Extra virgin olive oil is high in monounsaturated "healthy" fats and, depending on the oil, may be rich in antioxidant polyphenols. Clinical studies show it can help lower cholesterol and control insulin levels in the body, reduce blood pressure, help with weight loss, and may reduce the risk of certain forms of cancer. In recent years, however, there have been reports that many extra virgin olive oils are "fake" or adulterated with cheaper and potentially less healthy oils.
Which are the best extra virgin olive oils? To find out, ConsumerLab.com selected and purchased ten popular extra virgin olive oils sold in the U.S. It tested them in the laboratory for purity, freshness, anti-oxidant polyphenols, and monounsaturated oleic acid. In addition, each product was evaluated for flavor and aroma by a trained, expert olive oil taster.
Although all ten products passed testing by chemical standards for extra virgin olive oil, sensory analysis raised concerns about the quality of 3 of the products, identifying defects not permitted in "extra virgin" olive oil. In addition, some of the products contained less than 70% oleic acid -- a level above which the FDA permits oils to claim to "reduce the risk of coronary heart disease." Among products which passed all tests, ConsumerLab.com found several to offer exceptional quality and value — making them CL's Top Picks.
You must be a member to get the full test results for 10 extra virgin olive oils along with ConsumerLab.com's recommendations and quality ratings. In this comprehensive review, you'll discover:
- Which extra virgin olive oils passed tests and which did not
- ConsumerLab.com's Top Picks, representing the best quality extra virgin olive oils at the best price
- Anti-oxidant polyphenol levels and oleic acid levels in extra virgin olive oils
- The evidence behind the health benefits of olive oil
- How to buy, use, store, and cook with extra virgin olive oil
- Cautions when using extra virgin olive oil along with prescription medications