Ask the Expert

Olive Oil & Unsaturated Fat

Can you explain what an unsaturated fat is? I know EVOO is a healthier fat because it mainly consists of unsaturated fats which are better for cholesterol levels.

We know that the fatty acids and antioxidants in EVOO contribute to its powerful health benefits, but what exactly are fatty acids? Fat is made up of 3 fatty acids joined together. Fatty acids are long chains of carbon and hydrogen atoms that are either straight (saturated) or bent (mono and poly-unsaturated). The main type of fat found in EVOO is monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) and they are considered a healthy dietary fat. The figure shows that EVOO has the most MUFAs (~73%) among commonly used cooking oil.

Created by Rachelle Bross PhD RD