T Nation

Olive Oil V Sunflower Oil


I’ve always used olive oil for as long as I can remember, simply assuming that it was better for me than other seed oils.

However, I was looking at the nutrition info on a tub of my mates sunflower oil and to my surprise the fat types were better.

The olive oil had something like this:

Saturated: 11
Mono-Un: 70
Poly-Un: 19

The sunflower had this:

Saturated: 11
Mono-Un: 31
Poly-Un: 58

Isn’t the sunflower oil better for me then, based on its breakdown? Or are there other reasons for olive oil having increased health benefits.


Most of the Polys in the Sunflower Oil are Omega 6 acids. Which result in a high ratio of 6:3. While the Olive Oil does contain 6 it has fewer of them and more 3s (though not much more). This allows for a better ratio and to help get your Omega 3s that are needed.

You also want Monos in your diet as well. The Sunflower is relatively low and as a result it could be hard to get in what you need. Compare that to the Olive Oil where you can get your monos fairly easily and get a better 6:3 ratio.

More is not necissarily better. Check out some of the books that are available on Fatty Acids (in fact BUY one!) and learn the break down of the fatty acids and ratios that are related to the various oils. You’ll be better prepared. One that I recommend is actually a diet book, but it presents the info fairly well. It’s the Omega Diet (aka Omega Plan) by Artemis Simopoulos. It’s not the only one or “the end all be all” source, but I think you’ll be better off with it.

Atrmeis’s omega plan sucks big time.

Accept the fact that saturated fat is good for your health e.g coconut oil. Too much PUFA can be bad for your health due to the nature of highly reactive when exposed to air, heat, etc which is why you need vitamin E to counteract but still don’t over do it. Beradi recommended 1/3 for each type. I generally go for 40% SFA, 40% MUFA and 20% PUFA mostly from FLAX oil and fish oil to keep the ratio of omega 3s to 6s as close to 1:1 as possible. Ditch sunflower oil! Of course unless if it’s freshly cold pressed high oleic sunflower which the profile is similar to olive oil e.g. high amount of MUFA but more expensive.

Wasn’t talking about the whole plan. I was talking about the discussion on fats.

Second, Mr. Oldham was asking about the fat profile for Olive Oil and Sunflower Oil. Mr. Berardi recommeds using Extra-virgin Olive Oil. Dr. Simopoulos does also. In fact alot of their stuff actually jives together. Funny how something that supposed to suck, jives with someone elses stuff that you praise. Someone that has just as much knowledge, if not more, on the subject being discussed.

While yes you do need some saturated fats, you shouldn’t go “whole hog or none”. I don’t think that anyone has said anything about not taking in any saturated fats. At least not by the third post in the thread.