While extra virgin olive oil has quickly become a favorite among celebrity chefs and the general public due to its health benefits a new study states that purchasing it is a waste of money as the oil loses most of its health benefits when it is heated.
Researchers at Portugal's University of Porto said that the popularity of extra virgin olive oil has increased in recent times due to their nutritional benefits derived from the presence of bioactive components, called phenolic compounds, which are known to reduce the risk of cancers and greater number of antioxidants compared to other oils.
However the researchers said that heating the oil degraded its quality and reduced the effects of phenolic compounds. While olive oil continues to be as healthy as vegetable oil even after being heated, the researchers said that opting for standard olive oil was 'economically advantageous' compared to purchasing extra virgin oil.
"Olive oil performance under prolonged thermal processing is usually equal or superior to other refined vegetable oils. However, as most of its bioactive components, including phenolic compounds, are gradually lost, it is economically advantageous to use lower olive oil grades and frequent replenishment under prolonged thermal processing. After a short heating period, most olive oil advantages, in comparison with other vegetable oils, are lost", the researchers wrote in their report.