August 29, 2010

What's wrong with extra virgin olive oil?

This was a question posed by a reader on a previous post and I thought the question was so important that it bears its own post.  So here goes...

Extra virgin olive oil falls into the category of processed oils.  It is pure fat, including saturated fat and any nutrients that it once had while in an olive have been removed.  So, there is no nutritional value in it.

But isn't fat necessary in your diet?

Absolutely.  Fat is necessary.  According to Dr. Dean Ornish, the body requires about 5% of your dietary calories to come from fat for effective body functioning.

So why not throw on some olive oil?

Because the average American has about 35-40% of their calories coming from fat.  Wow!  That's 35% more than your body requires.  In addition, your body is very efficient at turning fat in your diet into stored fat on your butt.  Your body does not see fat as food!  Your body sees fat as emergency store and puts it away for a time when food is scarce.  Wonder why America is obese?  Check the fat content on packaged foods.

On any label, take the Calories from Fat and divide it by the total Calories.  On this label, Calories from Fat are 120.  Total Calories are 280.  120/280 = .43

That means this food is 43% fat by calories.  In short, put it back.  Go find the food without a nutrition label.  Where's that?  The produce section!

Let's look at a few vegetables and fruits:

Broccoli - 10% fat by calories
Kale - 11% fat by calories
Spinach - 14% fat by calories
Tomato - 7% fat by calories  
Apple - 3% fat by calories
Whole wheat - 4% fat by calories

You can see that Mother Nature provides plenty of fat for our bodies when the foods are in their natural state.  By cutting out processed oils and eating foods the way nature intended (raw or cooked), we provide our bodies the nutrient dense foods they want.

Most people who eat a whole-foods, plant-based diet with no added oils end up with a fat intake somewhere between 10 - 20%, which is great for your body and your health.  If your fat intake is above that, the average person will begin to see health issues creep in slowly.

So, if you want to include "healthy" fats in your diet, leave the bottles of oil behind.  Instead, add a few natural foods that contain oils like walnuts or flax seeds or avocados or olives.  A little planning goes a long way and you'll never have to buy a crazy expensive bottle of EVOO again.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Soleil,

    Thank you so much for the excellent blog as well as the excellent article here on the real truths of oil, namely evoo.