olive oil and rancidity

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created September 28, 2011 at 7:39 PM

I have a question regarding olive oil and rancidity(as stated above...). Clear bottled oil(extra virgin) that is touted as 'special' as "individually numbered". I am wondering if it is so special being in a clear bottle. Would anyone out there omit olive oil from the diet(I have included it for the polyphenols, vitamin E and omega-3 fats). Should I continue to use a tablespoon per day? How can one tell when an oil is rancid(eg. by taste; if so what taste)? Are we consumers confusing the "normal" taste of oilve oil with the rancid variety? What opinions do the paleos have on the "OLIVE OIL" debate?

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5 Answers



on September 28, 2011
at 08:26 PM

I wouldn't exclude it from your diet. At the same time, I wouldn't consume it every day, as in use it when it makes sense as a condiment to your food. No need to give yourself requirements.

I buy domestic olive oil in a dark bottle to increase the time I can use. In terms of rancidity, you should be able to tell by taste (no longer "fruity" should be obvious). Long story short, olive oil is good, don't cook w/ it, use it more for dressings, store it in a cool dark place, and you should be fine for a few months.


on September 28, 2011
at 09:19 PM

I use olive oil some, not every day. I have a very sensitive nose, and when an oil is rancid, I know right away(rancid oils always smell and taste nasty). I have never had olive oil go rancid though. It is much more stable than nut oils tend to be. I would be wary of purchasing olive oil in a clear bottle though. Mine are always brown or green, and stored in my pantry. As far as everyday fats go, I use butter, ghee, bacon fat, lard and coconut oil.



on September 28, 2011
at 11:23 PM

I was never a huge fan of the stuff, and included it in my diet because it was "healthier" than the alternatives. So worries about rancidity in the more affordable versions led me to give it up without so much as a second thought. Having discovered the joy of animal fat and coconut oil, I now no longer feel a need to include it in my meals anyway. Our last bottle ran out a few months ago, and if I happen to need some salad dressing, I just melt coconut oil and mix that with vinegar and mustard.



on September 28, 2011
at 11:08 PM

I use olive oil every day for years, the one that is made using the stone only with the strongest smell possible. It doesn't get easily rancid. I rarely cook with it, but use it almost exclusively on salads and cheeze. This is probably one of the best oils available. MUFAs have literaly no down sides.


on September 28, 2011
at 09:05 PM

Mark Sisson has a good post about the problem with oxidation. With links to studies.

For me it answered the questions about Omega 6 and oxidation.

"The bottom line? If you’re making a tomato-and-meat-based sauce to go over spaghetti squash and you want the traditional Italian flavor, don’t worry about a bit of extra virgin olive oil going rancid due to some heat exposure. Give it some EVOO love. You and it will survive the journey intact."


I always check the labels: most very expensive olive oils have high n 6 content (about 15 %). The cheapest stuff of EVOO often has smallest n6 content (about 6-8 %).

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