If you look in Pubmed, you will find several articles, which show that substituting saturated fats(e.g. butter, lard) with mono and polyunsaturated fats in one’s diet results in reduced risk for cardiovascular disease. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5577766/
Looking at the largest diet and health study co-sponsored by the NIH(National Institute of Health) which compared fat from plant sources(including oils) with animal sources of fat revealed increased risk for pancreatic cancer from animal based fats but not from plant based fats. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2724851/
And, if you look on the web, it’s not difficult to find article touting the benefits of olive oil. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/extra-virgin-olive-oil#section4
So, case closed, plant vegetable oils, especially olive oil is healthy for us. Not so fast!
When in doubt, let’s look at the basics. What is oil? Oil is FAT. Whether this fat comes from animal foods or plant foods, it has the same number of calories, 9 calories per gram. One pound of olive oil, similar to 1 pound of fat from essentially any plant or animal source is approximately 4000 calories.
Oil is the most calorie dense food that we can eat. Look at the statistics on obesity in America. https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html
Furthermore, oil whether it is derived from olives or other vegetables, is a processed food. This means all the fiber, protein, most of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals, and majority of healthful phenols and sterols are removed or reduced in the processing. http://www.plantplate.com/Guide/Detail?GuideID=1009
If you don’t click on any reference, on this article, please click on this one. This table compares the nutrition value of olive oil to lettuce. https://www.pritikin.com/eperspective/0907/olive_chart.html
If you still have questions, whether oil is healthy for you, check out this article. https://www.pritikin.com/your-health/healthy-living/eating-right/1103-whats-wrong-with-olive-oil.html.
In summary, though fats derived from vegetable sources may be healthier than fats derived from animal sources, and oil derived from olives may be healthier than other vegetable based oils, no oil including olive oil is a health food. As Dr. T Colin Campbell discusses at length in his book “The China Study”, eating whole foods in their natural and unprocessed form is the healthiest. So eat the olives, and avoid olive oil, enjoy coconuts, and save the coconut oil for your skin and hair.
Stay tuned for our next blog, which discusses in more detail healthier substitutes for oil.