`Corn Oil Lowers Cholesterol: We Can All Go Home - Olive Oil Times

Corn Oil Lowers Cholesterol: We Can All Go Home

Oct. 30, 2014
Curtis Cord

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Time to pack every­thing up and call it a day.

There’s no future for olive oil. All those years of hard work have come down to this: Corn oil reduces cho­les­terol more than olive oil.

I know what you’re think­ing. How about all those stud­ies over the years that said olive oil can help pre­vent heart dis­ease, dia­betes, even can­cer? What about Dr. Oz?

Never mind all that. Mazola reduces cho­les­terol. What can we do? Time to turn the page and finally take up golf.

Let me explain what caused me to see things with such clarity.

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I’ll admit I’ve had a soft spot in my heart for Mazola ever since the early 1970s, when I was taught at a young age that corn was maize” in the lan­guage of Indians (I know, but we called Native Americans Indians back then).

For eight years we learned about the Goodness of Maize” from a beau­ti­ful actress named Tenaya Torres, whose peo­ple had been call­ing it maize before America was America.” Mazola mar­garine was made from that good­ness. That sweet, stone-ground maize goodness.

For eight years we watched her dur­ing com­mer­cial breaks of M*A*S*H and All in the Family, and and we showed our love by buy­ing enough mar­garine to push the sales of the agro-con­glom­er­ate Best Foods to $4 bil­lion by 1980.

Now, we’re asked to show our love again — this time for our chil­dren, our fam­i­lies and ourselves.

Here in the world’s largest econ­omy, we have been inun­dated lately by a new Mazola com­mer­cial that urges us to take care of those you love.” And, so far, it has played 5,475 times to a national audi­ence. It’s air­ing over and over again.

The com­mer­cial explains that some options, like choos­ing a dough­nut or an apple, are easy and appar­ent. Others require more care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion, like decid­ing between corn oil and olive oil.

What infor­ma­tion should we con­sider in our deci­sion? It’s in the fine print:

Corn oil has four times more cho­les­terol-block­ing plant sterols than olive oil,” and corn oil can help lower cho­les­terol two times more (for adults with high cho­les­terol lev­els when con­sumed daily as part of a low sat­u­rated fat, low-cho­les­terol diet).”

As usual, things are not so simple.

First of all, the reduc­tion of LDL cho­les­terol does not nec­es­sar­ily reduce heart dis­ease risk,” explains Olive Oil Times health edi­tor, Elena Paravantes. Olive oil reduces LDL but it also reduces the oxi­da­tion of LDL, which is far more important.”

Secondly, olive oil has a mul­ti­tude of ben­e­fits, thanks to antiox­i­dants, that go way beyond low­er­ing cho­les­terol — ben­e­fits such as can­cer pre­ven­tion, low­er­ing blood pres­sure, reduc­ing oxi­da­tion and inflam­ma­tion — corn oil does not have these effects.”

Dr. Mary Flynn, asso­ciate pro­fes­sor of clin­i­cal med­i­cine at Brown University, and author of the Plant-Based Olive Oil Diet, also called the focus on LDL level mis­guided. You need to know if the LDL is healthy or not. If the per­son is con­sum­ing a diet that con­tains polyun­sat­u­rated fat on a reg­u­lar basis (the typ­i­cal American diet is high in veg­etable seed oils), they will have oxi­dized LDL.”

Corn oil will lower LDL, but olive oil, being mainly monoun­sat­u­rated fat, will not oxi­dize LDL,” Flynn said. By con­sum­ing EVOO, you will fur­ther decrease oxidation.”

Research has shown that exces­sive lev­els of omega‑6 fatty acids, rel­a­tive to omega‑3 fatty acids, can increase the prob­a­bil­ity of a num­ber of dis­eases. Corn oil has an omega‑6 to omega‑3 ratio of 49:1. The opti­mal ratio is thought to be 4 to 1 or lower.

Using olive oil means, pos­si­bly, a slightly higher LDL,” Dr. Flynn con­cludes, but it will be LDL that will not con­tribute to ath­er­o­scle­ro­sis and you will have a higher HDL, which is also pro­tec­tive for ath­er­o­scle­ro­sis development.”

But Mazola knows we only respond to sim­ple sound­bites, and the beauty of the pitch is in its sim­plic­ity: Corn oil low­ers cho­les­terol. Take care of the ones you love.

What was the slo­gan of that big olive oil cam­paign a few years ago? Oh yeah, add some life.” I heard it had a pro­found impact on the 14 peo­ple who saw it.

So while the United Kingdom enforces its new ban on olive oil bars, and tycoons in Taiwan slap olive oil labels on biodiesel, as California pro­duc­ers push through laws allow­ing har­vest-date white lies, and con­sen­sus builds toward global con­dem­na­tion of the olive oil cruet, there’s a TV spot on heavy rota­tion for corn oil titled, sim­ply, Options.”

If only olive oil had a cam­paign of its own.

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