Study reveals truth about Olive Oil and non-stick pans
The truth behind the claim that olive oil can ruin your cookware... Find it out!
Have you heard that olive oil is bad for your pans?
Yes, unfortunately, this is a thing people are saying. And it’s also leading people to question whether cooking with Extra Virgin Olive Oil can “ruin cookware”, such as your non-stick Teflon-coated pans.
Well, we’ve called it before and we’ll call it again – this is an unfortunate case of fake news. And like before, we are taking it upon ourselves to uncover the facts behind the faux. Let’s take a look…
What is the problem exactly?
It is a belief, supported by some cookware manufacturers’ specifications, that cooking oils with higher smoke points are ‘more suitable’ for use with Teflon coated pans. The misplaced assumption is then that oils with lower smoking points, such as Extra Virgin Olive Oil, are therefore not suitable for cooking with coated cookware at all. This is quite a leap to take. The misinterpretation is then taken one step further, with the inference being that Extra Virgin Olive Oil is actually damaging to the non-stick coating on Teflon pans.
Interestingly, this view only appears to be prominent in Australia and, despite trying, our teams have yet to discover any technical evidence to support the claim. As far as we’re concerned, a claim with no technical evidence behind it sits somewhere between hearsay and heresy on the fake news spectrum!
Our researchers did, however, uncover a research paper from an Australian oil specialist laboratory, Modern Olives Laboratory, which conducted research specifically to assess the suitability of various cooking oils, including Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for use with Teflon-coated pans.
Can you guess what they found? Well, first let’s look at the experiment itself…
What does the science say?
It’s already been established that, when a cooking pan is heated, there are several reactions that occur which could have the potential to damage that pan’s quality. In order to investigate the hypothesis of whether cooking with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, specifically, ruins or accelerates the wear of Teflon-coated pans, the researchers measured the release of elements and metals from the pans when separately heated with different oils. A model solution of water and vinegar was used to simulate the effect of cooking, which they referred to as ‘WV’ in the research paper.
To ensure that the experiment was balanced, three brands of different Teflon-coated pans of varying price points were assessed. These were heated with the model solution of water and vinegar to study the release of chemical elements before and after six cycles of heating with different cooking oils.
Which oils were tested? The following commonly used cooking oils were selected from Australian Supermarket shelves for the purposes of the study:
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Olive Oil
- Canola Oil
- Grapeseed Oil
- Rice Bran Oil
The research paper also shows that each trial was done by triplicate. This is in line with the method used by Lomolino et al (2016) in research assessing mineral elements and metals released from cookware (including Teflon-coated pans). The assessment of release of metals and elements from pans to investigate chemical interactions that occur when a pan is heated is also supported by methodologies reported in other research publications. In essence, the study was balanced and the results valid. So, what was the outcome...
What happened in the study?
When combining data from all three Teflon-coated pans, no statistically significant differences were found between the different oils.
This indicates there is no significant difference between the volume of metals released from the cookware when various cooking oils were used. Therefore, the various cooking oils had no effect on the pans’ integrity and no effect on the quality when cooking.
So what does that mean?
After all tests, no visual deterioration of any of the non-stick pans was observed. While these results are limited when considering the lifetime of a non-stick pan, they still indicate no impact of the oils’ type on the integrity of the cooking pans.
The bottom line?
From this, we can safely say that Extra Virgin Olive Oil is just as suitable as other oils under normal cooking conditions in terms of the effect on the pan.
Although there is a myth that cooking with Extra Virgin Olive Oil can damage or ruin Teflon-coated pans, there is no technical evidence or published scientific research that supports this.
The above research study provides scientific evidence that cooking with Extra Virgin Olive Oil does not ruin non-stick Teflon coated pans at any different rate than other cooking oils, and in no case did the use of Extra Virgin Olive Oil lead to the release of significantly higher levels of metallic substances from the pan than when using any other oils.
This means that you are free to review your choice of cooking oil based on other measures, knowing that your choice will have little effect on your cookware.
How to choose the right cooking oil
Things to consider when choosing a cooking oil that is best suited for you: