Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Why Is Research Inconclusive About Health Benefits?

If you read enough of my posts, you will know I have studied a lot about oils. I especially favor extra virgin olive oil. But, you have to be careful that what you are paying for is the real deal. Some unscrupulous olive oil companies cut their oils with sunflower and others.

When I used extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) I knew it was the real deal because I made sure it was listed and approved by testing agencies like the North American Olive Oil Association NAOOA and the International Olive Council IOC.

I bought Pompeian Imported Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil. This is my favorite. It made fried potatoes taste wonderful and was a delight drizzled over my butter lettuce and power green salads.

But! Who do you believe if any refined oil is good for you or not? There are those against its use who claim it damages our endothelial cells (the innermost lining of our arteries) [1 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17174226/].

In my frustration to find a decisive answer whether EVOO is healthy for you or not, with great reluctance and continuing doubt, I am torn between either totally eliminating its use or severely limiting it by measuring the amount I use every day.

For example, I will pour a small amount in my potato frying pan and wipe it around with a paper napkin soaking up most of it but leaving a fine layer. It still makes food taste great with a coating of it in the pan.

I will also add a teaspoon to a small container with balsamic vinegar before I pour it over my daily salads. Using this amount makes me eat much more salad daily. How can eating more green salad be a bad thing?

Therefore, if you are beginning eating plant based whole food like I do, if using a little olive oil helps you stay on target, I see little harm but more benefit.

Rather than using store bought bottled dressing with lots of salt, sugar, notoriously bad oils and other ingredients you can’t even pronounce, I believe using a small amount of genuine extra virgin olive oil like either Pompeian® or Star® is a healthier alternative.

‘In this study involving persons at high cardiovascular risk, the incidence of major cardiovascular events was lower among those assigned to a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts than among those assigned to a reduced-fat diet. (Funded by Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Spanish Ministry of Health, and others; Current Controlled Trials number, ISRCTN35739639 [2 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29897866/)’.

I am still grappling with if it’s best to not use any refined oils, even olive? Plain old balsamic vinegar for a salad is really the only thing you need to add good flavor. Yet, according to one study, the healthy effects on the inner lining of the arteries was due to eating more ‘fruits and vegetables with vinegar, canola oils and omega 3 rich fish (3 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11079642/)’. Furthermore, I wondered what our FDA had to say…

‘The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined that there is credible evidence to support a qualified health claim that consuming oleic acid in edible oils, such as olive oil, sunflower oil, or canola oil, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease [4 https://www.fda.gov/food/cfsan-constituent-updates/fda-completes-review-qualified-health-claim-petition-oleic-acid-and-risk-coronary-heart-disease/]’.

If you go to the cited page above, it leaves doubt in my mind about extra virgin olive oil or the healthy effects of any other refined oil. To my way of thinking, perhaps using no oil at all no matter what type is the healthier choice. It has been said Oleic acid (the oil in olive oil and some others) is heart healthy. Below, is more cited from the same page as above.

‘Qualified health claims are supported by credible scientific evidence, but do not meet the more rigorous “significant scientific agreement” standard required for an authorized FDA health claim [5 https://www.fda.gov/food/cfsan-constituent-updates/fda-completes-review-qualified-health-claim-petition-oleic-acid-and-risk-coronary-heart-disease/] ‘.

To conclude, if someone has cardiovascular issues, yes it possibly could be better using olive oil, instead of butter. But, what about the benefits of using none at all?

Therefore, I feel the research is inconclusive and the mystery still remains as to whether EVOO is healthier to have in ones daily diet or not. Until there is conclusive evidence one way or the other, I would be cautious about how much EVOO I used daily.

When scientifically validated research satisfies the proper doctors, authorities and experts within our medical establishment, only then can one possibly feel confident enough that using EVOO will provide the necessary health benefits.

Source- 1 URL https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17174226/
Website Title Nutrition, metabolism, and cardiovascular diseases : NMCD
Access Day09
Access Month june
Access Year2020
Article Title Olive, Soybean and Palm Oils Intake Have a Similar Acute Detrimental Effect Over the Endothelial Function in Healthy Young Subjects

2 URL https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29897866/
Website Title The New England journal of medicine
Access Day 09
Access Month june
Access Year 2020
Article Title Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease With a Mediterranean Diet Supplemented With Extra-Virgin Olive Oil or Nuts

3 URL https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11079642/
Website Title Journal of the American College of Cardiology
Access Day 09
Access Month june
Access Year2020
Article Title The Postprandial Effect of Components of the Mediterranean Diet on Endothelial Function

4 & 5 URL https://www.fda.gov/food/cfsan-constituent-updates/fda-completes-review-qualified-health-claim-petition-oleic-acid-and-risk-coronary-heart-disease/
Website Title U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Access Day 09
Access Month june
Access Year 2020
Article Title FDA Completes Review of Qualified Health Claim Petition for Oleic Acid

Note- consult your doctor before you change your diet.

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