“El Bisturí” looks at another level of the food pyramid in Abecedario de la Nutrición, led by nutritionist Laura González; oils and fats-
Laura Gónzalez began by clarifying the following: oil and fat are not the same thing.
Differences of oil and fat
The term fat refers to these substances when they’re solid and tend to be saturated. On the other hand, oils are those fats that are liquid at room temperature and that are normally unsaturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.
In the case of fats of animal origin, for example, these contain mainly saturated fatty acids.
On the other hand, the main food source of monounsaturated fatty acids is olive oil and among polyunsaturated oils, the main source are seed oils, nuts and fish.
Relevance of olive oil in the Mediterranean diet
The nutritional properties of olive oil, especially extra virgin olive oil, make this oil a key player in the Mediterranean diet.
Its consumption is recommended because of its extraordinary composition of healthy fats, in particular monounsaturated fatty acids as well as antioxidants such as vitamin E or polyphenols.
Oleic acid is a healthy fat that along with vitamin E and other types of antioxidants, provide olive oil with protective properties against cardiovascular problems.
In fact, the Predimed study is the first clinical study that has proven that the Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra virgin olive oil and nuts can reduce up to 30% the risk of severe cardiovascular disease in people who are at high cardiovascular risk.
Are all olive oils the same?
No. Olive oil is obtained by applying pressure to olives, but the extraction method used will determine all the characteristics of the oil: acidity, presence of nutritive substances, taste, smell, color, etc.
Laura González classified the different types of olive oil that exist.
Types of olive oil: from higher to lower quality
Extra virgin olive oil: it has the highest nutritional and organoleptic quality; in other words, the one with the best taste, smell and color.
Virgin olive oil: it’s produced following the same process as extra virgin olive oil, although its quality is lower because it has a level of acidity of maximum two degrees.
Olive oil: it’s a mixture of small amounts of virgin olive oil and other quantities of refined olive oil.
Residual olive oil: it’s obtained from the residue that remains after the pressing of olives and is the one with the worst quality, so it must be refined to reduce its acidity.
Olive oil or sunflower oil: which one is better?
González stated that both oils are healthy, however, she noted that the content of oleic acid and antioxidants make olive oil the most recommended choice.
However, sunflower oil, along with olive oil and nuts is one of the main sources of vitamin E and Omega 6 in diet.
Risks of saturated fats: butter and lard
Butter and lard are animal fats that have a high percentage of saturated fatty acids.
These fatty acids are directly related to an increase in the level of blood cholesterol and its prolonged consumption increases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
Therefore, Laura González recommends moderate consumption of these foods, as long as they’re part of a balanced diet.
Date: June 18th, 2019
By: Claudia Böesser | EFE
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