Perusing the olive oil selection at your grocery store can be confusing to say the least. It’s hard to know which olive oil to choose, what with the different countries of origin, different types, and vastly different price points.
Is the $30 extra virgin stuff really three times better than the $10 light olive oil? How does the taste compare? Is one better for cooking? Most importantly, are you really getting what it says on the label?
Let’s break it down.
What are saturated fats, exactly? Today, I’m diving into the nuances of saturated fatty acids — a guide to all the individual fatty acids that make up the saturated fats we eat, store, and burn.
I won’t cover every single saturated fatty acid in existence. Some don’t play any significant role in human health or diet, like cerotic acid, which appears mainly in beeswax. Or arachidic acid, which you can get by hydrogenating arachidonic acid or eating a ton of durian fruit. There are a few more that aren’t very relevant.
I will instead cover the most important ones.
Avocados and avocado oil had a slow road to popularity, starting with a rebranding of sorts. There’s a bit of an internet debate around the origin of the word avocado. Some reports say that it came from the word ahuacatl, which is Aztec slang for testicle. As the fruit became more popular, that association wasn’t great for marketing, so farmers changed the name to “avocado” and even petitioned dictionary publishers to update the entry. Good move on their part, because “avocado toast” sounds much more appetizing than … the other thing.
Is Avocado Oil Good For You?
Back in the ‘80s when low-fat diets were lauded as the sure path to losing weight, people shunned avocados because of their fat content. About a decade and a half later when word got out that different fats do different things in the body, avocados were regarded as a welcome addition again because of their monounsaturated fat content. With the growth of the Primal and keto movements, people now embrace these fats, and avocados are regarded as a beneficial food that fits into a healthy lifestyle.
As a health-minded individual, you’ve no doubt gotten the memo that omega-3 fatty acids are important. You may dutifully eat your weekly servings of small, oily fish. Perhaps a fish oil pill is even part of your daily supplement routine. But do you know why?
Looking back, I used to write about omega-3s a lot in the early days of Mark’s Daily Apple (more than a decade ago, geez!). Since then, I’ve covered the topic here and there, but I thought it was time for a refresher. Today I’m going to focus on giving you a broad overview of their function and an update on the state of the research literature.
It would be impossible to cover all the reasons that omega-3s are important for health in a single post, nor all the areas of ongoing research. I’ll try to hit the big ones here. Let me know in the comments what else you’d like me to cover in future posts.
Olive oil is the great uniter of the dietary factions. Vegan, vegetarian, paleo, keto, Mediterranean, Atkins, “clean eaters,” folks who tout the most conventional of conventional wisdom—just about everyone agrees that olive oil is a “good fat.” Heck, even a lot of carnivore dieters will use olive oil to increase their intake of monounsaturated fatty acids despite olive oil’s plant origins.
When a food gets this much good press, especially in the popular media, that’s about the time I usually step in to make a contrarian claim, citing some buried research or pointing out an evolutionary argument against it.
Not with olive oil. As much as I love my avocado oil, I see no reason to question the legitimacy of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) as a valid member of your diet. Personally, I include both in my diet on a regular basis. Here’s why.