Advantages of olive oil compared to sunflower oil

Supply and demand are the only price regulation mechanism for Olive Oil.

The heat and the lack of rain are causing the markets not to be optimistic regarding the production of the next campaign.

Consequently, olive oil has seen its price affected and many consumers find refuge in sunflower oil.

But, what are the main differences between olive oil and sunflower oil? Does sunflower oil pose a health risk?

Both are vegetable fats with a fat percentage greater than 99% and both are not harmful to health: they are rich in vitamin E and lipids.

Sunflower oil is extracted by pressing sunflower seeds. Using organic solvents (hexane) an oil is obtained which is then refined. In sunflower oil, polyunsaturated fatty acids (mainly linoleic) are more abundant.

Olive oil is extracted from the olive by mechanical procedures. Monounsaturated fatty acids (especially oleic) predominate in olive oil. Olive oil has multiple advantages over sunflower oil:

  • Greater composition of polyphenols. Polyphenols help fight free radicals due to their antioxidant function, which translates into protection against degenerative diseases, cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s…
  • Reduces the incidence of cardiovascular complications (myocardial infarction and stroke).
  • Positive effects on obesity and diabetes.
  • Anti-inflammatory action.
  • Regulatory action of fats and cholesterol.
  • Helps prevent and has positive effects on cancer.

Main disadvantages of Sunflower Oil:


Sunflower oil is an oil rich in highly unstable polyunsaturated fatty acids. It is a type of fatty acid that oxidizes, alters, and becomes rancid very easily.

The presence of polyunsaturated fatty acids in oils causes substances that are dangerous to health to form when they are used for cooking, and especially when very high temperatures are reached and/or reused.

Such substances are 4-hydroxynonenal, crotonaldehyde, acrylamide, and acrolein or malonaldehyde. These are toxic elements that cause digestive problems and are related to pathologies such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.


As we have seen, consuming sunflower oil cold and in moderation could even be beneficial for health. In this sense, olive oil also wins the game and not only because of the “health” component, but also because of its organoleptic characteristics. Its smell and taste make cold consumption of sunflower oil pointless.

In conclusion, sunflower oil does not pose a health risk, as long as it is not reused and it is not overheated. Olive oil is the most beneficial, presenting multiple advantages over sunflower oil.