T Nation

Cooking with olive oil?

Is it okay to cook with extra virgin olive oil.? I know that all other oil’s turn toxic when heated, but someone told that olive oil is different.

Monounsaturated oils oxidize at higher temps than polyunsaturated vegetable oils (corn oil etc) making them a much better choice for cooking. Olive oil has a very high % of monounsaturated content and as such makes one of the best cooking oils. I don’t remember the exact temp, but it takes an awful high heat to start oxidizing olive oil, unlike the polyunsaturates.

Olive oil, being mostly monounsaturated fat with relatively little polunsaturated fat (still about 8% though) is more resistant to heat damage (oxidation and cis/trans isomerism) than many other vegetable oils but still not immune. For frying, a saturated fat is the healthier choice in my opinion (cannot be converted to a trans fat by cooking heat.)

You can cook with extra virgin olive oil, however it is not the best choice, because it has a low smoke point (burns at a lower temperature than other oils). I would not use an epensive oil for cooking though, stick to the cheap stuff. As far as other oils being toxic, I have not heard of this, my guess is that has something to do with chemical changes when oil is burned but I do not know for sure. Use a canola/ olive oil blend at work, at home I use peanut, grape seed, extra virgin, regular olive oil and sometimes just plain old vegetable oil. Heck somtimes I use butter.