University of California at Davis Medical Center faculty member, Rosane Oliveira

A University of California at Davis researcher and a faculty member of its Medical Center, Rosane Oliveira, is continuing her one-woman crusade against olive oil in an article posted yesterday on the school’s Integrative Medicine department blog.

Olive oil does not actually promote health in and of itself.- Rosane Oliveira, UC Davis

In addition to claiming there is “too much olive oil” in what she views as “today’s version of the Mediterranean diet,” Oliveira stated, olive oil “does not actually promote health in and of itself.”

In a controversial post last year, the researcher wrote, “the Mediterranean diet is healthful in spite of olive oil — not because of it!”

Oliveira does not distinguish between extra virgin olive oil and refined grades in her latest critique. Not once in the post is ‘extra virgin’ mentioned, leaving readers to wonder if she took into consideration the countless health benefits attributed to the classification by the medical community.

“Extra virgin olive oil is truly unique as no other food has the ability to mitigate so many risk factors for chronic diseases,” noted Brown University’s Mary Flynn. Those factors include oxidation, blood levels of insulin and glucose, blood pressure, and LDL cholesterol, to name just a few.

Last year, UC Davis Olive Center executive director Dan Flynn told Olive Oil Times his colleague’s blog post needed to be weighed against the body of research that has supported the inclusion of olive oil in a healthful diet. “Universities accommodate a wide range of independent thinkers, and we welcome the dialogue. The scientific evidence in favor of the health benefits of olive oil is far stronger than the citations offered in (Oliveira’s) blog,” he noted.


Last year’s post by Oliveira drew a string of criticism from around the world. In responding to the critics, Oliveira conceded that extra virgin olive oil was better than “other oils,” but said she was unconvinced that EVOO is better than no oil at all.

“To imply there were no differences after the interventions is probably the most egregious false statement in (Oliveira’s post), and the author has an appalling inability to read a journal article,” said Flynn about Oliveira’s earlier article.

The seemingly extreme view to “opt out” of what is considered among the world’s most beneficial foods caused surprise among some readers of Oliveira’s blog and this page, especially under the logo of the University of California at Davis, which is the home of the UC Davis Olive Center, an internationally renowned research center which produces its own EVOO from trees grown on its Central Valley campus.

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