Light olive oil is a refined oil, produced using heat after the first pressing of virgin oil. Rather than a deep green, light olive oil has a golden yellow hue. It keeps longer on the shelf and has a higher smoke point than other types of olive oil, but also has fewer nutrients due to the heat pressing.
This is the type of olive oil where the name may spark some confusion. “Light” doesn’t refer to this olive oil being lower in calories. Rather, it is a marketing term used to describe the oil’s lighter flavor.
Light olive oil is a refined oil that has a neutral taste and a higher smoke point. It can be used for baking, sautéing, grilling, and frying.
Light olive oil contains the same number of calories as other olive oils; the “light” refers to flavor. After the first press for extra-virgin oil, European producers squeeze the olives again and sell this flavor-stripped, highly processed oil to American consumers who want the health benefits of olive oil in recipes—usually baking—where its characteristic strong flavor might be unwelcome.