People do some crazy stuff in this world in the name of “health.” One of the crazier things, in my opinion, is to take a perfectly healthy vegetable, and drowning it in a fattening, heart-busting, pure fat (and yes, I used to do this too). And no, I’m not talking about Hidden Valley ranch dressing, I’m talking about olive oil. The madness needs to stop.
What’s that you say? You don’t buy the low quality bulk oil but only the finest cold-pressed extra extra virgin oil? Unfortunately, you’re just throwing a whole lot of money away on junk food. That’s right, olive oil is a junk food, whether it’s highly processed olive oil or expensive artisan olive oil. Sorry to break the news to you. As Jeff Novick says, olive oil is the white sugar of the fat world.
There’s been a lot of press recently touting the health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet, and many people point to the inclusion of olive oil as a “healthy fat” as the key to the diet’s effectiveness. While the Mediterranean Diet is by far and away better than the Standard American Diet, you shouldn’t be including olive oil in your diet. Here’s why.
- All oils are 100% fat and therefore 9 calories per gram. That’s 120 calories per tablespoon and a whopping 4,000 calories per pound. Oil is literally the most calorically-dense food on the planet. Yes, even more than a Hardee’s Monster Thickburger. Simply stop using olive oil (and nearly all other oil for that matter) and you’ll be saving yourself hundreds of calories per day and thousands per day.
- We all know omega 3 fats are good to include in your diet, and we should be shooting for an omega 3 to 6 ratio of 4:1. What’s olive oil’s omega ratio? 14:1. Fail.
- Studies show that having more than 7% saturated fat in our diet significantly raises our risk for heart disease. Olive oil has 14% saturated fat. Am I blowing you away yet?
- But wait….there’s more. Dr. Robert A Vogel led a study on different kinds of fats present in the Mediterranean diet and discovered that people consuming olive oil had constricted blood flow by 31%, which damages the endothelial cells and triggers plaque build-up. Turns out olive oil isn’t the “hearth healthy” fat we all thought it was.
- Last but not least, olive oil contributes very little, if anything, in the way of micronutrients – vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals – only a bit of vitamin E , vitamin K, and a few bits of minerals here and there. Not worth it for all the gut-busting, artery-clogging trouble.
So what are we to do? Well, it’s actually quite simple. Get your fats from the whole food sources, like avocados, seeds, and nuts. If you need to sauté your vegetables, use a tiny amount of cooking spray (make sure its designed for high temperature cooking), or even better, use some low sodium vegetable broth. You won’t miss the olive oil, trust me.