The Truth About Oil


If you walk into a health food store, you'll find many different oils which are all marketed as health products. Oils, however, are very low in nutritional value. To make plant-based oils, plants are stripped of their fiber, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants; they are purely fat. According to Dr. Esselstyn, all oils injure the endothelium, which is the innermost lining of the artery. This injury is proven to be the gateway to vascular disease.

Two concepts to keep in mind when questioning whether oil is really health promoting are nutrient density and calorie density. Nutrient density is the nutrient content per pound of food, and calorie density is the calories per pound of food. Your body will feel satisfied only once you've consume a certain amount of nutrients. Your stomach also has stretch receptors which signal your brain to tell you when you're full, meaning you have to eat a certain volume of food to feel satisfied as well. The majority of volume in our food comes from fiber which is found only in whole plant foods.

For example:
You could eat 120 calories of olive oil (1 tbsp), which is a very low volume of food, and get:
0g fiber
0 iron
0 calcium
0 vitamin a
0 vitamin c
0 protein
13.5 grams fat

Or, you could eat 120 caloires of whole, plant-based food (1 cup kale, 1/2 cup of carrots, 1/2 cup of cucumbers, 1/4 cup of quinoa, and one small tomato), which is a higher volume of food that would fill you up, and get:
24% fiber
1.6mg iron
77.9mg calcium
15,374.2 IU vitamin A
38.2mg vitamin C
4.7g protein
1.5 g fat

From this example, you can clearly see how, calories held constant, you get a greater amount of nutrients and get to consume a larger volume of food when you choose whole plant-based foods.
*See the photo at the top of this blog for a visual of this comparison.

It's important to note that fats are essential though. We need them for our bodies to function optimally. You also might be thinking, "but I use oil in salad dressings all the time!" You can easily create delicious salad dressings and get all that fat you need by using avocados or nut and seed butters instead of oils. Unlike oils, nut and seed butters are simply blended. They still contain all of their fiber and nutrients.

For example, tahini is less calorie dense and more nutrient dense than sesame oil:
120 calories (1 tbsp) of sesame oil:

0g fiber
0% iron
0% calcium
13.6g fat
0g protein

120 calories (1 1/3 tbsp) of tahini:
1.9g fiber
1.8mg iron
86.3mg calcium
10.9g fat
3.4g protein

You can also dress your salads with fruit blends, vinegar, and citrus juice instead. If you usually cook with oil, try using vegetable broth or a bit of water instead.

Do you eat oil-free? Let me know what your favourite oil-free recipes are in the comments below!

Lots of love,