Is Olive Oil Paleo Friendly?

Posted by Hannah Broaddus
Cooking with Olive oil

If you are producing a product that is paleo (or eating a paleo diet yourself) you'll want to know exactly which oils you can use that are acceptable on a paleo diet.

Today, we'll review which oils you should focus on and which you should stay away from. As we work primarily with food manufacturers, we will focus primarily on companies producing paleo food products.


What To Look For In A Paleo Cooking Oil

The focus for paleo diets, when it comes to cooking oils, is that they should be both:

  • Unrefined
  • Cold pressed or expeller pressed

This is because the oil should be as close to the "original source" that our ancestors would have been eating.

This means that as you're looking for particular types of oil, it will limit both the general kinds of oil that you can use and the grades within that.


Is Olive Oil Paleo?

Yes, some types of olive oil are paleo -- but others are not. Let me explain.



Extra Virgin Olive Oil IS Paleo

Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the highest grade of olive oil that is the first cold press or really, more like the first cold spin, because the oil is now produced in a centrifuge rather than a press for higher quality reasons.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil is really just fresh squeezed olive juice. There's no refining or further processing that is done, rather than sometimes a filtering process that takes out the larger particles of olives. Similar to Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Virgin Olive Oil is produced using the same methods.

This means that it meets the qualifications above for paleo oils: it's both refined and cold pressed.

The other good news is that it has a lot of health benefits, including being full of polyphenols (which have cancer fighting properties), sterols and squalene. It also is high in monounsaturated fats, which are the good-for-you fats.

This means that it can also provide the following health benefits:

  • Maintenance of normal blood pressure
  • Upper respitory tract health
  • Affects certain proteins in the brain that are involved in memory, learning and thinking
  • Helps keep blood sugar under control
  • Potentially treat or reduce the symptoms of and/or prevent type 2 diabetes
  • Protects blood lipids from oxidative damage
  • Protects from chronic diseases
  • Improves the arterial function in elderly individuals
  • Reduces the risk of metebolic syndrom (a combination of obesity, high blood pressure, abnormal cholestrol and high blood sugar)


Pure Olive Oil, Light Olive Oil & Olive Pomace Oil Are NOT Paleo

Refined Olive Oil, Pure Olive Oil (which is made up of both refined olive oil and virgin olive oil blended together), and Olive Pomace Oil do not qualify as a paleo-friendly oil.

All three of these oils are refined, which means that they undergo a high heat process which reduces the amount of color and flavor in the oil.

In a retail setting, this means that anything titled simply "Olive Oil", including Pure Olive Oil, Light Olive Oil, Extra-Light or Light Tasting Olive Oil, and Pomace are all not paleo-friendly.

Oils Not Paleo Friendly

For manufacturers, this means that you'll need to use a higher grade of olive oil -- either Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Organic Extra Virgin Olive Ol -- in your paleo-certified products.


The Short Answer

The short answer is yes, Extra Virgin Olive Oil (both organic and regular) and Virgin Olive Oil is paleo. But the other grades of olive oil are not.


Curious What Other Oils Are Paleo?

Wondering what other natural oils you can eat on a paleo diet (or use in your paleo product)?

We recommend that you read this article to give you some more direction: Which Natural Oils Are Paleo Friendly?

Topics: Industry Trends



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