So when using it you definitely want to include it in it’s raw state on salads or drizzled over your omelets, your steamed veggies, or over a roast potato. Use it raw whenever you can because you will definitely gain all the benefits.
But is cooking with olive oil bad?
Well, it is true that certain oils aren’t ideal for cooking because it destroys their nutrient profile and leads to oxidation of the oil. Basically this means that when certain oils are heated it creates a chemical reaction, this reaction produces molecules that aren’t so healthy for us to ingest.
Less Saturated Oils = Higher Oxidation
How it works is that less saturated oils lead to higher oxidation of the oil. You see, all oils are made up of different fatty acid profiles, so for example you’ve probably heard of unsaturated and saturated fats but there are different types of these, they really aren’t just one.
Did You Know?
And what most people don’t realize is that there are both saturated and unsaturated fats in most oils and fats anyway. Take olive oil in this instance, it is made up of around 70-80% monounsaturated fat, 9-20% saturated fat and 8-15% polyunsaturated fat. So all fats and oils have a bit of each.
The main fatty acid in olive oil is known as oleic acid and studies show that it is much more stable than linoleic acid, so olive oil is much more suitable to cooking than many other vegetable oils. Olive oil also contains higher amounts of saturated fat which further stabalise it compared to other vegetable oils.
Linoleic acid is found in sunflower oil, corn oil and general vegetable oils which are all commonly used kitchen oils. People often use these for deep frying but it’s really not a good choice because it does oxidise faster. Most of your polyunsaturated fats are the same, although they are promoted as healthy they are not.
Olive Oil -> Oleic Acid -> Monounsaturated Fat
Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat and like I pointed out it is more stable to use for cooking but only at low to moderate temperatures. Macadamia nut oil is another monounsaturated fat, similar to olive oil that can be used at low-medium temperatures.
Basically what you need to think about when it comes to choosing an oil is if you are frying at a high temperature this will accelerate the thermal oxidation of these oils so in this case you want to use more saturated fats such as coconut oil and butter because these are more stable at high temperatures.
It’s Best Not To Deep Fry
Most of the studies I’ve looked at in regard to olive oil and other oils all use deep frying as their method. One thing is for sure, deep-frying is probably not recommended as the best method for cooking. We all know it’s the least healthy form of cooking.
Sauteeing, steaming, boiling, broiling and baking are much healthier options for cooking.
Don’t reuse your oils either because this increases the oxidation. And just try to pick your oil depending on the situation.
The Short Answer Is…
So the short answer to the question: Is cooking with olive oil bad? Well it’s not a bad option at low-medium temps but it’s not the best for high temps.
In theory, all oils are going to be better for you in their raw state. But we do like cooking and oils are very helpful so we just pick and choose what’s best for the application 🙂
Hope that helps
Nutrition & Health Coach
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