Is there such a thing as “light” olive oil? To answer this question, you have to start with defining which type of “light” you are referring to.
Olive oil described as “light” does not mean that it is a low fat oil. What makes it a “light” oil is actually the particular grade of oil: “Extra Light Olive Oil”, “Light-Tasting Olive Oil”, “Extra Lite Tasting Olive Oil”. All of those terms refer to the type of oil inside, not that it is low fat.
What Is The Real Definition Of Light Olive Oil?
Light olive oil is actually a grade of oil olive which is refined oil. This oil starts out as Virgin Olive Oil, and undergoes the refining process. The term “light” really refers to the color and the flavor of the final oil: light color and light in flavor. These attributes, in fact, are where the name come from.
You will find bulk industry the same product (“Extra Light Olive Oil”, “Light-Tasting Olive Oil” or “Extra Lite Tasting Olive Oil”) referred to as “Refined Olive Oil” instead of “light”. The term “light” has typically stayed a marketing term in the retail industry, but hasn’t crossed into the bulk world: most bulk suppliers still live by the grade names as defined by the USDA.
What is Refined Olive Oil?
Refined Olive Oil is a light tasting, mild, and more stable oil. The process of refining removes many of the health benefits that is offered in Extra Virgin Oil (which can be debated).
Refined oil is ideal for baking and high heat cooking or applications that require little color and taste.
Other Refined Oils
Pure Olive Oil and Olive Pomace Oil are also considered to be refined oils. Here is what makes them classified as refined oils:
Pure Olive Oil
Pure olive oil is blend of refined oil and extra virgin or virgin oil. This blending process makes this oil milder tasting and have a lighter color than extra virgin. However, it is not as light (either in taste or color) as refined.
Olive Pomace Oil
Olive pomace oil is considered a refined oil because of how it is processed (it is solvent extracted and then later refined). Olive pomace oil is ideal for high-heat cooking, and frying. It is also a popular oil choice for soap makers because it is a light oil and it has a low price point.
In conclusion, the word “light” does not mean that the oil itself is low calorie or low fat. In fact, all liquid oils typically have about 120 calories per tablespoon, no matter the type of oil.
The word “light” really is referring to the color, flavor, and grade of the refined olive oil.
If you are a company that is looking for a light tasting oil or an oil that is light in color, these would be just a few oils you could ask your supplier for.