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What's good/ bad about cooking with olive oil?

by (2949)
Updated about 15 hours ago
Created April 08, 2011 at 7:47 PM

I've been cooking with olive oil for years. I don't really like coconut oil unless I'm cooking something that needs a little coconutty flavor. I've seen people on here saying it's bad, but I love it. I mostly cook at medium heat, if the oxidation is the problem. I read recently on I believe MDA that even oxidation of olive oil really isn't that bad/ doesn't happen (I'm not much for the science aspect of paleo, I'm more about feeling what's best for you). I like olive oil, I use it a lot. So, what's the deal?

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41471 · November 03, 2011 at 1:32 AM

Very toxic? Really?

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41471 · November 03, 2011 at 1:31 AM

Might want to read up on this "paleo" concept before jumping in here.

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11682 · November 02, 2011 at 11:20 PM

Agreed (Greek here btw). I personally use two different olive oils: one for cooking (light colored, non-virgin, can withstand a lot of heating), and cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil for salads.

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5132 · November 02, 2011 at 10:57 PM

You're associating fat in olive oil and other vegetable oils with heart disease. The issue that's been made rather clear is the absence of trans fats in olive oil, which makes it healthier than other veggie-based oils. The remaining issue is whether the high n-6/n-3 ratio, the low smoke point, and the rather high PUFA percentage as a whole detract from the supposed healthy claims of EVOO, not that it's "fatty"! Minus one for confusing the issue.

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2399 · May 17, 2011 at 9:39 AM

I presume Carly is talking about Omega 6 fatty acids oxidizing ? There is also some talk about polyphenols being destroyed by heat but, as far as I know, there was no definite answer about cooking with olive oil. MDA might have some more info.

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39841 · May 16, 2011 at 8:50 PM

Wow, that's cool that you're from Crete...shame about those Minoans though.

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1160 · May 16, 2011 at 7:15 PM

I've never seen anything to substantiate the "toxic when heated claims." Do you have any references handy?

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2949 · April 09, 2011 at 2:34 AM

Yes that's the article I was referring to!

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2949 · April 08, 2011 at 9:37 PM

I agree. I use pure organic olive oil and I haven't really seen anything wrong with it. Even my coconut oil says medium-heat on the jar.

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1702 · April 08, 2011 at 7:54 PM

Someone just commented very intelligently about this on http://paleohacks.com/questions/32082/what-evidence-is-their-that-extra-light-olive-oil-is-adulterated-or-oxidized/32100#32100 post

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12 Answers

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1132 · April 09, 2011 at 11:31 AM

Nothing wrong with Olive Oil, for cooking, it's a good oil, it's not as unstable as other people are suggesting, like you say, there was MDA article on this. I like the flavor, but it's not a neutral oil, so some people prefer to combine it (spoonful of extra virgin olive oil) with other oils (ghee) for things like mayonaise. I don't know how the omega 3:6 ratio compares to other oils, but it's reasonably priced for a healthier option of oil. Other oils that are reasonable in price and OK are butter and lard here, so those are my main oils.

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1065 · April 09, 2011 at 2:10 AM

Considering that the Ithaca, Greece bluezone (area where population is demonstrated to live to 100 frequently with little disease) distinctively use a lot of it, I can't really see an honest objection. Marks Daily Apple did a large posting on olive oil as well, and in it he mentioned that it is very heat stable.

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2949 · April 09, 2011 at 2:34 AM

Yes that's the article I was referring to!

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11682 · November 02, 2011 at 11:20 PM

Agreed (Greek here btw). I personally use two different olive oils: one for cooking (light colored, non-virgin, can withstand a lot of heating), and cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil for salads.

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30 · April 08, 2011 at 9:08 PM

I am just starting into this whole paleo diet thing and I am finding a lot of mixed messages about oils in general. Some say no olive oil, others say yes for marinades and dressings, others say it's OK for cooking (medium heat at most). Then for coconut the same, some say yes because it's heat stable and natural others no because of it's lack of omega-3s. I am taking all of this with a grain of salt (so to speak ;) ) My motto is everything in moderation especially getting fanatical about any diet plan.

I think the right answer is somewhere in between, but the more natural you can go the better. I think alot of what ailes us is down to all of the processing that our comercial food gets. Including most of the meat in the grocery store.

Eating the foods the way nature made them is sure to be better for us in the long run.

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2949 · April 08, 2011 at 9:37 PM

I agree. I use pure organic olive oil and I haven't really seen anything wrong with it. Even my coconut oil says medium-heat on the jar.

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3509 · April 08, 2011 at 9:40 PM

I use lots of olive oil with salads, it is a great choice of oil. It has been a staple of some excellent diets, specially for people in Greece and other Mediterranean countries. I do not cook or fry with olive oil though, because its reaction to heat (oxidation) is not the best.

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729 · April 08, 2011 at 7:51 PM

Olive oil isn't heat stable- it loses nutritional value. From what I understand anyway.

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1702 · April 08, 2011 at 7:54 PM

Someone just commented very intelligently about this on http://paleohacks.com/questions/32082/what-evidence-is-their-that-extra-light-olive-oil-is-adulterated-or-oxidized/32100#32100 post

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35 · October 22, 2012 at 1:35 PM

I would like to respond to a couple of points mentioned in this discussion, just to clarify some facts about oils in our diet. Olive oil is known to be high in monounsaturated(omega) fats, and to have a low smoke point. These (monounsaturated fats) are known to 'flush' cholesterol from the blood stream and thus reduce the incidence of heart attack and stroke. Other oils that do this are those found in fish, nuts, seeds, and many vegetable oils.

A chart displaying the healthiest oils, with the percentage of monounsaturated, unsaturated, and saturated fats found in each oil, can be found at healthcastle.com, a public health/nutrition website.

Trans fats are NOT found in vegetable oils, that are at liquid at room temperature, their natural state, BUT in vegetable oils that are solid at room temperature, like shortening, or vegetable oil shortening, traditionally used in making pie crust and at one time in homemade cookies. Vegetable oil shortening is often found as an ingredient factory made cookies and packaged snack deserts eg. half-moons, turnovers etc....

That said, having been counselled by a registered dietician for a period of time, I was advised that consuming only one handful of nuts per day would give maximum benefit to heart health, anymore would contribute to obesity.

I also once read an article recently, that listed the top 5 places with the largest population of seniors in the world(to indicate health and longevity), 2 of the places I remember were Greece and Eastern Canada(Nova Scotia)....all five places were regions near the ocean, providing an abundance of fish, Greece furthermore had extra benefits, having a diet of many vegetables, in particular olives and tomatos, and until recently not a lot of animal meat.

I cannot add to an answer to the original question, I actually came here to find answers to that question!

Thank you.

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0 · October 02, 2012 at 1:51 AM

I am just hopeing that it is good, because i fry my food with it everyday. I hear it's okay. I still am a little spetical

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4984 · May 16, 2011 at 7:12 PM

Olive oil when heated becomes very toxic. Great for salads though.

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2399 · May 17, 2011 at 9:39 AM

I presume Carly is talking about Omega 6 fatty acids oxidizing ? There is also some talk about polyphenols being destroyed by heat but, as far as I know, there was no definite answer about cooking with olive oil. MDA might have some more info.

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1160 · May 16, 2011 at 7:15 PM

I've never seen anything to substantiate the "toxic when heated claims." Do you have any references handy?

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41471 · November 03, 2011 at 1:32 AM

Very toxic? Really?

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157 · May 16, 2011 at 7:02 PM

A kind of a belated answer! I am Greek(specifically from Crete) so I know olive oil! Cold-pressed,extra virgin olive oil can be used for cooking but it is not ideal because it has a very low smoking point.Practically,it gets burnt quickly and burnt is bad.It is best enjoyed raw as a dressing or used when baking meat or fish.

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39841 · May 16, 2011 at 8:50 PM

Wow, that's cool that you're from Crete...shame about those Minoans though.

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7324 · April 09, 2011 at 11:41 AM

The main thing I don't like about olive oil is the somewhat high n-6. it's fine in moderation, but I don't make it a significant source of calories. I would advise you to find another cooking oil, but still use olive for the taste after cooking is done. Ghee/butter and tallow are great options to cook in.

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1702 · April 08, 2011 at 7:49 PM

Olive oil also tends to have a somewhat high o6 to o3 ratio in comparison with other oils. See if you can find LouAna brand coconut oil in your local store, it doesn't taste like coconut at all.

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-6 · November 02, 2011 at 10:30 PM

@120 calories per tablespoon, all oil is fattening. The rate of heart disease being lower in the Med is most likely the result of eating a higher rate of healthy foods, such as more vegetables and whole grains with lots of exercise. Or at least this was true years ago. Unfortunately, their rates of heart disease and diebetes has soared as more people in the Med eat more processed foods and less whole foods. The people with the highest rates of longevity consume very little oil at all, lots and lots of whole foods and moderate amounts of foods with a face. The truth is that oil as a whole is bad for you in anything but the most moderate amounts, and then it should be high in omega 3 & 6, which oil oil is not. Is a tablespoon of olive oil better than an equal amount of lard, probably. But a hand full of beans is better than a tablespoon of olive oil, nutrition wise and healthwise. Oils low in Omega 3 & 6 inflame blood vessels, both the "good" and the "bad" oils, and even oils rich in Omega 3 & 6 are fattening.

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5132 · November 02, 2011 at 10:57 PM

You're associating fat in olive oil and other vegetable oils with heart disease. The issue that's been made rather clear is the absence of trans fats in olive oil, which makes it healthier than other veggie-based oils. The remaining issue is whether the high n-6/n-3 ratio, the low smoke point, and the rather high PUFA percentage as a whole detract from the supposed healthy claims of EVOO, not that it's "fatty"! Minus one for confusing the issue.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46
41471 · November 03, 2011 at 1:31 AM

Might want to read up on this "paleo" concept before jumping in here.

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