If you ever wondered how James Bond managed to stay in fighting shape while slamming down martinis left and right, the secret appears to be in the olives. Research published in the journal Immunity & Ageing described how a group of people ages 18 to 65 who ate a dozen green olives a day for 30 days lost approximately 2.2 pounds of fat and gained about the same amount of muscle.
Researchers suspect that conjugated linoleic acid content of the olives might get the credit, or possibly the presence of oleuropein, a phenol that has been shown to boost testosterone levels and encourage anabolism in animal studies. While this was a rather primitive study (no control group involved), it’s an easy N=1 experiment to reproduce. After all, olives are cheap, and with only about 40 calories per ounce (approximately 14 olives), they’ll hardly derail your diet. Just be sure to hold the gin.