June 5, 2010

Nutrition Basics: Fat

Fat is an abnormally large part of the American diet.  Most Americans eat a diet that is 35 - 40% fat.  Imagine your dinner plate and then picture that more than 1/3 of your plate is just pure unadulterated jiggly fat.  Wonder why 2/3 of America is overweight?  That's one big reason.

According to Dr. Dean Ornish, the human body needs a diet of a minimum of 5% fat to function effectively.  So, let's look at the fat content of a few vegetables.

Eggplant is about 8% fat by calories
Broccoli and Chard are about 10% fat by calories
Spinach is around 14% fat by calories

 So, what does this tell us?  Mother Nature gave us all the fat our bodies need in food's natural packages.  We don't need extra virgin olive oil dumped all over our foods because it is a "good fat" or because we "need" oil.

You don't "need" any processed oils in your diet for your body to function effectively.  

Mother Nature provides all the fat you need.

Sadly, in cooking, oil is ALWAYS the first thing people reach for to start cooking.  We use it to fry garlic and onions, we pan fry with it, we deep fry with it, we coat baking sheets with it, we add it to every recipe we make.  All that fat adds up.

The human body is extremely efficient at turning fat in your diet into fat on your butt.  You want to lose weight in a hurry?  Cut the added fat out of your diet.

EVOO may taste good but all the nutrients have been removed from oil.  The only thing in there is fat that's going straight to your butt and your arteries.

So, what do we do instead?

1.  Water frying
2.  Instead of olive oil, throw a few olives in your dish or a few walnuts or a slice of avocado.  Whole foods still have all their nutrients and are a much healthier choice than a bottle of oil.

Eat food the way Mother Nature intended.  Leave the EVOO at the store.


  1. Where does coconut oil fit in here? It's the healthiest fat for cooking because, from the little I've read on it, the body can still digest it. I'd be curious to hear your opinion...

  2. Great question. Coconut oil fits in with the other processed oils. All of the nutritional value has been removed and what is left is pure fat, most of which is saturated which will raise cholesterol levels. Any processed oil is just not nutritionally necessary. If you like coconut, better to cook with the coconut water and coconut meat. I hope that helps!