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Grapeseed Oil Vs. Olive Oil: Nutrition, Health Risks, & Best Uses

Johanna Modak, NTP
Author: Expert reviewer:
February 25, 2023
Johanna Modak, NTP
Written by
Johanna Modak, NTP
Johanna Modak, NTP is writer, educator, mom, and Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. Her work focuses on body literacy and women’s empowerment.
Lauren Torrisi-Gorra, M.S., RD
Expert review by
Lauren Torrisi-Gorra, M.S., RD
Registered Dietitian
Lauren Torrisi-Gorra, MS, RD is a registered dietitian, chef, and writer with a love of science and passion for helping people create life-long healthy habits. She has a bachelor’s degree in Communication and Media Studies from Fordham University, a Grand Diplôme in Culinary Arts from the French Culinary Institute, and master's degree in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics from New York University.
February 25, 2023
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When it comes to healthy cooking, being thoughtful about your choice of oil has the potential to make a major impact. There are tons of choices and each offers a unique flavor and nutrition profile. Grapeseed oil and olive oil are both commonly used in the kitchen, so let’s take a look at how the two compare, and which one's better for various purposes.

Grapeseed oil

Grapeseed oil (not to be confused with rapeseed oil, which is another name for canola oil) is made by pressing the seeds of grapes that are discarded during the winemaking process1. Most often, it is made using a process that involves chemical solvents and high heat, but you can find cold-pressed grapeseed oil for a higher cost. 

It has a mild flavor that makes it a versatile option for cooking, and it's a common ingredient in skin care as well. It has a relatively high smoke point of 420 degrees Fahrenheit.


  • Calories: 120
  • Fat: 13.6 grams
  • Saturated fat: 1.3 grams
  • Monounsaturated fat: 2.2 grams
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 9.5 grams
  • Vitamin E: 3.9 mg


The primary benefit of using grapeseed oil is that it's a source of Vitamin E (or tocopherol). Vitamin E is a fat-soluble nutrient that functions as an antioxidant in the body and protects cells from damage.

Around 90% of men and 96% of women3 in the US don't get enough of this essential nutrient. Each tablespoon of grapeseed oil contains 3.9 mg of vitamin E, roughly one-third of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for adults2.

Grapeseed oil has a high polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) content. While we need to get PUFAs from our diet, they're less stable and more prone to degradation than monounsaturated fat (MUFAs).

Grapeseed oil may offer anticancer and antitumor support, thanks to resveratrol4. The oil also contains carotenoids4, known for supporting vision, and quercetin5, which has cardioprotective properties. 

The oil has a neutral flavor oil that can subtly blend into dressings or baked goods; another potential benefit. Its relatively high smoke point also means it can be used for high-heat cooking and deep frying.

Beyond its uses in the kitchen, grapeseed oil is celebrated for some cosmetic applications. It can be used topically to lock in moisture and it may help ease skin redness6


Grapeseed oil is a source of Vitamin E and omega-6 fatty acids. It has a neutral flavor and relatively high smoke point. It also can be used topically as a moisturizer and astringent.


There is a certain ratio that needs to be maintained in order to keep the body’s inflammatory response in check. Omega-6 fats are pro-inflammatory7 while omega-3 fats are anti-inflammatory8. We need both of them in our diet, but too much omega-6 without the counterbalance of omega-3 is thought to increase inflammation in the body. Most modern diets contain too many omega-6 fatty acids and not enough omega-3 fatty acids.

The ideal omega-6 to omega-3 ratio isn't yet known9, but many health experts say that the unbalanced omega ratio in grapeseed oil (and many other seed oils) is a reason to avoid it.

Another potential concern with grapeseed oil is that it is often chemically refined, which can deplete its nutritional value10. Finding cold-pressed grapeseed oil whenever possible can minimize this disadvantage.


Grapeseed oil is high in omega-6s, which in excess are associated with inflammation. Grapeseed oil is also highly refined, and therefore, has less nutritional value.

Olive oil

If you are a fan of the Mediterranean diet, you will be no stranger to olive oil, its rich flavor, and the host of benefits it brings.

There’s a lot to love about olive oil, and there really are not a ton of downsides to it. It's important to know, however, that not all olive oils are the same. Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is considered a healthier pick than standard/refined olive oil, which is more heavily refined and acidic. 

Experts also emphasize the importance of proper storage for olive oil. Ideally, you should find a brand that uses a dark-colored bottle, since light can cause the oil to degrade. Store it out of direct sunlight, perhaps in a cabinet, and at room temperature. While it may be most convenient to keep olive oil next to your stovetop, you'll ideally want to keep it away from heat sources, which can cause it to oxidize and go bad slightly faster.


One tablespoon of olive oil11 contains the following:

  • Calories: 124 
  • Fat: 14 g
  • Saturated fat: 1.9 grams
  • Monounsaturated fat: 10.2 grams
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.5 grams
  • Vitamin E: 1.94 mg


Several decades ago, the common understanding was that fat was bad for heart health. Well, now we know that it is much more nuanced than that. Each fat source is made up of some unique combination of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats, and each of these has different effects on heart health.

You'll notice that olive oil is much higher in monounsaturated fat than grapeseed oil. This type of fat has been shown to be cardioprotective.12 It helps to lower LDL13 (“bad” cholesterol) while increasing HDL14 (“good” cholesterol). 

Olive oil is also rich in anti-inflammatory polyphenols15, and it's been shown to promote gut health16. All in all, it's considered one of the healthiest oils you can eat, if not the healthiest.


Olive oil is considered one of the healthiest cooking oils because of its healthy fatty acid profile, anti-inflammatory compounds, perks for gut health, and more.


Olive oil does not pose many health risks, and it's actually been associated with lower mortality17 in many studies.

The one thing to be careful of when consuming olive oil is the type. EVOO has the most benefits, though it is slightly more expensive.

Uma Naidoo, M.D., Harvard-trained nutritional psychiatrist and author of This is Your Brain on Food also notes that like any fat source, it's fairly high in calories so consuming too much of it could lead to weight gain. Everything in moderation.


There aren't many risks of olive oil—though, like all sources of fat, it is a bit high in calories.

What’s the difference?

So, now we know a bit about grapeseed oil and a bit about olive oil. What are the main differences?


Nutrient profile

Olive oil is primarily made up of monounsaturated fats—the “good fat” that can help reduce bad cholesterol and protect heart health.

On the other hand, grapeseed oil is mainly polyunsaturated fat. Our understanding of the benefits of polyunsaturated fats is a bit hazier. Some research suggests that how we respond to polyunsaturated fats is determined by our genetics18. More research is needed to fully understand how polyunsaturated fats impact our heart health, but in general, olive oil has a much healthier fatty acid profile than grapeseed oil.

The other distinction between olive and grapeseed oil is the vitamin E content, with grapeseed oil coming out on top. However, Naidoo points out that you can get vitamin E from plenty of other food sources, so this isn't a reason to choose grapeseed oil over olive oil.


Smoke point

Grapeseed oil can be heated to higher temperatures without burning and emitting potentially harmful compounds19, making it the better choice for frying. Its smoke point is about 420 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas olive oil’s smoke point falls between 350 degrees and 420 degrees, depending on the type.



The price of each oil depends largely on the quality of the particular kind you buy. But, if you compare cold-pressed grapeseed with extra virgin olive oil, olive oil will come out the more budget-friendly option. On the other hand, if you’re going for expeller pressed grapeseed oil, you’ll likely find you spend less than you would on the same size bottle of EVOO. 



Grapeseed has a more neutral flavor, which may be beneficial for some applications. However, sometimes the richness of olive oil is exactly what you need to bring a dish to life. Olive oil has enough flavor to be its own star as a dip for bread or a drizzle over vegetables. 


Shelf life

Cold-pressed oils are best enjoyed within a limited time frame—you don’t want to keep them around for years on end. EVOO is best used within 18-24 months (of harvest, not purchase). The same goes for grapeseed oil, so in this way the two are comparable. 

Which is best for...


Olive oil—particularly extra virgin olive oil—is your best choice for day-to-day cooking. It's more nutritious than grapeseed oil, although it does have a more noticeable flavor.


Grapeseed may be slightly preferable from a flavor standpoint, but, again olive oil is favorable in terms of health outcomes. 


For frying, you’ll want to choose grapeseed oil (or another oil that can withstand high heat) because it has a higher smoke point. But we recommend limiting your fried food consumption.


Grapeseed oil comes out a bit ahead in the skincare realm because it is slightly easier to spread, has less of a food smell, and may help smoothe and tighten skin6. It's high in nourishing vitamin E and is anti-inflammatory6 for skin. Grapeseed oil is also non-comedogenic, meaning it’s less likely to clog pores and cause breakouts.

However, olive oil certainly has its perks in this department too. It's less commonly found in cosmetic products, but it can easily be incorporated into a home skincare routine. 

Hair care:

Both. Since grapeseed is a bit lighter, it will be easier to work with as you seal in moisture and add shine, but olive oil can definitely be used as a hydrating treatment too.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is grapeseed oil healthier than olive oil?

No. Olive oil has more research-backed health benefits and a better nutrition profile. But if you eat it in moderation, grapeseed oil is fine to keep in your kitchen—or at least your toiletry closet!

Is it better to cook with olive oil than grapeseed oil?

Yep, up to a certain heat. If you’re going to exceed 410 degrees Fahrenheit, consider switching to grapeseed, or better yet, choosing a healthier oil with a high smoke point, like avocado oil.

The takeaway.

Grapeseed oil and olive oil are both popular oils, but olive oil is a much healthier choice for day-to-day cooking. However, grapeseed oil is worth a try if your skincare or hair care could use a boost.

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