People always ask me the same question over and over again:
“Why do you think of oils as dangerous junk?”.
It always amazed me how people can come to the realization that oils (especially olive oil) have some health-promoting properties when in the reality the exact opposite is the case. But I understand that people can only make decisions based on the knowledge that they possess at any given time. And unfortunately, most of our “knowledge” in terms of nutrition is outdated at best and simply wrong at worst. I’m not being judgmental here, as I thought just the same nonsense not even two years ago!
This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the reasons why one should ditch the oil for good, but is rather a starting point for one’s journey into the whole-foods world.
So here are my Top Five reasons why one should avoid any kind of oil.
Oils are the most calorically dense foods on this planet– each gram of oil contains 9kcal. Carbohydrates and Protein contain just 4. When you add two tablespoons to your salad (about 20-30g), that’s 180-270 extra calories that go directly onto your hips. That’s also the same amount of calories as in 1/2 cup premium ice cream, so calorically speaking, you’re putting ice cream on your salad, as Dr. Jeff Novick so famously said.
Oils have virtually no nutrients. It’s got no fibre, minerals, carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, antioxidants and so forth. It’s essentially a highly processed junk food that’s essentially completely devoid of any nutrients.
Even if oils really have some magic properties, they would be present in the whole food form as well- and you would be getting those fibres, minerals, carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, antioxidants etc.
Satiety Index and excess fat
Oils and all other highly processed junk foods are very, very low on the satiety index. That means that consuming oils does not lead to a feeling of satiety. It is not filling.
Therefore, it’s tremendously easy to overeat on oils. And remember: THE FAT YOU EAT IS THE FAT YOU WEAR. Lose the fat, lose the weight. It’s that easy.
The “Mediterranean Diet”
The consumption of oils (especially olive oil) is often justified with a swift reference to the “Mediterranean Study” which supposedly shows that olive oil lowers cholesterol and that we should therefore consume a “Mediterranean Diet”.
Let me be clear here: I study geography and we geographers always like to exactly say what space we’re talking about. So here’s a map of the Mediterranean Sea, taken from OpenStreetMap.org.
The following countries border the Mediterranean Sea (starting with France, Adriatic countries included): France, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Gaza, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Spain and Malta.
In total, 21 countries border the Mediterranean Sea. This makes a term like the “Mediterranean Diet” utterly ridiculous. The diet of Israelis is different from that of Frenchmen. The “Mediterranean Diet” is thus a vague, unscientific term.
All studies which compare a “Mediterranean Diet” (whatever that is) to a “low-fat diet” (whatever that is) suffer from some key flaws:
a) They compare a diet which is high in fat to one which is high in fat. In one study, for instance, total fat consumption in the “low-fat” group chanced from 39% to 37%. That is NOT what most people would look upon as a low-fat diet! It is, indeed, very high in fat. A truly low fat diet consists of 10% fat at most.
b) Some studies assume that because replacing animal fats (butter, lard etc.) with olive oil results in a lower HDL-level, olive oil must have some magic cholesterol-lowering properties. That is just not the case. Of course the HDL-level decreases when you stop consuming dietary cholesterol, but there is no reason to believe that olive oil had anything to do with that.
Now let’s get into the science. The science says that even one drop of oil injures your endothelium. The endothelium is the inner lining of your arteries, which is vital for proper blood flow. Endothelial cells produce a gas know as nitric oxide, which causes our blood vessels to properly widen and inhibits the building of plaques and inflammation. When that one cell layer is destroyed, plaques can form freely and you’ll eventually have a heart attack. As Dr. Esselstyn says:
“The truth be known coronary artery disease is a toothless paper tiger that need never exist and if it does exist it need never progress.”
If you stop to injure your endothelium by stopping the consumption of all oils and all animal products, your endothelium starts to heal. All oil injures endothelial cells.
Oils and high-fat foods lead to diabetes
This experiment sums up pretty well why oils primarily cause diabetes – not carbohydrates!
Do I need to say more?