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Olive oil may be refined with cheaper olive oil or diluted with harmful, pro inflammatory oils like hazelnut, soybean or canola oil. The International Olive Committee has stated that poor quality olives, which are being used to make olive oil lately, are “not fit for human consumption”.
A study out of UC Davis showed that more then 50 percent of olive oil on the market is not what it says on the label and that they have been adulterated and are falsely being sold at the “extra Virgin” price. These adulterated olive oils contain fewer sterols and polyphenols and more pro inflammatory fats which do the exact opposite of what olive oil does. The UC Davis study found that 69 percent of imported olive oil that is labeled as extra virgin failed to meet the quality and authenticity stands of the USDA.
How can you tell if your olive oil is extra version? It should have a certain strong taste. If it doesn’t taste right, something’s wrong. The UC Davis study tested 14 imported and 5 California grown brands from three different area of California. Based on taste and standards, the following brands showed defective flavors and poor chemical content.
Whole Foods 365
Safeway Select Brand
Newman’s Own Organic
The brands that did the best include: McEvoy Ranch Organic, California Olive Ranch, Lucero, Corto olive and Kirkland Organic.
Why is the quality of your Olive Oil important?
For starters, extra virgin olive oil is high in polyphenols which are known to fight free radical damage and reduce inflammation. If the olive oil is watered down with non extra virgin variations, the polyphenol content is low and our healthy fats are at a greater likelihood to get oxidized which increase our inflammation and causes various gut health issues.
How to buy high quality olive oil
Look for the California Olive Oil Council stamp. It’s a certification that applies only to olives grown in California and to achieve the certification you must have a high quality olive oil. All of the brands above that passed also passed the COOC tests.
Look for Spanish Olive Oil: While the Italian in me pains to suggest it, there is too much big business in Italian olive farms. The spanish government funds various research studies on olives. For now, it’s a better source.
Don’t settle: If the label doesn’t loudly scream EXTRA VIRGIN then don’t buy it.