5 Reasons to STOP Cooking with Olive Oil

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5 Reason to STOP Cooking with Olive Oil  savorylotus.com

Do you use olive oil in your cooking?  Did you know that heating olive oil destroys many of it’s heart-healthy properties?  Let’s take a look at why:

This post is in direct response to a question I asked my readers last week.  I asked what their favorite oil to cook with is.  And I was surprised at how many folks responded with “olive oil.”  So I just wanted to share a little of what I have learned along the way about cooking with fats.

I’m not an alarmist. Nor do I believe that if you cook with olive oil that you are eating tons of free radicals that are going to kill you.  I just think that there are better choices when it comes to cooking fats and oil.  Leave your olive oil cold and unheated.

It is my opinion that saturated fats are the best fats to use when cooking.  This has to do with the molecular structure of oils.  Saturated fats contain no double bonds so are not sensitive to heat, light or oxygen, unlike unsaturated fats.  Unsaturated fats (vegetable oils) have double bonds, making them very sensitive to heat, light and oxygen.  Heating these types of oils will change their molecular structure, destroying many of the healthy properties.


5 Reasons to STOP Cooking with Olive Oil


1.  Monounsaturated fats in olive oil are not heat stable:

Olive oil is made up of about 70-80% monounsaturated fat, in the form of oleic acid.  This oleic acid is what gives olive oil many of it’s wonderful health benefits like improved insulin resistance, cancer-fighting properties, and improved heart health.  It is also these monounsaturated fats that give olive oil a low smoking point, making it unsuitable for temperatures above 250’F (121’C).


2. Heart-healthy polyphenols in olive oil are easily damaged by eat:

Olive oil has phenolic compounds, mainly hydroxytyrosol and oleuropein, that are rich in antioxidant properties.  These phenols, which work as antioxidants to preserve heart health, begin to degrade at high heats.


3. Heating olive oil destroys Omega Fatty Acids:

Olive oil contains both Omega 3 and Omega 6 Fatty Acids.   According to Dr. Mercola, omega-3 fats are “significant structural components of the cell membranes of tissues throughout the body and are especially rich in the retina, brain, and sperm, in which docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) constitutes 36.4% of total fatty acids”.

These fatty acids are sensitive to heat and are destroyed when olive oil is heated.  I have not been able to find the exact temperature at which omega fatty acids are destroyed but find it a good practice to not heat them at all to preserve their nutritional value.


4. Low smoke point= breathing in toxic smoke.

If an oil is heated beyond its smoke point, it gives off toxic smoke. Because olive oil has a low smoking point, cooking with olive oil runs the risk of creating smoke that contains compounds that are harmful to human health.  You may not even notice that you are breathing in this toxic smoke.


5.  Many olive oils are not REAL:

Many brands cut their olive oil with cheap oils like soybean oil, canola oil, hazelnut oil and low grade olive oils.  A study by UC Davis in 2011 found that 73% of the 5 best selling imported brands of olive oil did not meet the international sensory standards for extra virgin olive set by European regulators.  This  meaning that they could be adulterated or blended with other vegetable oils such as soy, corn, cottonseed, hazelnut, or canola oil.

So what I am saying is that the olive oil you are using may not be REAL olive oil and may contain heavily processed vegetable oils that contribute to inflammation in the body and are possibly GMO.  YUCK!

I have done a ton of research, and the only brand of olive oil that I buy is Kasandrinos.  It is a small, family-owned business with high quality olive oil.  Never adulterated.  Always organic.  Be sure to check out Kasandrinos HERE.


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So, what to do?

Olive oil is a healthy and delicious oil.  Just don’t use it for cooking.  It is wonderful in salad dressings and dips and can be drizzled over already cooked vegetables.  Read my post on Top 5 Healthy Fats in the Kitchen.

Choose saturated fats for cooking, not unsaturated.  Fats that I recommend cooking with:

Does this list make you nervous?  Did you know that saturated fats are actually good for you?  Read more here:

The Truth About Saturated Fats

The Skinny On Fats

The Oiling of America

Why Vegetable Oil is Not Healthy

The Ugly Truth About Vegetable Oils

Is Your Olive Oil Fake?


5 Reasons to STOP Cooking with Olive Oil - savorylotus.com








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Katja is the creator, author and chef of Savory Lotus. Food is her passion, and food is also her medicine. Katja believes that good health starts with deeply nourishing foods and that healthy living doesn’t have to be complicated. Join her for easy to prepare recipes made with real food ingredients. Gluten and grain free. Paleo-friendly.

MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: The information included on this website is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. None of the opinions expressed here are meant to diagnose or treat any disease or illness. You should always consult your healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for your own situation or if you have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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  1. Michael Ring says

    The professional cooking community has be saying for a decade plus not to use Extra Virgin Olive Oil for cooking. If you want to cook with Olive Oil, there are last press oils that are more stable under heat.

  2. Annabelle says

    I guess I had to hear it one more time, or maybe it was the way you said it.

    It’s information that we’ve all known for a long time but I would cheat here and there and use it for cooking. Thanks for the refresher, and the detailed information about saturated fats. And I do love the softly sweet smell of cooking with coconut oil.

  3. iro says

    I’m Greek and here olive oil has been used in cooking since like forever… We in my family cook always with olive oil because flavour is an important factor.There is no mediterranean cuisine without olive oil. Lentils, beans, stews, pitas, casseroles if cooked without olive oil are just not the same, not my granma’s recipe. BUT we never use olive oil when frying, it’s considered too heavy, the taste and the smell are overwhelming when olive oil is heated that much. Plus here we have decent olive oil, the price range on the self corresponds to the quality. There are studies from european institutions that rate the three top olive oil producing countries with flavour and quality being thepoint of reference.Greece comes first, followed by italy and spain.Sorry for such long a reply but i know people cooking with olive oil since forever who are now more than 100 years old. Just wanted to share my thoughts!

    • says

      I appreciate your reply. I know that olive oil has been used for a long time. I bet you guys have really great quality over there. I wish we could know for sure what was in the olive oil that we can buy here in the States. I just prefer to use saturated fats for my cooking. My olive oil stays cold. Thanks so much for stopping by:)

    • says

      That’s a really good good question. Unless you know the source personally, there is no guaranteed way to know. I have been buying from a local source who has let me visit their farm. There are some online articles that claim you can tell by putting it in the fridge and if it totally solidifies, it’s real. Not totally certain this is accurate. That’s why I stick with my ghee and coconut oil.

      • says

        I own an olive oil specialty store and we have certifications on all our olive oils and that’s how you can tell they are real. The certifications show the chemical content of the oils and when the olives were crushed. I wouldn’t trust what is in the grocery store but trust the specialty oil stores. They can prove it!

        As for cooking with olive oil, I disagree with you. As long as you do not cook over medium high heat, you start the food at the shimmer stage of the oil heating, and you do not overcook your food, it is perfectly fine. It is only in large commercial kitchens that frying with olive oil has ever created trans fats in olive oils and it is not a concern in the home kitchen. While you do not have the same optimum health benefits of olive oil eaten raw, it is a heck of a lot better than using canola oil, vegetable oil, and other man made oils.

        • says

          Thanks for your input. I am so glad to hear that there are people who stand behind their product. I wish all olive oil was REAL. :)

  4. Jessica says

    So I have used butter and olive oil pretty much interchangeably, oops. That will probably change now. But what about using grape seed oil for cooking? Where does that fit and is it pretty much the same thing as olive oil?

    • says

      I consider grapeseed oil a HIGHLY processed oil that is often heavily extracted by chemical process and then deodorized. I’m not a big fan AT ALL. It is VERY low in nutrients and high in omega 6 oil, which can lead to more inflammation as it throws off our Omega3:Omega6 ratio. My suggestion would be to stick with healthy, natural fats like ghee and coconut oil. Read more here—-> http://authoritynutrition.com/grape-seed-oil/
      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. John Carraway says

    The best oil for cooking is palm oil. Tropical traditions offers a good palm oil, as well as coconut oil. If you use olive oil, don’t use virgin for cooking. Use plain olive oil that has a much lower polyphenol content. Personally, I like bacon fat the best.

  6. Jennifer says

    What about macadamia nut oil? I have read it has great health benefits. I put it in smoothies, but have never cooked with it. Do you know if the nutrients are destroyed with heat like olive oil?

  7. says

    Hmm, that was an interesting read, really made me think about using some other kind of oil. In your opinion, is coconut oil a good replacement? I wanted to try it out for a long time, maybe it’s the perfect time to change.


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