What Is The Difference Between Olive Oil And Grapeseed Oil

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Grapeseed Oil vs. Olive Oil

Grapeseed Oil vs. Olive Oil

You're probably aware that olive oil is both delicious and healthy. It has a wide range of flavors depending on the olives used and when they were harvested, ranging from robust, vegetal, and peppery to smooth, buttery, and subtly fruity, and it's been linked to a slew of health benefits. Furthermore, it is suitable for almost any cooking method.

However, when it comes to other cooking oils, selecting one that is both healthy and appropriate for your recipe can be downright perplexing. Especially since some cooking oils that appear to be healthy (such as vegetable oil) are anything but.

Grapeseed oil is an oil that gets a lot of attention in the healthy eating and cooking world. Grapeseed oil has a relatively neutral taste and a high smoke point, which some claim makes it suitable for a wide range of cooking applications. But is grapeseed oil truly deserving of a place in your pantry? And, while it appears to be healthy, how does it compare to olive oil?

Here, we compare the nutrition, health benefits, taste, and culinary uses of olive oil and grapeseed oil so you can decide which one to keep in your pantry.

How are grapeseed and olive oils made?
How is olive oil produced?

Extra virgin olive oil and virgin olive oil are made in their most basic forms by picking and washing the olives, grinding and mixing them into a uniform paste, separating separating the solids (or pomace) from the liquid oil, and then filtering it Because the oil is never exposed to chemicals or high heat, its flavors, aromas, and potent bioactive compounds such as polyphenols are preserved.

Regular (or pure) olive oil and light olive oil are slightly more processed, containing a mix of virgin and refined olive oil. To remove defects in flavor, aroma, and color, the refined component has been treated with heat and various chemical agents.

What is the manufacturing process for grapeseed oil?

Because grapeseed oil is a byproduct of the wine industry, it is fairly sustainable, which is one of its best qualities. To make it, leftover grape seeds from wine production can be treated in two ways:

The majority of grapeseed oil is produced in an industrial process that involves crushing the seeds and then extracting the oil from the seeds using high heat and a variety of chemical solvents. The oil is then separated from the solvent (although trace amounts may remain) and refined further, including deodorizing and bleaching. This not only removes most of the flavor, but it can also destroy a variety of healthy micronutrients.

Alternatively, expeller-pressed grapeseed oil accounts for a smaller proportion of the grapeseed oil market. A screw press (or expeller press) is a machine that presses seeds through a cavity and extracts oil through pressure and friction. While no heat is added during the process, friction generates some heat (up to about 210 F). Because expeller-pressed grapeseed oil requires more seeds, it is also slightly more expensive—though it is still relatively inexpensive.

Olive oil vs. grapeseed oil nutritional comparison

When you first look at the nutrition labels for olive oil and grapeseed oil, they may appear to be very similar. The main distinctions are the fat types and the presence of micronutrients such as polyphenols and other antioxidants.

Nutritional value of olive oil

Olive oil is well known for its high concentration of monounsaturated fats, which have been linked to lower inflammation and better heart health. The fat content of olive oil may be up to 83 percent oleic acid, a type of monounsaturated fat with anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties that has been shown to lower "bad" LDL cholesterol.

Micronutrients and bioactive plant compounds found in high-quality olive oil include polyphenol antioxidants (oleuropein, hydroxytyrosol, and oleocanthal), vitamin E, phytosterols, squalene, chlorophyll, and carotenoids, which have been linked to reduced inflammation and lower cholesterol. These aren't listed on the nutrition label, but they're abundant in EVOO and present in lesser amounts in other types of olive oil.

The healthy fat composition of olive oil, combined with its numerous antioxidants and polyphenol plant compounds, is responsible for its impressive health benefits, which include lowering cardiovascular disease, preventing LDL cholesterol oxidation, lowering blood pressure, supporting brain health, reducing inflammation, and more.

One tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil contains the following nutrients, according to the USDA:

  • 119 calories
  • 13.5 g total fat
  • 1.9 g Saturated fat
  • 1.4 g polyunsaturated fat
  • 10 g monounsaturated fat
  • 0 mg cholesterol
  • 0 g total carbohydrate
  • 0 g protein
  • 1.9 mg vitamin E (13 percent daily value)

Nutritional value of grapeseed oil

Grapeseed oil has similar amounts of calories, total fat, and other major nutrients that appear on nutrition labels to olive oil, with the exception of slightly higher vitamin E levels. Grapeseed oil, on the other hand, is composed of 70% polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) and has a much higher ratio of PUFAs to monounsaturated fats (MUFAs). PUFAs are made up of two types of fatty acids: omega-3 and omega-6, but the type found in grapeseed oil is almost entirely omega-6.

While omega-6 fats aren't inherently "bad" (they're needed by the body), nutritionists believe that eating more omega-6s than omega-3s may cause inflammation because omega-6s are more susceptible to oxidation. Because modern diets already contain high levels of PUFA omega-6 fats (intake has nearly tripled in the United States in the last 100 years with the advent of processed foods), using grapeseed oil in the majority of your home cooking will only further destabilize that ratio.

Grapeseed oil is also deficient in micronutrients. 

People frequently claim that it contains proanthocyanidins, a type of antioxidant. However, while grape seed extract (found in supplements) contains this compound, grapeseed oil does not, according to research.

Some studies have found that grapeseed oil may lower the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein and improve insulin resistance when compared to sunflower oil, and that grapeseed oil reduces platelet aggregation (the tendency of blood to clot); however, grapeseed oil lacks the robust body of research that olive oil does.

According to the USDA, one tablespoon of grapeseed oil contains the following:

  • Calories: 120
  • 13.6 g total fat
  • 1.31 g saturated fat
  • 2.19 g monounsaturated fat
  • 9.51 g polyunsaturated fatsCholesterol: 0 g
  • 0 g total carbohydrate
  • 0 g protein
  • 3.9 milligrams of vitamin E (19 percent daily value)

What is the difference in flavor?

The flavor difference between high-quality olive oil and grapeseed oil is quite noticeable.

Extra virgin olive oil made from green, unripe olives picked early in the growing season has more intense, vibrant flavors described as pungent, grassy, herbaceous, or peppery; ripe olives picked Later in the season, the olive oil becomes smoother and butterier. Cooking with EVOO imparts a subtle olive oil flavor to your recipes, but pouring it over your finished dish after it has cooled releases even more of the oil's wonderful aromas. Regular, pure, or light olive oils have a more neutral, subtle olive flavor, which makes them ideal for recipes where you don't want to taste the oil, such ascertain cakes or cookies (like this chocolate olive oil cake.)

Because of its higher levels of processing, most grapeseed oil is almost completely flavorless. If you look for a less processed, expeller-pressed grapeseed oil, you'll get mild fruity, nutty, and grassy notes.

Which is preferable for cooking?

In general, because of its high micronutrient content, olive oil is your best bet for all types of cooking, including frying, baking, and sautéing, where you're working with relatively high temperatures.

We understand that this may come as a surprise to you. Olive oil, on the other hand, can withstand high temperatures, contrary to popular belief, because it is primarily made up of heat-stable monounsaturated fats.

But what about the high smoke point of grapeseed oil, you ask? The temperature at which an oil stops shimmering and begins to emit a greyish-blue smoke is known as the smoke point, but it does not always correspond to how stable a cooking oil is. Despite having a relatively high smoke point (4200 F), grapeseed oil's high concentration of polyunsaturated fats makes it more prone to oxidation when heated. Furthermore, the smoke points of extra virgin olive oil (350-4100 F) and regular olive oil (4700 F) are both fairly high.

Grapeseed oil, on the other hand, can be consumed in moderation. It can be used in many of the same ways as olive oil (dressings, baked goods, sateing, light frying, and so on), but it may be especially useful if you're looking for a very neutral oil that won't affect the flavor of your final product. As a result, it may be a good choice for baking, searing meats and other animal proteins, and making stir-fries with a variety of other ingredients whose flavors can shine.

What is more effective for skin care?

The one area where grapeseed oil truly outperforms olive oil is in topical skin application. While olive oil can be used in your skincare routine, it is not recommended.

Because olive oil is heavier and has larger molecules, it is more likely to clog your pores, so anyone suffering from acne should avoid it. Furthermore, some studies have found that the high concentration of oleic acid in olive oil can be harmful to your skin's natural protective barrier and cause irritation, especially if you have rosacea, dermatitis, or eczema.

Grapeseed oil, on the other hand, is a lightweight oil that quickly penetrates the skin, leaving it smooth, soft, and supple. It's also non-comedogenic, which means it's less likely to clog pores. This is due to the high levels of linoleic acid (a type of omega-6) in grapeseed oil, which can help prevent the natural oils on your skin from becoming too thick and sticky.

Last Word

When comparing olive oil to grapeseed oil for culinary purposes, olive oil is the clear winner in both the flavor and health categories. While grapeseed oil appears to be healthy due to its low levels of saturated fats, it is quite high in omega-6 polyunsaturated fats, which can promote inflammation (if consumed in excess) and oxidize more quickly when cooked at high temperatures. When looking for a neutral cooking oil, grapeseed oil can still be used in moderation, and it definitely deserves a spot in your skincare routine over olive oil.

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