How often have you heard that olive oil is healthy? This has been presented as simple fact for as long as I can remember. As a child I was obsessed with the Food Network channel and, in every program, was told over and over again that olive oil is healthy for us to consume, and that cold-pressed EVOO — extra virgin olive oil — is the best option. Well, how much of what we have come to believe as a fact was actually just a very clever marketing ploy? Often, especially in recent years, when something is touted as being super healthy for us, and the media hops on board with it, that is when it’s time to investigate, because what I have come to realize is that the media rarely, if ever (believe it or not), prioritizes our health over their profit.
That being said, we can’t forget about all of the studies showing progress with regards to the benefits of real olive oil, like protection against alzheimer’s, for example.
Here are 64 abstracts with olive oil, that might show you a different perspective. It’s no doubt a controversial topic to say the least.
The Olive Oil Myth
The Mediterranean diet is the healthiest diet, we’ve been told. People living in the Mediterranean consume olive oil every day, which means olive oil must be healthy, right? Wrong. This is the flawed correlation that led millions to believe that olive oil consumption is the key to health and longevity. The Mediterranean diet is also loaded with fresh fruits and vegetables, but for some reason, we seem to be focusing on the olive oil. As you’ll soon see, this diet is healthy despite of the oil, not because of it.
Admittedly, something that is made with olive oil instead of margarine or other saturated or trans fats might be better for you to consume, but just because something is better does not make it healthy. This is where the myth comes in. While olive oil might be a lot less harmful than many other alternatives, this doesn’t actually make it a health food.
While there are healthier ways to choose your olive oil — Extra Virgin and Cold Pressed — what still remains is oil. Please don’t get me wrong; this is not to say that all fats are unhealthy for you to consume, as we do need fat in our diets, but the best sources are from nuts, seeds, and avocados.
Please see the video below where Dr. Michael Greger presents a case for this argument. Gregor is an American physician, author, and professional speaker on health issues. He used the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to uncover how public perception can be manipulated so that food corporations profit.
For more short videos like this one made by Greger, you can visit this page of his website.
Let’s Look at the Hype Versus the Truth
The Hype: Olive oil will lower your levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol. The Truth: Olive oil in itself does nothing to lower LDL cholesterol. In the studies done that showed people lowered their levels of LDL cholesterol after starting to use olive oil, including extra virgin olive oil, the participants were using olive oil in place of other, unhealthy dietary fats, like saturated and trans fats.
Limited and not conclusive scientific evidence suggests that eating about 2 tablespoons (23 grams) of olive oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease due to the monounsaturated fat in olive oil. To achieve this possible benefit, olive oil is to replace a similar amount of saturated fat and not increase the total number of calories you eat in a day. One serving of this product contains [x] grams of olive oil.
You see how this data can be easily misconstrued. A more relevant study, perhaps, would examine people who switch from consuming healthier oils, like those derived from seeds, to olive oil.
The Hype: The Mediterranean diet is a heart healthy diet that is rich in olive oil. Therefore olive oil must also be heart healthy. The Truth: Those on the planet with the longest life expectancy actually don’t eat a diet rich in olive oil; they eat one rich in whole and primarily plant-based foods, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes.
The Hype: Monounsaturated fats are better than saturated fats, so therefore they must be healthy. The Truth: Just because something is better than something else, does not mean that it is good or healthy for us to consume. The human body actually has no essential need to consume any monounsaturated fat. Our bodies only need the proper ratio of omega 6 and omega 3 fat.
The bottom line is, olive oil is not doing anything to enhance our health, but using it in place of other oils that are unhealthy for us to consume is just limiting our exposure to the worst oils. Consider cutting them out altogether and see how you feel.
Related CE Article: Poor Quality Olive Oil Companies Revealed – The Brands To Avoid
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