The Truth Behind Olive Oil

Photo credit: bigstock

Photo credit: bigstock

There is an ugly, nasty little secret going on in your kitchen and it has to do with your olive oil. Yes, the olive oil that you bought because you were interested in better health and wanted to get a little slice of that seductive Mediterranean lifestyle we all hear so much about.  However, that bottle of olive oil is, more than likely, a scam.

Yep, you read that right, a scam. Because that bottle of olive oil most likely has far less olive oil than you thought. It’s been mixed with less expensive types of oils, such as sunflower seed oil, and has simply had added colorants to make it look like olive oil.

This fraud has been going on for centuries and doesn’t appear to be on the way out anytime soon. This is an ugly and unfortunate fact. This is a huge game that many multinational commercial companies play at. It’s also due to politics, those truth in labeling laws, very lax oversight, and underfunded food inspection agencies. It’s also a matter of demand outstripping the supply.

When purchasing olive oil you will need to look for a few things. There are standards that are to be used for pure olive oil. Look for the IOCC label for starters. IOCC is the International Olive Oil Council. You should also look for the words ‘cold pressed’ on the label. This means that the olives were not heated while undergoing the extraction process. This is super important as heating would completely defeat the purpose of using olive oil.

Another thing many people are not aware of is that although olive oil has many health benefits, from its anti-inflammatory properties to its anti-cancer compounds, olive oil is truly one of our best superfoods. But what most people don’t know is that, like Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde, olive oil can turn on us when it has been heated. Even at very low temperatures, all those amazing health benefits and good enzymes are destroyed and on top of that, the oil turns itself into a trans-fat. This is one of the worst types of fats you can consume and one of the reasons you probably switched to olive oil to begin with is to avoid all the trans-fat in commercial vegetable oils. Trans-fats dramatically increase your levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol and lower your good cholesterol.

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