Why is olive oil better than butter?

10 July 2019

Here we go with the same old question that keeps cropping up again and again: is olive oil really better than butter for cooking? Is it not clear yet? We’are spelling it out for you here and now: olive oil is healthier, by far!They even say it in Harvard, whose scientists developed the so-called Harvard Healthy Eating Plate, that calls into question the traditional food pyramid: in addition to fruits and vegetables forming the base of the diet (compared to the carbohydrates prescribed by the classic pyramid), fats should come from olive oil rather than butter. Would anyone dare to contradict Harvard?

Let’s take it step by step. When used for frying food, olive oil withstands higher temperatures (210ºC compared to 110 ºC for butter). That’s important because, when a food is heated a lot, its chemical composition suffers alterations, which leadsto the formation of elements that are harmful to our health, such as free radicals. Knowing that the average temperature for frying food is 180 ºC… do the math.

Let’s continue. Being an animal fat (it’s a dairy product), butter contains 70% saturated fatty acids, which are related to increases in blood cholesterol levels, which in turn increase the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Olive oil, on the other hand, is a vegetable oil with only 10-15% saturated fatty acids (here it wins by a landslide). And as if that wasn’t enough, the rest of its components are: between 50% and 82% oleic acid (omega-9), between 4% and 8% linoleic acid (omega-6), and under 1% linolenic acid (omega-3), which all help fight cholesterol. Add to it vitamin E and its antioxidant properties and you will see that, without a doubt, olive oil comes out on top.

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