Can we fry with olive oil?

When I ask the question from the title of this article during my workshops, as an answer, I usually hear “no!”. And then there are reasons why not. Whereas, this matter is not that obvious, because, as it often happens in case of various food products, many common theories about olive oil are not justified.

You should definitely read:

Fat and slimming: coconut oil VS olive oil

What's inside the olive oil?

Olive oil is the kind of fat, which is highly respected for being valuable for health. And, we have to admit, that such exaggerated enthusiasm towards this product may not be justified, but it definitely has some advantages, which makes it a precious diet component. Olive oil consists mainly of monounsaturated oleic acid, which is not the indispensable component of diet, but it has positive influence on health. For example, there are data pointing out that diet rich in oleic acid protects the lipoproteins of serum from oxidation, which may decrease the risk of developing cardiovascular system diseases:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9034243

Obviously, these are not the only potential advantages caused by high content of oleic acid in diet.

But that's not all...

Olive oil is very rich in oleic acid (app. 68 – 75%), which is an advantage, by the way, it is poor in saturated fat (10 – 15% of the content) and polyunsaturated fat (app. 8 – 12% of the content). Apart from the mentioned lipids, olive oil also contains many compounds with antioxidative, antipatelet, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties (they occur in significant concentration only in the Extra Virgin olive oil). I mean, the substances are following:

  • oleocanthal,

  • squalene,

  • tyrosol,

  • oleuropein,

  • and many others.

The positive influence of the intake of olive oil on human health is the subject of many studies, but not so many of them suggest that the benefits from regular consumption of such oil are quite extended:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23278117

Olive oil and thermal treatment

As far as in the matter of pro-health properties of high-quality olive oil there is rather common compliance, when it comes to the aspect of the potential use of this kind of fat to frying, the opinions are different. On the one hand, you can hear the statements that in the supposed healthy Mediterranean diet, frying with olive oil has been performed every day, and on the other, there are individuals stating, that the unsaturated fatty acids found in this kind of fat oxygenate easily because of high temperature and they undergo the process of isomerization, which leads to creating harmful chemical compounds. Who is right this time?