T Nation

Monounsaturated fat

Are there any benefits of monounsaturated fat that polyunsatured does not provide or even exceed? Why is olive oil (which is mostly monounsaturated) recommended all the time?

Yeah, I’d like to know to. JMB includes it in his massive eating diet example with flax oil. Why not just double the flax?

It improves your HDL and can be used for building materials, but it’s not “essential”.

Monounsaturated fats are like the intermediate of fatty acids. Now we have been told of the benefits of polyunsaturated fats such as flax and fish oil, but these are really the only real important ones from this group. The misconception that polyunsaturates are better because the farther they are away from a saturated fat the better. This is not the case though.

Generic “vegatable oil”, soybean, cottonseed, sunflower, canola(more reasons than one) are really not the best things for your body. The high amount of heat needed to release the fat from these “vegatables” really ruins the structure and damages the fat. Also these damaged polyunsaturates really dont seem like a very compatable source if they must be highly processed to be extracted, just the way we look at highly refined sugars, etc. Canola also is one to be aware of. Canola oil a fat from the rapeseed(mustard family) while touted as a good source because of the high level of monounsaturated fat is pretty toxic over time. This genetically modified seed is the same used for mustard gas.

So my main point is really the myriad of polyunsaturates that are found in processed foods and oils are in themseleves detremental to your body probably only second to straight up shortening(margarine).

The key players here are the omega-3’s from fish oil and if you prefer from flax as well. This is a highly unsaturated fat that is very useful as the uptake of these fats into the membranes will give way to better membrane fluidity, receptor movement(glucose uptake is one example) and overall neurotramission as it is assimilated into the myosin sheath.

Monounsaturated fats, specifically Olive Oil is really a pretty neutral but very potent fat source. First and foremost find the best olive oil possible, extra virgin of course. This means that you are getting the first press with the least amount of processing and because it is not so unsaturated like a polyunsaturate it will not oxidize as readily.

The real kick in olive oil is the abundance of antioxidants. Along with the monounsaturated fat you also are getting the potent antioxidant power from the olive fruit. This is more than enough reason for more to use olive oil, just the fact that it is the least refined, most antioxidant rich fat source that I know of.

Just speaking of monounsaturated fatty acids in general, excluding olive oil, they are pretty neutral… well thats how I think of them, correct me if I am wrong please. They provide stability yet fludity to the cell membranes because it is only monounsaturated thus almost being an intermediate. But like with all things, the processing and exraction is just as important as the source…

Alright… time to step off the soapbox… if anything I said conflicts with some other scientific evidence please let me know because I sometimes think I come off sounding like I can’t be wrong, but if I was about anything I said, please let me know. Thanx, and I hope this helped


It has a number of benefits. Due to it’s high oleic acid content,it’s very stable(unlike flax). This makes it a multi-purpose cooking oil, ideal for cooking at medium range temperature (325?F/165?C). Also, (according to an old Muscle Media article with Barry Sears), monounsaturated oils have no effect on hormonal response.

Without studies to substantiate myself, I will say that the main benefit I believe is the raise in natural testosterone levels with monounsaturates. I was under the impression that it is both saturates and monounsaturates (not polyunsaturates to my knowledge) that increase testosterone, but we avoid too many saturates due to the negative effect on insulin sensitivity. Again, I’m going off rumor, but it is said that testosterone production is maximized at somewhere around 120g of fat/day, thus it would seem preferable to have the bulk of your fat intake come from monounsaturates. Also, it is my personal opinion that many people overdo the Omega 3’s. Health consequences are linked with an abundance of 6’s, so it only seems logical that too many 3’s would have their detrimental effects as well. But I digress, and if someone prevents me with contrary evidence I would be interested.

How about the debate over cooking with Olive oil vs not cooking with it? Many argue that cooking with olive oil is basically a no-no? Anyone care to elaborate.

Saturates and Monounsaturates are very stable oils, so it is okay to cook with them. (Butter and Olive Oil okay). DO NOT cook with polyunsaturates (vegetable oils), as they are very easily damaged by high temperatures.

macadamia and avocado oils are good too

I believe monounsaturates decrease total cholesterol and improve cholesterol ratio, while polyunsaturates decrease total cholesterol, but do not improve cholesterol ratio in that it also lowers HDL cholesterol.

I can't find the source for that, but it may be the other way around...I'm thinking that's correct, however. If I find it, I'll repost with confirmation.