Lets talk about oil, the biggest culprit in our industrialized food chain, since some folks still believe that sautéing in olive oil is a healthful way to cook.
Sometimes I think this widespread misunderstanding is actually fueled by lazy journalism, which seems to be the biggest source of misinformation about food for the average American.
Did you know that two tablespoons of olive oil has more than three times the saturated fat of a 4-ounce chicken breast?
Olive oil is a mono-unsaturated fat, and the omega-3 to omega-6 ratio is so far off in one tablespoon, it actually negates any potential benefit. To boot, that one tablespoon also contains 120 calories and 14% saturated fat. To get any benefit of oil, you’d have to drink an entire glass full and that, my friends, is plain ridiculous.
Yes, the human body does need healthful fatty acids for brain development, mental stability, and cell regeneration, but the fatty acids must come from naturally occurring sources such as nuts, seeds, or avocados, not refined oils.
Vegetable oils, including sunflower, safflower, and yes, olive oil, are typically refined under heat and pressure. This process of partial hydrogenation is what changes the molecular structure of the oil, damages the omega-3 fats, and produces eruct acid and trans-fats during this refining process.
Sometimes we refer to these as the free radicals, and they’re absolutely devastating to our health. There have been countless epidemiological studies over the last 20 years suggesting that coronary heart disease can be prevented, arrested, and even reversed by maintaining total serum cholesterol levels below 150mg/dL.
Translation? When we hear the term processed foods, we automatically think of spam, hot dogs, or the cheese sold in individually wrapped cellophane paper. People don’t often think of oil as a processed food, but it is.
So what’s the solution?
Eat food that sustains you. Pure and simple. For a viable alternative, try sautéing your vegetables in Braggs, vegetable broth, or water instead. Your heart will thank you. Save the tablespoon of olive oil for your cold salad, and make sure it’s no more than a tablespoon of good quality, first-pressed/cold-pressed oil that is fresh. I absolutely CRINGE when I see people cooking and baking with a recipe that calls for a cup of oil! Cringe is a nice word, freak the hell out is more like it. And no, coconut oil is not any better.
There is much more robust scientific information on this topic. The most in depth answer to the questions about oil is provided in Chapter 10 of Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, where he talks about saturated fat damaging the endothelial lining of the arteries. Other credible sources that discuss this topic include The Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine, Dr. McDougall, Colin Campbell, and even Jeff Novick in this short video clip (below).
There is nothing more precious than human life. People who have never lost a loved one to disease do not comprehend that as readily as people who have.
It is the simple adage, hindsight is 20/20. I wish this information would have somehow been shared with me long ago.