A response to an article that espoused the value of "regular olive oil"
A great article, and one that addresses the common craze of the Mediterranean diet, with olive oil being the focal point. It is true that refined olive oil, i.e., mild, light, pomace, olive oil, or any other description used other than extra virgin has the same chemical makeup, and would be considered a Monounsaturated fat etc. However as mentioned the antioxidants that are contained within the oil are stripped from the oil. The specific antioxidants are known as polyphenols, and oleocanthal is perhaps the most famous one. Oleocanthal has been noted for its ability to block inflammation in the similar fashion that ibuprofen does, which is known to reduce inflammation, etc. A discovery made by a Dr. Gary Beauchamp of Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, that is well known in the world of science. Lowering inflammation can help with a host of health issues, and this would be a natural way of intaking this health benefit rather than through a pharmacy produced pill. That is just one component of some 30+ various phenolic compounds found within Extra Virgin Olive Oil, that are still being researched. So yes, the Mediterranean diet by itself may not prove that EVOO can increase health, but there is enough independent study on EVOO that would support it having its own health benefits. Now of course if you have a healthy diet, do you really need a healthy "boost"? Perhaps not, but it should be noted what the different processes are for producing non-extra virgin olive oils. As mentioned before, the molecular makeup may be the same, but the chemicals involved in the "refining" process can be unhealthy. Common Methods of refining olive oil, are terms such as Degumming, Neutralization, Bleaching, Winterization, and Deodorization. Now some of those processes are better or worse than others. The issue is often it will not say on the bottle which process is used, thus leaving the opportunity to consume oil that has been treated with chemicals. Of course, all other oils, such as rapeseed oil -more commonly known as canola oil, or vegetable oil- can go through extensive "refining" to become oil. In short Extra Virgin Olive Oil has can be healthy, based on study's beyond just the med diet, while other oils can be specifically un-healthy due to the chemical process that is required to extract them, or to simply make them edible. If it was up to me, I'd choose the all-natural, extensively studied Extra virgin olive oil, over a chemically extracted oil. Given how many foods we eat that require oil, there is reason to believe we consume enough oil that it could in fact make a difference in terms of health. There also numerous cheap options of EVOO out there that will cost you maybe $200 more than cheaper oil's, over the course of a full year, so I don't think it’s fair to call it "pricey". Full disclaimer I do sell extra virgin olive oil, but I also fully believe in the product. Raphael Bondi