Aldi, baking, blood pressure, Books, Cadiz, Cooking, diabetes, Dr. Simon Poole, Greece, health, heart disease, Judy Ridgway, Kalamata, Nancy Harmon Jenkins, Napolina, Spain, Sunflower oil, Tesco, The Olive Oil Diet, Virgin Territory
It was all going so well! As I was going to write today about Olive Oil bottles, and more specifically what to look for on the label, I began by lining up a few bottles from my cupboard and having a good look at them. And then, I got side-tracked. You can blame it on the Napolina Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Blend of olive oils of European Union Origin:
This is what we call ‘oil’ in our house. When hubby is cooking and shouts: “Where’s the oil Karen?” – this is it. So I was pleasantly surprised to note that the Fat content (91.4g/100g if you’re interested) was broken down into Saturates (13.1g), Mono-unsaturates(66.7g) and polyunsaturates (7.5g) (did we lose 4.1g somewhere in the maths?!)
As a fat, Olive Oil contains about 120 calories per tablespoon which I think you’ll find is the same as most other fats. So here’s the thing; it’s not the consumption of fat that causes weight gain or a whole host of bodily ailments – diabetes, heart disease, raised blood pressure etc. Pretty much everyone knows now that the myth of low fat is just that, a myth. Now, I’m not a doctor and I’m not a qualified nutritionist so I’m going to let others explain it (because I’m no scientist either). ‘The monounsaturated oleic fat in olive oil appears to contribute much less to the fat we accumulate than other types of fat, such as saturated fats‘ according to Dr. Simon Poole and Judy Ridgway in The Olive Oil Diet. And as Nancy Harmon Jenkins states in Virgin Territory: “MUFAS* work in human metabolism to regulate serum cholesterol, reducing dangerous low-density lipoproteins (called ‘bad’ cholesterol), and maintaining or even boosting high density lipoproteins, the so-called ‘good’ cholesterol. Olive Oil contains anywhere from 55% to 83% monounsaturated oleic acid“.
What this means is that all olive oil – EVOO or your plain old bottle of refined Olive Oil – can be regarded as a good source of the kind of healthy fats that help fend off cardiovascular disease. Which makes a mockery of the UK’s ludicrous Traffic Light labelling system of Red, Orange, Green which gives EVOO a Red light (higher than Sunflower Oil) because of it’s saturated fat content – with no regard for the quality of that fat. Ho, hum!
Here then are three more labels for you to look at: The first cost £2.39 for 750ml from Aldi, is a Product of Spain and rather sadly doesn’t separate out the mono-unsaturated, simply stating 91g of fat of which 13g is saturated (very similar to the Napolina)
The second, is a single olive variety – the Kalamata from Greece – in a classier bottle, glass rather than plastic, also from Aldi and cost £2.99 for 500ml. It states total fats of 92g of which saturates are 14g. If you’re interested a Tesco bottle of Sunflower Oil states 92g of fats of which 10.2g are saturates.
And finally, one of my favourite ‘local’ oils, Ilipa Olvera, from Tierra de Cadiz (Spain) which states a fabulous 100g of fat of which 77g are mono-unsaturates (and 9g polyunsaturates).
Next time, I’ll take a closer look at the whole of the label and give you some guidelines as to what is useful information, what is required by law, and what just sounds good!
I’m currently experimenting with making Digestive biscuits using EVOO and will feature the recipe once I’ve perfected it!
Happy, Healthy Olive Oil consuming, until next time,
Taster, Tester, Consumer, Cook
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- MUFA = Mono Unsaturated Fatty Acids