Olive Oil Gets USFDA Endorsement

~ October 2004 No.185 ~

If you are Italian, Greek or Spanish you don’t have to be encouraged to eat olive oil. For cooking, on salads, or even as a dip for bread, Mediterraneans have been using olive oil for centuries. The best and most expensive olive oil is much less processed than other vegetable oils. Most olive oil is obtained by simply pressing olives – no solvents, no heating. The result is an oil with a distinctive taste, rich colour and packed with vitamin E and plant sterols.

olive oil

Olive oil has had a long tradition of being good for health. There is scientific evidence that indicates that olive oil may reduce colon cancer and reduce the incidence of gallstones. Olive oil is an integral part of the “Mediterranean Diet” that has been shown to be associated with longevity – due in part to its protective effect against cancer and coronary heart disease. It is the ever increasing evidence that consumption of olive oil can affect heart disease by lowering low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and raising high density lipoprotein (HDL) that has prompted the United Stated Food and Drug Administration to give olive oil a qualified health claim. This is only the third time that an entire food, rather than a food ingredient, has received USFDA endorsement.

Cholesterol is a lipid (fat) and is not soluble in water or blood. To be transported throughout the body cholesterol must be bound to a carrier called a lipoprotein. Lipoproteins come in various sizes and weights, and the weight of the lipoprotein –cholesterol complex determines where and how the cholesterol will be used in the body. Cholesterol is an important building block for cell walls, but too much circulating in the blood can lead to problems.

The cholesterol in low-density lipoproteins or LDL is often referred to as ‘bad’ cholesterol since a high level of LDL in the blood has been shown to be related to such conditions as atherosclerosis. Conversely the cholesterol in high-density lipoproteins of HDL is called ‘good’ cholesterol because HDL attaches to and carries away other lipids including LDL.

USFDA Qualified Health Claim – Olive Oil
“Limited and not conclusive scientific evidence suggests that eating about 2 tablespoons (23 grams) of olive oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease due to the monounsaturated fat in olive oil. To achieve this possible benefit, olive oil is to replace a similar amount of saturated fat and not increase the total number of calories you eat in a day. One serving of this product [Name of food] contains [x] grams of olive oil.”
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February 09 2016