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Further Evidence for the Shangri-La Diet?

A few years back now, we wrote about the psychology professor Seth Roberts and his Shangri-La Diet, in which one attempts to lower the body’s set point by swallowing occasional shots of olive oil or sugar water.

According to this article in Medical News Today (thanks, Jeff!), the olive-oil secret may truly lie in an appetite-killing fatty acid:

A fatty acid found in abundance in olive oil and other “healthy” unsaturated fats has yet another benefit: it helps keep the body satisfied to prolong the time between meals.

A new study in the October Cell Metabolism, a publication of Cell Press, reveals that once this type of fat, known as oleic acid, reaches the intestine, it is converted into a lipid hormone (oleoylethanolamide, or OEA) that wards off the next round of hunger pangs. The researchers said it may be the first description of an ingredient in food that directly provides the raw materials for a hormone’s production.

If a new market were opening today to traffic in all the world’s oleic acid, who would bid it up higher: the weight-loss industry (to put it in every product) or the food and restaurant industries (to dump it all in the ocean)?