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Latest Extra Virgin Olive Oil Brand Tests by Consumerlab.com

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See also: Why EVO Beats Corn Oil Hands Down. (Reply #9 at the very bottom)

Latest Olive Oil Brand Tests by Consumerlab.com

© 2016, David Leonard, Educational Program Coordinator (retired), Nutrition Connections Program, Univ. of NH Coop. Extension

Good-quality extra virgin olive oil (EVO) has many well-researched health benefits (see my 1/15/16 post) such as blood pressure reduction and lower risk of heart disease, stroke, breast cancer, and cognitive decline. Benefits start with as little as 2 Tbsp. daily (about 40 cents for the lower-cost quality brands).

www.consumerlab.com (a trusted testing company) recently analyzed 10 popular EVO brands it purchased at stores. Ratings are based on sensory qualities judged by a certified taster plus lab analyses for:

  • Quality
  • Purity (to detect adulteration with cheaper oils)
  • Rancidity (due to improper handling which shortens storage life)
  • Antioxidant content: Polyphenols are the ones behind EVO’s health benefits, and the amount varies with olive variety, amount of water during growth (low amounts boost polyphenols), and harvest stage (levels fall as olives mature). So a brand’s polyphenol content likely varies from year to year. Polyphenols increase bitterness which, along with pungency, determines robustnesss (boldness of flavor) graded as “mild”, “medium”, or “robust”.

Brands Tested

365 Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil

California Olive Ranch

Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Kirkland Signature (Costco) Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Lucini Premium Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Newman’s Own Organics Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Spectrum Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Trader Joe’s Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Results

All 10 brands claimed to be “extra virgin", but the taster downgraded 2 of them to “virgin” (Newman’s Own & Bertolli), and another was rated unsatisfactory (Pompeian). Both grades come from the first pressing of the olives w/o using solvents, other chemicals, or heat, but genuine EVO has a better taste and chemical makeup.

1. Top 3 choices

  • Kirkland Signature Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oi l (Costco): Highest in polyphenols (369), good quality and taste, and one of the lowest priced. But the 2-liter bottle (over 2 quarts) may begin to spoil before it's used up (see below). Mild robustness.
  • Trader Joe’s Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Good quality & taste, relatively low cost. Polyphenol content of 237 is still a good level). Medium robustness.
  • California Olive Ranch: Widely available (incl. Walmart). Good quality & taste. Three bottle sizes: 500 ml (16.9 oz.), 750 ml (25.4 oz.), 1.4 liters (47.3 oz.). Good polyphenol content (260). Mild robustness.
  • Runner-up: 365 Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The lowest cost plus good taste & polyphenol content (216). Medium robustness.

2. Also approved but more pricey

  • Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Lucini Premium Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Spectrum Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

3. Not approved

  • Newman’s Own Organics Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Taster-rated as “virgin” due to moderate taste defects. But good polyphenol content (330). Mild robustness. Pricey.
  • Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Passed lab tests, but rated as “virgin” (not extra virgin) on the taste test, so received an approval rating of “Uncertain”. Likely a mixture of good & lower-quality olive oils, but good polyphenol content (318). Mild robustness.
  • Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Taster-rated as “lampante” (unsatisfactory) despite being certified by the USDA and NAOOA (North. American Olive Oil Assoc.). Polyphenol content (218) was good, and it showed little rancidity. Mild robustness.

Buying Tips

Choose brands whose containers state the harvest date (ideally no older than last year’s) and that come in dark glass or plastic. The best California brands have a quality seal from the Calif. Olive Oil Council. Note that actual oil color can vary from green to pale yellow, but this isn’t related to quality.

Storing EVO: Its shelf life unopened is about 18-24 months after bottling if protected from light & high temps (deterioration increases above about 700F). Once opened, significant loss of quality & antioxidants won’t occur if used within 30-60 days & kept tightly capped & away from bright light. You can also store EVO in the fridge, and any resulting cloudiness & minor solidification will resolve once it warms to room temps.

https://www.oliveoiltimes.com is an excellent source for olive oil info and its health benefits.

DON'T MISS my other posts in this Health Issues Forum:

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMERS

  • The info presented in this post should not replace professional medical or dietary advice, diagnosis or treatment.
  • Always consult your registered dietitian or physician before making any significant dietary or exercise changes.
  • Don't ignore professional medical advice due to the info presented here.
  • There is no guarantee that these recommendations will work for you.
Edited by David1941
spellcheck

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Ok, I'll bite. I use olive oil a lot in cooking and I don't use any of the top rated ones mentioned in your post. What those ratings don't say is if I don't use a top rated one, what am I missing? I buy the cheapy EVO for Walmart. Does that mean I'm not getting the benefits I think I am? Just asking...

Edited by Earl

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Earl. ya left some bait on hook. IMO I always use Extra VIrgin Oil. For me it's the taste. Each brand does have it's own flavor. Some of the Flavors work good with say cooking pasta w/shrimp as compared to cooking chicken or something else. As for what we loosing or Gaining as for the Vitamins ect im not sure. I didn't have a clue on that. But either way it EVO is much better than Veggie Oil.

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But either way it EVO is much better than Veggie Oil.

That depends upon each person's taste. I happen to be one who dislikes most things that have a significant amount of olive oil in them. The American Heart Association says that there are other cooking oils that are healthy.

 

 

Here’s an alphabetical list of common cooking oils that contain more of the “better-for-you” fats and less saturated fat.
  • Canola
  • Corn
  • Olive
  • Peanut
  • Safflower
  • Soybean
  • Sunflower

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Well, Consumerlabs tested only 10 of the many brands, but the tests did show that there's not always a direct relationship between cost and quality. However, a very cheap brand would be more prone to be blended with lower-quality oils, but if it has good taste, maybe not, especially if derived from Califronia olives and bearing the seal of the Calif. Olive Oil Council.

Ok, I'll bite. I use olive oil a lot in cooking and I don't use any of the top rated ones mentioned in your post. What those ratings don't say is if I don't use a top rated one, what am I missing? I buy the cheapy EVO for Walmart. Does that mean I'm not getting the benefits I think I am? Just asking...

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What about the corn oil? Have been seeing commercials stating that Mazola corn oil has 2X the amount of polyphenol that olive oil has. Implies that it is better than olive oil in lowering cholesterol Is it the taste that keeps many from using it? I have never tried it so don't know. .

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...but the tests did show that there's not always a direct relationship between cost and quality.

 

I think that is the only point of the testing. For those that like and use EVO.. cost does not always ensure quality. More a "know what you're paying for". Simple as that.

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What about the corn oil? Have been seeing commercials stating that Mazola corn oil has 2X the amount of polyphenol that olive oil has. Implies that it is better than olive oil in lowering cholesterol Is it the taste that keeps many from using it? I have never tried it so don't know. .

Why EVO Beats Corn Oil Hands-Down

Hi Pete & Pat.

 

Mazola has been hyping corn oil for years, but it lacks EVO's much broader and well-researched benefits like reducing blood pressure, inflammation, and actually lowering risk of cancer, heart disease, and stoke.

 

True, corn oil has twice the plant sterols (not the same as polyphenols) of EVO. Sterols help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol, but this doesn’t necessarily lead to better heart health. More important is how much of your LDL exists as small dense particles (more risky than larger, fluffy ones) and how much is oxidized LDL, a much more artery clogging form that’s promoted by 2 factors:

1) Too much deep abdominal fat (located beneath, not above, the stomach muscles and associated with an “apple” body shape); 2) High-temperature cooking (frying, grilling, baking) of meat, poultry, and eggs can oxidize some of their cholesterol which then gets incorporated into your LDL. Do more microwaving, steaming, boiling, poaching.

EVO’s polyphenols reduce LDL oxidation, as do diets rich in antioxidants from fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts, and spices. EVO also helps improve good HDL cholesterol's ability to remove bad LDL cholesterol from blood vessel walls (this is called reverse cholesterol transport).

Another downside of corn oil is that it has too much omega-6 fat compared to omega-3 fat, a ratio of 46:1. The typical American diet averages at least 10:1, but nearly all experts recommend an overall ratio of around 4:1 to 5:1 which helps reduce chronic, low-grade inflammation that promotes chronic diseases like cancer, dementia, depression, heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, arthritis, asthma, and inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s & ulcerative colitis).

Good sources of omega-3 fat are oily fish (like salmon, sardines, herring, arctic char, rainbow trout), canola oil, walnuts, flaxseed and chia seed, but most Americans fall short on these.

 

EVO’s ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is about 13:1 which is superior to corn oil's 46:1, and in countries where EVO is a mainstay of the very healthy Mediterranean-style diet (see http://oldwayspt.org/traditional-diets/mediterranean-diet), people get enough omega-3 fat from walnuts and oily fish, unlike most Americans. Canola oil’s ratio is a very good 2.4:1, but it's much lower in polyphenols than EVO, yet it's still a good second oil to use, especially if you eat little oily fish.

 

See also this article

 

Safe travels!

David

 

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMERS

  • The info presented in this post should not replace professional medical or dietary advice, diagnosis or treatment.
  • Always consult your registered dietitian or physician before making any significant dietary or exercise changes.
  • Don't ignore professional medical advice due to the info presented here.
  • There is no guarantee that these recommendations will work for you.
Edited by David1941

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