By connecting to the great difference that exists between the perception that we have about the quality of olive oil and its real qualities, it seems useful to dispel some clichés that exist in this field, that in the years have crept into the collective imagination as trues.
Maybe not everyone knows that the word “olive oil” means the product obtained from the mixture of a large percentage of oil coming from the refining of the inedible part of the residues of the pressing of olives (lampante oil) and a small percentage of virgin and extra virgin olive oil that is added to the lampante oil to improve its taste. In our opinion, users should be put in a position to better understand that only when they buy an “extra virgin olive oil” are buying a product coming exclusively from the pressing of olives with the aid of only mechanical means and without the use of any chemist procedures. Moreover, users should also know that a good extra virgin olive oil to be such must have an absolutely perfect fruity taste that recalls the healthy and fresh olive, as well as respecting the required acidity and peroxide values.
Most consumers mistakenly believe that “olive oil is heavier” for the body and less digestible than other dietary fats. This is absolutely false as research has shown that olive oils, which are naturally rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, have a higher digestibility coefficient both compaired to seed oils (which instead have a greater presence of polyunsaturated fatty acids) but especially compaired to animal fats full of saturated fatty acids, very harmful to the body. All the more reason the high quality extra virgin olive oils, with a low degree of acidity, are perfectly digestible and have an excellent gastric tolerance.
On the dietary and nutritional point of view, one gram of extra virgin oil fat produces 9 calories, as much as all other vegetable fats. Olive oil, therefore, is not more fattening compaired to other oils, consequently no advantage is obtained for the line by using seed oils. But compared to them a good extra virgin oil has the great advantage of containing many antioxidant substances that contribute to preventing many diseases. The amount of olive oil that can be consumed in the daily diet by a healthy individual is equal to 40 grams.
Another false clichè is related to frying, for years people have wanted to believe that among all food fats those of seeds are the most suitable for frying. This is absolutely false, the scientific research has shown that compaired to the other food fats the extra virgin olive oil resists better to the thermo-oxidation processes caused by frying for two reasons: unlike animal fats, olive oil is provided antioxidant substances and further because it is consisting mainly of monounsaturated fatty acids which have a much lower oxidation rate at high temperatures than polyunsaturated fatty acids present in higher quantities in seed oils.
Contrary to popular belief, olive oil has a higher smoke point than seed oils. The smoke point is the temperature above which glycerol, contained in triglycerides, decomposes into acrolein, a harmful substance that irritates the gastric mucosa, slows down digestive processes and damages the liver. High quality extra virgin olive oils, with low acidity, resist higher temperatures better than others with higher acidity.
Acidity confused with spicy sensation
How many times we have heard that this olive oil is too acidic when it is just a little spicy. The degree of acidity of any extra virgin olive oil is never perceptible at the gustatory level, it can only be found through chemical analysis. The spicy and bitter sensations are instead positive organoleptic characteristics to be found in a good extra virgin olive oil. These are more pronounced when the fruit is green and are determined by the presence in the oil of polyphenols, those natural antioxidants now so sought, who delay and counteract the formation of free radicals, harmful to our body.
Color, density and quality
We are used to thinking that thicker olive oils are better than clearer ones, this is also a false myth. Unfortunately, a generalization cannot be made as the density or clarity depend on various factors such as the type of cultivar and its fatty acid composition. Among other things, there are several methods to make an olive oil more attractive to make it thicker, so it is advisable not to rely on this parameter.
To conclude, in the process to buy a good extra virgin olive oil, we should should mainly follow our experience to understand the organoleptic characteristics of the product. But at the same time is basic the relationship of trust established over time with our supplier that be based as much possible on the correctness and transparency of the information.