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Olive Oil Myths: Four naked truths behind the fake news


We’re taking a bite out of the biggest myths in the olive oil world!

In today’s blog, we’re bringing the naked truth to light and taking a bite out of the biggest myths in the olive oil world! Let’s saddle up and jump straight in...

1. “Fats are bad for you!” 

For many years we were told that fat in food is the enemy. In fact, many brands still offer low-fat alternatives to their full fat produce as a ‘healthier’ option. Fortunately, times are changing; from the fanatic foodies to the easygoing eaters, we’re more clued up on the truth about fats than ever before. 
Consuming fat is an essential part of maintaining a healthy, balanced diet. Fat is what helps the body absorb key fat-soluble vitamins such as Vitamin A, D and E. It is also a vital source of essential fatty acids, which the body cannot make itself. 
Monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) helps protect your heart by maintaining levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) cholesterol, often referred to as ‘good’ cholesterol. It can also reduce levels of ‘bad’ or low-density lipoproteins (LDL) cholesterol in your blood. MUFAs play a central role in the famously heart-healthy Mediterranean diet.

However, it’s not as simple as adding these good fats into your recipes. Where possible we should choose foods that are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, such as Extra Virgin Olive Oil, instead of saturated fats or trans fats, like those in margarine or butter. For baking, consider substituting a lighter olive oil in place of butter or lard, e.g. La Española’s Light In Colour Olive Oil is especially good as a butter substitute in cakes

2. “Olive oil is bad for your skin!” 

Despite all the evidence to the contrary there is still a lot of chatter online about olive oil being bad for skin. This is simply not true - olive oil is great for your skin! And we can give you so many reasons why you should ignore the fake news and start using olive oil in your skincare routine!
Firstly, olive oil (especially extra virgin olive oil because it contains polyphenols that are antioxidants) is an excellent natural moisturizer that helps clear bacteria and inflammation. It is non-comedogenic and so won’t clog your pores. It helps seal moisture in your skin, calming your sebaceous glands and actually prevents excessive production of oils. It can help with acne, sunburn and psoriasis. Olive oil is also famously rich in vitamins and antioxidants. The antioxidants help repair your skin and keep it healthy, preventing skin damage. 
Looking for ingenious ways to introduce a little olive oil into your beauty routine? La Española recently partnered with a whole bunch of beauty influencers on Instagram. The result was a series of live DIY beauty demonstrations with some awesome olive oil applications, ranging from lip balm to facial scrubs. Go check them out!  

3. “Olive harvesting kills millions of birds each year!”

First thing’s first, we’d like to confirm that La Española does not use olives that have been harvested at night by intensive means. Let's make that as clear as possible! We do recognise the concerns that surround birdlife and olive harvesting but do not support any destructive means of olive collection. We can therefore promise that our olive oils do not result in such harm to bird life.

We think it’s also important to consider the sensationalist nature of many reports claiming that olive production kills birds. The headlines from some articles alone could understandably deter people from buying olives and olive oil for life! Once you dig a little deeper you’ll see a clear lack of concrete support for the claims. 

Then there’s the maths. Fortunately (for our avian friends) it seems the numbers are vastly exaggerated, based on extrapolated percentages taken from very extreme cases of malpractice or where super-intensive methods are employed at night. There is no evidence to back the large figures often applied to the whole industry, especially considering the olive groves in Spain and the traditional harvesting methods that are used.

Either way, you can rest assured that La Española olive oils are always bird-friendly. In fact, we’re happy to say our oils are 100% vegan. La Española is proud to be supporting the environment and maintaining a connection to the traditional techniques passed from generation to generation throughout our long and rich history. 

4. “You should never cook with Extra Virgin Olive Oil!”  

Have you ever heard someone passionately expressing that you should “never cook with Extra Virgin Olive Oils”? Well, there’s a little truth in this...but let's look at the details before we start rewriting our recipe books!
The debate usually comes down to the smoke point, the temperature at which the oil literally starts smoking. It’s often highlighted that cooking with an oil beyond the smoke point generates toxic fumes and free radicals which are extremely harmful to your body. Cooking at too-high temperatures can also spoil the flavours of a cooking oil. 
It’s true, Extra Virgin Olive Oils do have a lower smoking point than some alternative oils. La Española Extra Virgin Olive Oil has a smoking point of 215ºC. However, it’s not often you would need to cook at any temperature higher than this, making it safe for the majority of meals.
The La Española team’s advice would be to use your Extra Virgin Olive Oil for Seasonings, Low Heat Cooking and Medium Heat Cooking (stir-fry or baking around 160ºC), while exploring other options for cooking at higher temperatures. There are several options within the La Española range that have been specifically crafted to perform better at higher temperatures without compromising on flavour: Both our Pure Olive Oil and Light In Colour Olive Oil have a much higher smoking point. They also have a more subtle character that is less likely to overpower your food
Need some more advice? Get in touch on Facebook or Instagram and we’ll help you find the perfect oil for your needs!