Monday, May 20, 2013

Would the Real Olive Oil Please Stand Up?

Celiac disease causes a 12 times increased risk of autoimmune disease ( Dr. Farrell, NEJM, 2002). This can cause a considerable amount of pain and suffering. But there is hope in reducing many of the symptoms by using diet. I especially like the GAPS diet, sometimes called the "Real Gluten Free diet" or S.C.D.. It promotes a reduction in inflammation on many fronts: healing the bowel and increasing nutrient absorption, especially vitamin D, reducing bad organisms in the bowel,  bringing omega 6 (O6) to omega 3 (O3) ratios more in line with the best ratio of O6 to O3 being  2-4 to 1 ( for anti-inflammation).
When thinking of healthy oils, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is part of the solution. So I look for high quality EVOO to supplement my use of butter and coconut oil.
I have been concerned with fake olive oil for some time. When one doesn't get pure olive oil, one doesn't get the healing benefits one thought one was buying. 
This is an excerpt of the best article I've read on EVOO and the problem of fake olive oil. It is written by Eileen over at Phoenix Helix, Healing Autoimmune Disease through Diet ..and more!

When Labels Lie

When you start eating for your health, you begin to watch labels closely. But what happens when the labels aren't telling the truth?Olive oil fraud has become so rampant that an entire book has been written about it. Why has it become such a problem? Because extra virgin olive oil is big business. Touted for its health benefits in both mainstream America and the healing diets featured on this website, US consumers can’t get enough of it. And therein lies the problem. There isn't enough to go around, yet suppliers don’t want to miss a potential profit. Although standards exist for what “extra virgin” is supposed to mean, there are no teeth behind those standards, so producers can slip other oil into the bottle, slap on the coveted label, and sell fake oil quite easily to unsuspecting consumers.

First, it might help to know what extra virgin is supposed to mean. This is the highest quality and most expensive olive oil classification. The oil is mechanically pressed from the olives, without any heat or chemistry applied. In order to claim this label, the oil is supposed to meet both a chemistry standard and a sensory one, established by the International Olive Council and the USDA. The oil should have zero defects and greater than zero fruitiness. However, neither the IOC nor the USDA enforce these standards, so basically, it’s an honor game. Oh, the world would be a wonderful place if everyone was honorable.

When a dishonorable company doesn't have enough oil to meet this standard and wants to commit a little fraud, what do they do? The most common deception is to mix it with a lower standard olive oil, but some producers take it even further and mix in a variety of neutral-tasting refined oils, such as soy and canola. If you're on a healing diet, you're meant to avoid both of those oils, so it’s upsetting to realize you might be consuming them unknowingly.

Testing for Truth in Labeling:

In September 2012, Consumer Reports published its results from testing 23 olive oils from Italy, Spain and California, and only 9 passed the test as actually being extra virgin olive oil, as claimed on the label. Two that failed? Bertolli and Goya. Two that passed? McEvoy Ranch and Trader Joe’s California Estate.

As it turns out, the brand I like to use in one of the 9 brands that passed Consumer Reports testing...Kirkland Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil. But I've recently discovered I can buy organic EVOO from     a single estate from Greece from the owner, right here where I live. It has a heavenly taste. 

Read Eileen's entire article for some marvelous tips on how to find pure EVOO, the full list of the brands that passed the Consumer Reports testing, and she debunks some common myths about EVOO. 

To Your Health
Dr. Barbara