DO I BUY THE EXPENSIVE OR THE CHEAP OLIVE OIL?? This article gives some more info. Basically, cholesterol, despite all the hype of the statins, does not, all by itself, cause problems. It is not until it gets oxidatively damaged that it becomes an oxysterol and can begin to damage arteries. So, less oxysterols = better vascular health.
In this study the researchers looked at levels of phenols (class of protective compounds in olive oil) in those who used virgin olive oil vs refined olive oil and found that the VOO users had higher blood levels of phenols and less oxysterols. Important thing here–most of the phenols are destroyed by heat!! Bottom line–expensive olive oil for dips, dressings, sauces, cheap stuff for cooking because the protective compounds in the expensive stuff will just get destroyed.