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Olive Oil: Truth and Lies

By now most of us have heard about the great cardiovascular, anti-oxidant, and anti-inflammatory benefits of including olive oil in our diets. These beneficial affects come from oleic acid (omega-9) and various polyphenols.

These attributes have helped make olive oil one of the best-selling and most commonly consumed oils in the United States. Some of the olive oils generally available in grocery stores are:

  • Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO):

  • No chemical extraction

  • From first cold press

  • Highest quality, best taste, and Low acidity: <0.8%

  • Virgin Olive Oil (VOO):

  • No chemical Extraction

  • Good taste and an Acidity of <2%

  • Pure and Refined Olive Oil:

  • Higher Acidity

  • Inferior taste

  • Additional refining using charcoal and chemical/physical filters

The most popular type of Olive Oil is the EVOO. It is typically the least processed and contains the highest level of polyphenols. However, what most consumers may not know is that many commercial brands of EVOO are frequently cut with more refined olive oils and even with other products such as sunflower oil.

Here are some tips for ensuring that you are purchasing the freshest and best EVOO:

  • High Quality EVOO will list the first crush date

  • Buy only the amount you can consume in 14 months past the crush date

  • High quality olive oils will have a bitter taste indicating a high polyphenol content

  • Olive Oil should always be sold in dark colored bottles to prevent exposure to light as it degrades the oil

  • High quality olive oils have a natural green tint – but beware, disreputable manufactures add chlorophyll and beta carotene to low quality oils and sell them as EVOO.

The table below compares the phenolic content to the bitter taste perception. Please note that if you are a super-bitter taster, you will perceive the flavor more intensely.

Bitterness Intensity Total Phenol Content, mg/kg

Non-bitter <220

Lightly bitter 340-410

Bitter 340-410

Very Bitter >410


Keep in mind that one of the best places to experience fresh high-quality olive oils is at your local olive oil store. If you do not have a store near you, you can always order your products on-line from reputable dealers.

Once you have your product, please follow these handy tips to help maintain oil quality and taste.

  • Light – Keep olive oil away from direct light. Should be kept in a dark bottle and in a dark, cool, cupboard

  • Temperature – Optimal Storage Temperature: 65 to 75 F. Store away from the stove.

  • Oxygen – Keep lid tightly closed after using

  • Buy Small Quantities at a time and use within 14 months of harvest date.

The board certified Integrative and Functions Nutritionist at Food Centered Solutions are specially trained to provide you with a personalized dietary and nutrient plan to help you address all factors, including food quality, that could be influencing your health and preventing you from reaching your goals. Our focus is to help you achieve long-lasting results.

Call us today for your free 15-minute consultation.

Food Centered Solutions, LLC

Frances Siver, MS, RDN, LDN, CLT, IFNCP Board Certified in Integrative and Functional Nutrition

W:, e:, C: 904-562-0082


  1. Veronica Foods. Published 2009. Accessed October 23, 2018.

  2. Agbiolab. Olive Oil Analysis. Agbiolab. Published 2012. Accessed October 23, 2018.

  3. 60 Minutes Overtime. Don’t fall victim to olive oil fraud. CBS News. Published 2016. Accessed October 23, 2018.

  4. Vitaglione P, Savarese M, Paduano A, Scalfi L, Fogliano V, Sacchi R. Healthy virgin olive oil: a matter of bitterness. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 2015; 55(13): 1808-1818.

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