`All Olive Oil Grades Have Benefits - Olive Oil Times

All Olive Oil Grades Have Benefits

Oct. 9, 2012
Massimo Occhinegro

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The fol­low­ing is a reader-sub­mit­ted opin­ion.

There is a strange fash­ion” among olive oil fol­low­ers affected by hyp­ocrite purists.” These purists wrongly believe” that the oil com­ing by olives is only one grade: extra vir­gin.

For a deep igno­rance or a pecu­liar inter­est, the purists” are wrong.

For hun­dreds of years, peo­ple liv­ing in the pro­duc­tion coun­tries, includ­ing Italy, used lam­pantewhich nowa­days is not con­sid­ered an edi­ble oil, in the prepa­ra­tion of their food.

The E.U. first, and the International Olive Oil Council later, cre­ated 4 olive oil grades: Extra Virgin, Virgin, Olive Oil and Olive Pomace Oil which is obtained by the extrac­tion of oil from the olive residues includ­ing the olive seeds.

This last grade is obtained using exactly the same extrac­tion method used for any seed oil, through sol­vents after the refine­ment process, mixed with extra vir­gin olive oil.


The Mediterranean diet, includ­ing the gen­eral oil com­ing from olives,” — i.e. all the grades — became famous in the world thanks to the American sci­en­tist Ancel Keys.

USA is still the first Country leader in olive oil import, out­side European Union.

All the inter­na­tional sci­en­tific stud­ies con­ducted for estab­lish­ing that olive oil is the best fat, referred to all olive oil grade, called as the gen­eral cat­e­gory olive oil.”

In 2011 EFSA (the European Food Safety Agency) decided that some claims could be added to labels — among them was one which referred to extra vir­gin olive oil for the pres­ence of some polyphe­nols.

But in November 1st, 2004 the US Food and Drug Administration announced as fol­lows:

FDA Allows Qualified Health Claim to Decrease Risk of Coronary Heart Disease

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today allows a qual­i­fied health claim for monoun­sat­u­rated fat from olive oil and reduced risk of coro­nary heart dis­ease (CHD).

There is lim­ited but not con­clu­sive evi­dence that sug­gests that con­sumers may reduce their risk of CHD if they con­sume monoun­sat­u­rated fat from olive oil and olive oil-con­tain­ing foods in place of foods high in sat­u­rated fat, while at the same time not increas­ing the total num­ber of calo­ries con­sumed daily.

With this claim, con­sumers can make more informed deci­sions about main­tain­ing healthy dietary prac­tices,” said Dr. Lester M. Crawford, Acting FDA Commissioner. Since CHD is the num­ber one killer of both men and women in the U.S., it is a pub­lic health pri­or­ity to make sure that con­sumers have accu­rate and use­ful infor­ma­tion on reduc­ing their risk.”

A qual­i­fied health claim on a con­ven­tional food must be sup­ported by cred­i­ble sci­en­tific evi­dence. Based on a sys­tem­atic eval­u­a­tion of the avail­able sci­en­tific data, as out­lined in FDA’s Interim Procedures for Qualified Health Claims in the Labeling of Conventional Human Food and Human Dietary Supplements,” FDA is announc­ing the avail­abil­ity of this claim on food labels and the label­ing of olive oil and cer­tain foods that con­tain olive oil.

Although this research is not con­clu­sive, the FDA intends to exer­cise its enforce­ment dis­cre­tion with respect to the fol­low­ing qual­i­fied health claim:

Limited and not con­clu­sive sci­en­tific evi­dence sug­gests that eat­ing about 2 table­spoons (23 grams) of olive oil daily may reduce the risk of coro­nary heart dis­ease due to the monoun­sat­u­rated fat in olive oil. To achieve this pos­si­ble ben­e­fit, olive oil is to replace a sim­i­lar amount of sat­u­rated fat and not increase the total num­ber of calo­ries you eat in a day. One serv­ing of this prod­uct [Name of food] con­tains [x] grams of olive oil.”

The FDA admit­ted claim men­tioned, monoun­sat­u­rated fat from olive oil” (MUFA). MUFA are con­tained in all olive oil cat­e­gories includ­ing:

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Virgin Olive Oil
  • Olive Oil (often called Pure)
  • Olive Pomace Oil

.They did not men­tion Extra Virgin Olive Oil” only because all the stud­ies were done on olive oil in gen­eral.

At the moment only in the European Union, and very recently, it was intro­duced that only a few extra vir­gin olive oils (the more bit­ter and fruity usu­ally) could add the claim about the pres­ence of a few polyphe­nols com­pounds which should be mea­sured.

It means that not all the extra vir­gin olive oil could have a high level of polyphe­nols.

As a con­clu­sion, all olive oils are healthy prod­uct if com­pared to all the seed oils avail­able and con­sumed in the world sim­ply because they have the high­est level of MUFA, which reduce the Coronary Hearth Disease. Consequently, the purists” are wrong. It might be for a deep igno­rance or per­haps a pecu­liar inter­est.

Unfortunately, olive oil con­sump­tion in the world is only close to 4 per­cent of the total fats con­sumed in the world and all the coun­tries who want to reduce their health prob­lems should replace seed oil with olive oil.

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