Not a week goes by that I don’t hear someone say to me, “My diet is completely vegan, but I am still a few pounds overweight.”
Last year, I wrote an article on some of the reasons why we should avoid consuming oil, even the so-called ‘heart-healthy’ olive oil as they call it, which splashed lot of controversy within plant-based eating circles.
It seems that most people can’t fully accept this concept, because we’ve been told incorrectly over so many decades that some vegetable oils are good for health, when in reality, nothing could be further from the truth.
We shouldn’t even need lots of studies in order to prove something this obvious, right? As almost every professional working in the health field freely admits that consuming whole foods is infinitely healthier than eating processed foods or worse, refined foods; which is the case of all oils.
This new research further demonstrates that olive oil, even when considered to be the “healthiest” of oils; have the same adverse effect on arterial function as other refined oils and animal fats. (1)
Worse than processed foods, oils are at best, refined foods of the worst kind as they contain 100% fat, all of the fibre and nutrients have been removed. Refined, isolated fats and oils should never be considered health foods.
Here’s a quick summary of why you should avoid all vegetable oils (as well as other refined fats) whenever possible.
We’ll focus on olive oil because that’s the biggest source of confusion, but these points apply to most other oils as well (yes, including coconut oil).
1. Olive oil is not heart-healthy.
It has be claimed that foods rich in monounsaturated fats, like olive oil, are healthier than foods full of saturated and trans fats, but just because something is “healthier” does not mean it’s good for you.
A ‘purer’ heroin or a ‘healthier’ cigarette (one with less nicotine and poisonous chemicals) still leads to an array of deadly diseases.
A five years study in African green monkeys found when saturated fat was replaced with monounsaturated fat (olive oil), the latter provided no protection from atherosclerosis and other heart diseases. (2)
2. Oil is a refined product and the most concentrated source of calories available anywhere.
Oils supply concentrated calories – or as we call it: empty calories or calories without nutrition. One tablespoon of oil contains 120 calories of pure fat with almost no other nutrients. Refined sugar provides only 50 calories per tablespoon.
When the oils are removed from their natural environments—for example, from the seeds of corn, soybeans, safflowers, or flax, or the fruit of an olive, avocado, or coconut—they should no longer be considered food; they are medication at best, causing powerful pharmacological effects—some beneficial, but mostly harmful.
3. Excess dietary fat in the bloodstream creates negative insulating effects.
Cooked or raw, increased fat in the bloodstream results in increased demand for insulin. If you combine a high fat diet with a high sugar intake, you have a recipe for disaster that will lead to many health complications. (3)
4. Many oils become carcinogenic when heated.
Oils release many toxic compounds when heated, including acrolein, hydrocarbons, nitrosamines, and benzopyrene, which is one of the most virulent carcinogens known to man.
If you must cook, you’d be better off using water. Steaming, poaching, boiling, or pressure cooking are the healthier cooking options, while eating raw remains the healthiest way of eating.
5. Olive oil reduces blood flow
A study done by Dr. Robert Vogel at the University of Maryland and reported in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that olive oil reduces blood flow in arteries by 31 percent after consumption.
This is significant in relation to blood clots and heart attacks, as well as angina.
It’s suggested that people be aware of any relationship between consuming olive oil and an angina attack. Also, it was found that olive oil injures the inner lining of the arteries (called endothelium). This damage causes inflammation, which leads to atherosclerosis.
It’s worth noting that canola oil didn’t cause this problem (however, all vegetable oils are unhealthy to some degree). (4)
6. Oil in processed foods
Vegetable oil doesn’t always have to be in liquid form to cause damage. It also turns up in thicker, glue-like, hydrogenated form mixed into thousands of processed foods we consume daily.
Food companies began using hydrogenated oil to help increase shelf life and save costs. Hydrogenation is a process in which a liquid unsaturated fat is turned into a solid fat by adding hydrogen. During this manufactured partially hydrogenated processing, a type of fat called trans-fat is made.
While small amounts of trans-fats are found naturally in some foods, most trans-fats in the diet come from these processed hydrogenated fats found in products such as:
Packaged snack foods
Baked foods, especially premade versions
Coffee creamers, both dairy and non-dairy
Vegan and raw vegan packaged snacks
These products are made with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils or partially hydrogenated fats, aka., ‘trans fats,’ and are, not surprisingly, horrendous for our health – hence it is always been recommended eating whole foods as an alternative.
7. Don’t swallow the Mediterranean diet myth
How many times have you heard of the supposed benefits of the Mediterranean diet? Or that if you eat like the Greeks, you will be forever healthy and live a long life?
Studies on this diet have only shown that olive oils lower LDL cholesterol when it replaces animal fats, like butter. (5)
But to add olive oil (and other vegetable oils) to an otherwise healthy diet actually increases LDL levels, causing potential havoc to our health.
Almost every study conducted on the Mediterranean diet found the protective components to be the staple of fruits and vegetables, and NOT the olive oil,
What about essential fats?
There’s nothing wrong with fat; we’d die without it. But it’s critical that we eat it in the right amounts and in the right form.
All whole foods contain essential fats to a certain degree, and in the perfect omega 3/6 ratio. Additional fats should come from whole foods such as: fresh nuts, seeds, avocados, or young coconut flesh. Those foods, eaten sparingly, provide some useful nutrition and are not automatically detrimental to your health.
Using such integral sources of fat in salad dressings and other dishes with their full complement of macro and micronutrients is, by far, the preferable method to using refined oils.
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