Traditionally many paleo related blogs and persons have stated that olive oil is good for cooking but recently people have been claiming that you should ditch it with other vegetable oils and use lard, ghee or coconut oil instead. What is your take, is olive oil healthier than other vegetable oils or should it be avoided at any cost?
The answer is simple. Never use olive oil for hi temp cooking, such as frying or sauteeing. Use it raw like on salads or for low temp cooking, such as boiling, making tomato sauce,etc. Even then you should only add it at the end, for culinary reasons as well as health reasons (oxidized olive oil loses its bouquet)
For sauteeing or frying, the only safe fats are unhydrogenated lard,tallow, schmalz, ghee, coconut oil and a few others.
Oilive oil oxidizes Quickly (goes rancid) at high temperatures, or if left in the bottle more than a few weeks. saturated fats do not oxidize/go rancid easily. Rancid oil is real bad for you.
I don't cook with olive oil b/c it's not as stable as sat. fat and forms free radicals when heated. Coconut oil, butter and beef tallow are nutritionally superior. I certainly wouldn't put it in the same category as canola or other seed oils though. I sometimes use it on salads, but more often I melt butter with herbs and pour that over my greens- much more delicious!
Olive oil itself does not have a low smoke point and should be fine for cooking:
I still use Olive Oil for salads. My wife and I usually use ghee or coconut oil now for cooking. However when we are at in-laws, etc and are cooking we will use olive oil. I think its good to keep a rotation of the types fats you use for cooking.
Be careful of the temperature you use when cooking with olive oil.
The real question here is, is it a a good source of monounsaturated fatty acids? Traditionally I also thought the answer was yes. I figured since I could only get conventional grain-fed meat, I would eat mostly lean meats, and then supplements my fats with coconut for saturated, and olive oil for monounsaturated at around 50:50 to as closely resemble the MUFA:SAFA ratio found in animal fat.
However I have also been seeing some more anti-olive oil, but it has mostly come from Dr. Harris, who I love but also have major cognitive-dissonance towards as he thinks plants and fruit are not essential but all my research suggests we should eat a mostly plant based diet (for longevity).