Does Olive Oil Lose Its Health Benefits When It’s Heated?
Opposite to what you have possibly heard in the past, Olive Oildoes not lose its health benefits or become unhealthy when heated.
In addition, Olive Oil has been used for cooking for thousands of years. It is a foundation of the Mediterranean Diet. So you might ask, why do some individuals believe that Olive Oil should not be used for cooking? One consistent rumor is that Olive Oil will lose its health benefits when heated. That’s not true. Olive Oil's main health benefit is its fat composition. Olive Oil is mostly monounsaturated fat. Cooking with an oil will not change its fat composition. Olive oil's percentage of monounsaturated fat remains the same after heating, even to high temperatures.
According to the American Heart Association, monounsaturated fats can help reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood which can help lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. Furthermore, they also provide nutrients to help develop and maintain your body’s cells.
All olive oils, whether Extra Virgin or refined, heated or raw, contain a very comparable amount of monounsaturated fat.
What About Trans Fats On Olive Oil?
Cooking oils, when heated, may form small amounts of trans fats. However, the concentration is minuscule – less than 1% - even with lengthy heating.
Smoke Point For Olive Oil
All Oils will become unhealthy if heated past the smoke point. Stovetop cooking is generally around 350ºF. Usually, the smoke point of Extra Virgin Olive Oil is 350 - 410°F and the smoke point of Olive Oil or light-tasting Olive Oil is about 390 - 468°F.
Most of the time, it is unlikely that you will exceed the smoke point of Olive Oil with usual cooking methods. Obviously, it is of course possible to burn food and burn Olive Oil. Nonetheless, our Olive Oil experts suggest that you use caution to avoid burning your food!
Carcinogens Or Other Toxic Compounds
Heating any oil past its smoke point will develop toxic compounds. Fortunately, Olive Oil contains phenols and antioxidants that prevent it from creating toxic compounds when heated.
In 2004, a team studied the aldehydes created by heating Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Olive Oil and canola oil to 464°F. The study discovered that both extra virgin and regular Olive Oilwere healthier than canola oil.
Unsaturated fats have the potential to oxidize when heated. Olive Oil has been scientifically proven to resist oxidation when heated. Polyunsaturated oils (such as Canola) are drastically more likely to oxidize over the monounsaturated fats (discovered in olive oil).
We have often heard that you should not cook with Olive Oil due to the fact that the phenols will be destroyed by the heat. It is true that phenols in olive oil are sensitive to heat. However, when cooking with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, the phenols move into the food. Potatoes fried in Extra Virgin Olive Oilcontained more phenols and antioxidants than potatoes boiled in water.
What About The Taste Of Olive Oil?
The flavor compounds in Olive Oil are delicate and will evaporate when heated. Furthermore, heating olive oil does not damage the health benefits but it will make the olive oil lose flavor.
Overall, Olive Oil is safe to cook with. Heating Olive Oil will not destroy the health benefits or turn olive oil unhealthy.
- Alexis Barros