dinner.  As long as it is not before a workout (since it is harder to digest and can lead to bloating), the time of day is not essential. 

If you usually have a protein shake 1-2 hours before training, I recommend avoiding adding olive oil since it might make you more sluggish for your training.

On the other hand, if you have a protein shake after training, this is the ideal time to add olive oil. 

How To Mix

The best way to mix olive oil into a protein shake or smoothie is with a blender or a hand mixer. 

This method will be the easiest and most effective if blending other whole food ingredients such as fruit (check below for my favorite olive oil protein smoothie recipe).

That said, you can also mix your olive oil and protein powder with a shaker cup or a spoon. However, I recommend mixing your liquid and protein powder together first, then mixing in your desired olive oil.

Here is a quick video explainer:

Which Type of Olive Oil Should You Use With Protein Shake?

olive oils

There are several types of olive oils:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Virgin olive oil
  • Refined olive oil
  • Pure olive oil. 

If you add olive oil to your shake, opt for extra-virgin or pure olive oil since it has more antioxidants than the rest of the olive oils.

Refined olive oil is one to avoid. It is the one that has the least amount of vitamins and antioxidants. 

My Favorite Olive Oil & Protein Shake Recipe

This recipe is great because the stronger flavors of chocolate and banana will help to mask any flavor from the olive oil. 

The amounts of each ingredient in this smoothie can be manipulated easily to support both a bulking and a cutting diet.

Chocolate Banana and Olive Oil Protein Smoothie

chocolate banana and olive oil protein smoothie


  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup unsweetened chocolate almond milk
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 ice cubes
  • Cinnamon to taste (optional)

Add all of the dry ingredients to the blender, followed by the almond milk. Add the olive oil and ice cubes last. Blend all ingredients together until smooth and enjoy!


  • Calories: 380 calories
  • Protein: 30 grams
  • Carbs: 28 grams
  • Fat: 17 grams

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Olive Oil Be Added To Any Type of Protein Shake (e.g., whey, plant-based)?

Yes, you can mix olive oil with any protein shake. Plant-based protein powders can be grittier and harder to mix, so it might be best to use a blender or hand mixer if making your olive oil shake with plant-based protein.

Is it Suitable For all Fitness Goals (e.g., Weight loss, Muscle gain)?

Adding olive oil to a protein shake can be suitable for weight loss and muscle gain as long as you meet your daily calorie and macro targets. However, adding oil to your shake when cutting calories could be difficult since even a small amount of olive oil can drastically increase the calories.

Alternative Oils & Fats In Protein Shakes

Coconut oil

Adding coconut oil to your protein shake can add a more pleasant flavor compared to olive oil. In addition, coconut oil provides a different type of fat than olive oil known as saturated fat, which is essential in your diet in moderate amounts.

It makes a nice foam and has lots of healthy fats.”

Reddit User –Dani-Darlin

“I put coconut oil in my shakes sometimes when I’m bulking and I need some more fat to hit my macros at the end of the day. Tastes good and works great.”

Reddit User –sandesto


MCT stands for medium chain triglycerides, and adds health benefits to your protein shake such as improved energy production, brain health, and improved blood sugar control. The flavor is fruitier than olive oil but more mild than coconut oil.

“It’s generally either tasteless, or very, very mildly fruity, but no specific fruit flavor.”

Reddit User –WillowWagner

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is unlike oil because it also offers some carbs and fat. For 1 tbsp of peanut butter, you get 3.5g of carbs and 4g of protein. 

Adding peanut butter to your protein shake will give it a delicious flavor, especially with complimentary flavors like chocolate or banana. 

Unlike oil, mixing peanut butter in your protein shake will require a blender or hand mixer.

I use double-rich chocolate whey and peanut butter. It’s like drinking candy post-workout!”

Reddit User -creatures


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Derouiche A, Jafri A, Driouch I, El Khasmi M, Adlouni A, Benajiba N, Bamou Y, Saile R, Benouhoud M. Effect of argan and olive oil consumption on the hormonal profile of androgens among healthy adult Moroccan men. Nat Prod Commun. 2013 Jan;8(1):51-3. PMID: 23472458.

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About The Author

Brenda Peralta

Brenda Peralta is a Registered Dietitian and certified sports nutritionist.  In addition to being an author for FeastGood.com, she fact checks the hundreds of articles published across the website to ensure accuracy and consistency of information.

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