TV Tuesday #41: Is Cooking With Olive Oil Bad For You?


I’ve been reading “What Einstein Told His Cook” by Robert L. Wolke and there’s all kinds of fascinating things in it about food, the chemistry behind cooking and the science that goes on in the kitchen. After reading a chapter on the smoking point of different cooking oils, I started to research the validity of not frying or cooking with olive oil. I’ll share my findings in the video.

Do you cook or fry with Olive oil?

Have you always been told that you shouldn’t cook with it because you ruin the health benefits?

I know that’s what I’ve always been told. Now I’m not saying some of the nutrients don’t die off with cooking, because that’s true for everything. In fact that’s one of the foundations of a raw diet. But in reality, olive oil does not become unhealthy just because its heated. Here’s another myth about cooking with olive oil, that’s bunk, according to Olive Oil Source:

  • “Another myth is that cooking in olive oil diminishes the nutritional value of the food. This a misconception. The fact is that heating food will break down its nutritional value. High heat such as frying is worse than moderate heat such as steaming, which is worse than eating vegetables raw. It is not the cooking oil per se, but the high heat of frying. We are not aware of any edible cooking oil which by itself diminishes the nutritional value of the food cooked in it. Most nutritionists recommend lightly steaming vegetables or eating them. A touch of a flavorsome extra virgin olive oil added at the table will add taste and healthful anti-oxidants. Such is the Mediterranean diet which has been shown to help prevent coronary disease and have other health benefits.

Do you still cook with canola oil?

I can’t blame you. After all, site’s like Health Canada recommend (this one I find especially sad) that you cook your eggs in canola oil and put margarine on your toast as a healthy thing to eat for breakfast. Reputable magazine’s like Real Simple list it as the first healthy oil in a series of 7! Eek. Most canola oils and vegetable oil (derived from soybeans and a rapeseed plant) are genetically modified and extremely refined. Canola Oil is the “cheese in a can” (the one with the spray nozzle) of cooking oils. How is that healthy? Cheaper? Yes. Healthier? Not so much.

If you’re still on the band wagon of cooking with canola oil, at least you’re not alone. Since the 70’s, governments and companies have brain washed us to think it’s a healthier choice. Do you think McDonalds fry it’s fries in canola oil because it’s healthier? Come on! Of course not. It’s because it’s cheap.

Here’s some interesting articles about canola oil that you might be interested in if you’re still cooking with the stuff.

Is Canola Food a Health Food?

Canola is Another Victory in Food Technology Over Common Sense

If you’ve written some articles about canola oil, please add the link below in the comment section, I’d love to add it to the list. I just picked a couple but there are thousands of articles out there supporting what the 2 above are saying.

Debunking the Myth About the Smoking Point of Olive Oil

Some say it’s as low as 200 F, but in fact, in most cases it’s much much higher! You’ll be surprised. With so many websites listing false information and incorrect figures, it’s easy to get confused. Check out the video to learn the real smoking point.

So what should you cook with? Here’s a fabulous article by a fairly controversial blogger about The 5 Fats which You Should Have In Your Kitchen and cook with. Even Sarah, the author, states not to cook with it, but in reality as long as you never heat to it’s smoking point (like I mentioned can be higher or the same as other commonly used oil), its perfectly fine. It’s important to remember that once it’s heated past its smoking point, you really shouldn’t eat it. The cooking oil decomposes into disagreeable chemicals and carbonized particles that don’t taste or smell good.

Even though some people think we are vegetarian (we simple believe in a vegetables first) diet, we are not and for the most part follow a Traditional Diet.


Final Note : Yes I think we should cook with coconut oil (before all the comments come in about cooking with coconut oil come in). I do and I believe it to be an extremely healthy option. But this article is not about coconut oil, it’s about olive oil and hopefully getting people to give up there canola oil!

So what are your thoughts on canola oil and olive oil? Leave me a comment below.

17 Responses to TV Tuesday #41: Is Cooking With Olive Oil Bad For You?

  1. Brandis L Roush February 26, 2013 at 2:25 pm #

    A good thing to point out also would be that lots of olive oils are not actually pure olive oil, which will also affect both the health of the oil and the smoke point- I’m sure you saw Food Renegade’s post on this a while back. That said, I still use olive oil occasionally to fry/sautee, depending on what I’m cooking. I keep healthy oils (pretty much all of what Sarah listed) in my kitchen and use the oil that makes the most sense for the dish. Even though I mostly follow a traditional diet, I try really hard not to get too mired down in any research or dogma. If it’s something that was done/eaten hundreds of years ago, I generally assume it’s safe and healthy and don’t stress much beyond that, even though I do love to read and reflect on the new info that comes out.

  2. Rebecca February 26, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

    So a couple things to think about here:

    1. There have been many articles that have come across my computer screen lately that say that up to 75% of olive oil is not real olive oil. So… how can you determine that it isn’t real olive oil but other cheaper oil that has been tested for its smoke point (although labeled as olive oil).

    2. What about the oxidation that occurs when olive oil is heated? Maybe the nutrients are still there (I don’t know either way, I am not a scientist) but so are free radicals…

    Can you address those issues?

    I will stick with coconut oil or lard/tallow for high heat cooking, and I will stick with olive oil for my salad dressings.

  3. D. white February 26, 2013 at 3:02 pm #

    When olive oil is heated, even to low temperatures, it immediately becomes a trans fat. I only use it at room temperature now. Use grape seed oil instead. It can handle high temps and remains a healthy fat.

  4. The Café Sucré Farine February 26, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

    I’m so happy for this to be verified since I just made a delicious olive oil cake! :)

  5. Diane Jewell February 26, 2013 at 5:44 pm #

    How can you know if you have real extra virgin Olive oil? I hear most sold is not real evo. Help!!

  6. Eileen February 26, 2013 at 6:02 pm #

    I researched this recently as well and completely agree with you, France. You CAN cook with olive oil. For those of you who referenced olive oil fraud, it’s absolutely a problem, but I trust France to know how to shop for the real thing. I go out of my way to make sure mine is real, and indeed, the higher the quality of the EVOO, the higher the smoke point. Check out this chart: http://www.cookingforengineers.com/article/50/Smoke-Points-of-Various-Fats . As for D. white’s comment about olive oil turning into transfats at low temps, that’s simply not true: http://www.westonaprice.org/know-your-fats/trans-fatty-acids-are-not-formed-by-heating-vegetable-oils

  7. Tessa@tessadomesticdiva February 26, 2013 at 8:54 pm #

    I use light olive oil for mayo and mild oil uses, coconut oil for baking or sautéing, as well as reserved animal fat when I have it. I also like using ghee….

  8. Karen (Back Road Journal) February 26, 2013 at 10:20 pm #

    I think you can go crazy about what and what not to eat and cook with. I use olive oil more than any other oil. If I need an oil for high heat then I use peanut oil.

  9. Teresa February 26, 2013 at 10:38 pm #

    Fran,
    So glad to hear you follow a tradtional diet down here in NC . I have been ch leader for WAPF in my small area for less than a year. I am trying to get the message out there but it’s hard. Thank you for your site and all your videos! We have a new facebook book page called The Nourished Plate: Sandhills NC if you want to ever check us out.

  10. Rachael February 27, 2013 at 2:13 am #

    Um, do you realize that your first anti canola oil article is just a quote of your second article with the exception of the first two paragraphs? It word for word quotes it.

    Olive oil is amazing! I had no idea people were downing it so bad, and I’m glad you’re standing up to correct the misconceptions. However I don’t find it necessary to demonize canola oil. I appreciated that the article you listed actually quoted the results of the studies they used to get to their conclusions. A careful reading of it shows that if it is not the only oil/fat you are consuming there are no negative effects. Variety people, variety. Canola oil has Omega 3’s which can account for some of the negative side effects as Omega 3 is a blood thinner. So yes, if you feed a pig only canola oil as its fat source it is going to bleed more than the other pigs. You just gave it a stead diet of blood thinner. It’s not any different than overdosing on fish oil.

    Given the amount of fish in the average american’s diet I’m not really surprised that there’s a push to get canola oil in their diet. Given the amount of animal fats gained from the ridiculously large amount of meats the average american eats there should be no risk of imbalance that would cause negative effects. An exception might be a vegan that only cooks/gets fat from canola oil. Vegans should change up their oils. But it’s a good idea for meat eaters as well. Variety is the key to any healthy diet!

  11. Little Sis February 28, 2013 at 1:38 am #

    I use olive oil most often. When I bake I often use coconut oil as the fat seems to work well in baked goods. I also occasionally use safflower oil for high heat cooking. I’ve cooked a lot of stuff in olive oil and I’ve never seen it smoke.

  12. Jeanette Chen March 1, 2013 at 9:07 pm #

    Thanks for providing some clarify about cooking with olive oil. I do cook with olive oil as well as grapeseed oil, almond oil, walnut oil, and coconut oil. I used to use canola oil, but have stopped using it due to GMO concerns although it has been touted as a heart healthy oil.

  13. Eileen @ Phoenix Helix March 4, 2013 at 3:51 pm #

    For those of you wondering how to tell if your extra-virgin olive oil is the real thing, I just wrote up a detailed article on this very topic: http://www.phoenixhelix.com/2013/03/04/would-the-real-olive-oil-please-stand-up/

    • beyondthepeel March 4, 2013 at 7:37 pm #

      Thanks Eileen for the link. It’s true that’s there’s a lot of fake stuff out there! Scary to think that companies are putting other oils into there olive oil bottles…and this goes unchecked!

  14. Amber H March 7, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

    Thanks for discussing this issue, France. You bring up some great points. I can’t agree with you more about the canola oil (yuck). I have been using grapeseed oil for many years and love it. I find olive oil is best used in dressings or other dishes for flavor – it’s just so rich. Great video!!!

  15. djsavi April 14, 2013 at 5:42 am #

    I personally like Grape Seed Oil when using any type of heat, and using Olive Oil for drizzling. Canola Oil is all GMO, it has no place in my kitchen. Love your work, thank you for all the wonderful information you provide us!!!

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