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Friday, October 24, 2008

The Great Olive Oil Misconception

Is olive oil the healthiest fat? No. It's not. Some might ask, doesn't it lower cholesterol? Well, only when you substitute olive oil in equivalent amounts for butter or oils that are higher in saturated fat. Olive oil doesn't lower cholesterol; it just doesn't raise it as much.
You may be better off with canola oil. The 1999 Lyon Diet Heart Study found that a Mediterranean diet significantly reduced heart attacks and premature deaths. Many people attributed this to eating a lot of olive oil. But it was increased consumption of canola oil that accounted for these improvements.
Also, study participants ate more whole grain bread, vegetables, fish and fruit, and less meat. Butter and cream were replaced with margarine made from canola oil, which has more healthy omega-3 fatty acids than olive oil does.
Another study found that olive oil reduced blood flow by 31%. Canola oil and fish oil don't. (You want to increase blood flow to all body parts).
The taste of olive oil is great. It's a healthier fat than many others, but it's not nearly as healthy as canola oil -or fish oil and flaxseed oil, for that matter, which also have lots of omega-3's. And a tablespoon of any oil has 126 calories. Think about that before you pour it on.

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