What is the difference between virgin and extra-virgin olive oil?
The oil that is extracted from olives without any further processing or refining is called virgin because it is pure. Extra-virgin olive oil is the highest-grade olive oil you can buy. It has superior taste, color, and aroma, and it contains less than 1 percent oleic acid. “Light” or “mild” olive oil is usually very refined, and the only thing light about it is taste and color — it has the same caloric and fat content as other oils. Whether it’s virgin or not, olive oil remains a good alternative for folks watching their fat intake. A tablespoon of butter contains 12 grams of fat, 8 of which are saturated fat — the really bad stuff. It also contains 33 milligrams of cholesterol. By contrast, olive oil contains no cholesterol and only 2 grams of saturated fat. The lesson here? Use olive oil instead of butter whenever you can.