Cooking with Olive Oil Healthy?

Joined Apr 29, 2010
I was wondering, many people say olive oil is healthy but is cooking with it the same healthy as eating it raw?
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Joined Dec 4, 2001
No. Raw oil is always healthier than cooked oil, and that's true whatever the type of oil, olive or other.
OK, so what does heating the oil do to it that makes it less healthy? I know that some quality is lost in heating (that is, the uncooked oil just tastes better) but what health benefits are lost?
Joined Sep 5, 2008
I honestly don't know the details... but when we got our newborn we read a lot of books on nutrition and one important point was to give him raw oils - not cooked.

AFAIK heating/cooking any food (so including oil) breaks down its nutritional value.
Joined Dec 4, 2009
Heating causes loss of available nutrients (as expected) contained in oils, including fat-soluble vitamins such as E and the phytonutrients that give oils their characteristic colors, smells and flavors.

Heating oils can cause formation of free radicals, highly reactive molecules that can damage the oil further by triggering unwanted oxidative reactions.

Formation of unwanted aromatic substances (such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or PAHs) in the oil that can increase our risk of chronic health issues including cancers.

Joined Apr 29, 2010
Points taken, but are you perhaps referring to fried oil? I could imagine why that would not be good, even for olive oil. But I really am not sure whether eg. baked cooked olive oil is bad...
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Joined Apr 3, 2010
 Fried Oil/  ?? You really can't use olive oil for deep or high temp pan frying, as the smoking point is to low. It would probably burn or ignite and cause a fire.
Joined Aug 13, 2006
 Fried Oil/  ?? You really can't use olive oil for deep or high temp pan frying, as the smoking point is to low. It would probably burn or ignite and cause a fire.
I used to fry with extra virgin oil when the kids were young, just because as i understood it, all cold-pressed oils are free of chemical additives that get modified under high heat conditions.  I never used a deep fryer, I did stuff like croquettes or potatoes or battered or breaded vegetables and stuff like that, in a frying pan with oil to cover.  I used high heat, the stuff seemed to brown easily and not to absorb too much fat, and it never ignited, ever.  I didn;t fry very often and i had a free supply from my inlaws who knew someone in the country who produced it.  
My understanding is that in cooking (not frying) the extra virgin oil is best, - it might lose something but doesn;t add anything harmful.  

I think the term "healthy" is interpreted in different ways.  Some use it to mean "you should do this because it makes you healthier" and others use it to mean "it isn;t harmful"
The Italian proverbial version of "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" is "what doesn't kill you makes you fat" which, in the days of poverty and undernourishment that in Italy lasted till the 60s, was actually a good thing!  It meant healthy! 
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Joined Feb 26, 2007
I agree with guru - so avoid any high heat cooking with olive oil.  It degrades the oil and turns it into a much unhealthier product.  Save your olive oil for using raw, or for cooking at low temp.  I don't know about the costs where you are, but it is way too expensive here to use large amounts for shallow/ deep fryin, apart from the info above about smoke point.
Joined Apr 3, 2008
I use olive oil for everything, even baking cakes sometimes.  The only time I use a different oil is for deep frying.  For that I use peanut oil.... but I throw in a little olive oil in there too.
Joined Aug 13, 2006
Ha, i do that too now that I stopped using it straight, Koukovagia, i use peanut oil and add a little extra virgin, just because it seems right. 

I do stop short at baking with it, or any oil for that matter, since i way prefer butter.  But olive goes into everything else. 

I knew an Italian who had lived in the states for a while who asked me "Why do Americans use Crisco all the time?"
I told her they like to cook with it because it has no taste. 
She said "So why would you cook with something if it has no taste??!!"

Just a general question to anyone who knows.  Isn;t there a difference in chemical breakdown when the oil is cold-pressed?  Cold pressed oil is only filtered.  Hot pressed oil is washed with chemicals to remove the debris, and the traces of chemicals, as i understood it, are what is unhealthy when heated - they change with heat and produce toxic substances.  This is what i read somewhere.  Any scientists here who can answer with some real scientific knowledge?"

Also, how about clarified butter, what is the smoke point of that - is that ever used for frying?  Not intending to use it but am curious. 
Joined Apr 30, 2010
 I thought you all could use this when deciding what to fry with. As you can see, you would be right on the edge using extra virgin olive for  some deep fat frying.
The following table presents smoke points of various fats:[table][tr][th=""]Fat[/th][th=""]Quality[/th][th=""]Smoke Point[/th][/tr][tr][td]Almond oil[/td][td]  [/td][td]420°F[/td][td]216°C[/td][/tr][tr][td]Avocado oil[/td][td]  [/td][td]520°F[/td][td]271°C[/td][/tr][tr][td]Butter[/td][td]  [/td][td]350°F[/td][td]177°C[/td][/tr][tr][td]Canola oil[/td][td]Expeller Press[/td][td]464°F[/td][td]240°C[/td][/tr][tr][td]Canola oil[/td][td]High Oleic[/td][td]475°F[/td][td]246°C[/td][/tr][tr][td]Canola oil[/td][td]Refined[/td][td]470°F[/td][td]240°C[/td][/tr][tr][td]Coconut oil[/td][td]Unrefined[/td][td]350°F[/td][td]177°C[/td][/tr][tr][td]Coconut oil[/td][td]Refined[/td][td]450°F[/td][td]232°C[/td][/tr][tr][td]Corn oil[/td][td]Unrefined[/td][td]320°F[/td][td]160°C[/td][/tr][tr][td]Corn oil[/td][td]Refined[/td][td]450°F[/td][td]232°C[/td][/tr][tr][td]Cottonseed oil[/td][td]  [/td][td]420°F[/td][td]216°C[/td][/tr][tr][td]Flax seed oil[/td][td]Unrefined[/td][td]225°F[/td][td]107°C[/td][/tr][tr][td]Ghee  (Indian Clarified Butter)[/td][td]  [/td][td]485°F[/td][td]252°C[/td][/tr][tr][td]Grapeseed oil[/td][td]  [/td][td]420°F[/td][td]216°C[/td][/tr][tr][td]Hazelnut oil[/td][td]  [/td][td]430°F[/td][td]221°C[/td][/tr][tr][td]Hemp oil[/td][td]  [/td][td]330°F[/td][td]165°C[/td][/tr][tr][td]Lard[/td][td]  [/td][td]370°F[/td][td]182°C[/td][/tr][tr][td]Macadamia oil[/td][td]  [/td][td]413°F[/td][td]210°C[/td][/tr][tr][td]Olive oil[/td][td]Extra virgin[/td][td]375°F[/td][td]191°C[/td][/tr][tr][td]Olive oil[/td][td]Virgin[/td][td]420°F[/td][td]216°C[/td][/tr][tr][td]Olive oil[/td][td]Pomace[/td][td]460°F[/td][td]238°C[/td][/tr][tr][td]Olive oil[/td][td]Extra light[/td][td]468°F[/td][td]242°C[/td][/tr][tr][td]Olive oil, high quality (low acidity)[/td][td]Extra virgin[/td][td]405°F[/td][td]207°C[/td][/tr][tr][td]Palm oil[/td][td]Difractionated[/td][td]455°F[/td][td]235°C[sup][1][/sup][/td][/tr][tr][td]Peanut oil[/td][td]Unrefined[/td][td]320°F[/td][td]160°C[/td][/tr][tr][td]Peanut oil[/td][td]Refined[/td][td]450°F[/td][td]232°C[/td][/tr][tr][td]Rice bran oil[/td][td]  [/td][td]490°F[/td][td]254°C[/td][/tr][tr][td]Safflower oil[/td][td]Unrefined[/td][td]225°F[/td][td]107°C[/td][/tr][tr][td]Safflower oil[/td][td]Semirefined[/td][td]320°F[/td][td]160°C[/td][/tr][tr][td]Safflower oil[/td][td]Refined[/td][td]510°F[/td][td]266°C[/td][/tr][tr][td]Sesame oil[/td][td]Unrefined[/td][td]350°F[/td][td]177°C[/td][/tr][tr][td]Sesame oil[/td][td]Semirefined[/td][td]450°F[/td][td]232°C[/td][/tr][tr][td]Soybean oil[/td][td]Unrefined[/td][td]320°F[/td][td]160°C[/td][/tr][tr][td]Soybean oil[/td][td]Semirefined[/td][td]350°F[/td][td]177°C[/td][/tr][tr][td]Soybean oil[/td][td]Refined[/td][td]450°F[/td][td]232°C[/td][/tr][tr][td]Sunflower oil[/td][td]Unrefined[/td][td]225°F[/td][td]107°C[/td][/tr][tr][td]Sunflower oil[/td][td]Semirefined[/td][td]450°F[/td][td]232°C[/td][/tr][tr][td]Sunflower oil, high oleic[/td][td]Unrefined[/td][td]320°F[/td][td]160°C[/td][/tr][tr][td]Sunflower oil[/td][td]Refined[/td][td]450°F[/td][td]232°C[/td][/tr][tr][td]Tea seed oil[/td][td]  [/td][td]485°F[/td][td]252°C[/td][/tr][tr][td]Vegetable shortening[/td][td]  [/td][td]360°F[/td][td]182°C[/td][/tr][tr][td]Walnut oil[/td][td]Unrefined[/td][td]320°F[/td][td]160°C[/td][/tr][tr][td]Walnut oil[/td][td]Semirefined[/td][td]400°F[/td][td]204°C[/td][/tr][/table][h2][edit]

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