Who hasn’t heard that olive oil is healthy for us? That is why it might come to a shock to hear that olive oil is actually NOT GOOD FOR YOU! Let me explain why:
1) Olive 0il is 100% fat. 1 tablespoon of the stuff is over 100 calories. If you toss a couple tablespoons of olive oil with your vegetables or salad, you are eating a little bit of vegetables with your fat. You don’t need olive oil for cooking, any liquid will do (try water, wine or beer)! Olive oil is also 14% saturated fat. If you think of pure sugar, most people would consider that a junk food because it is 100% sugar. We all know eating 100% sugar is bad for us, so why would eating 100% fat be good for us? It is not. All oils should be avoided for this reason alone. If we are pouring oil over all our food, it is hard to keep our diets low in fat…therefor low in calories.
2) It contains polyphenols, so it must be healthy! Wrong. Most of the anti-cancer studies done with olive oil do focus on the polyphenols (special plant chemicals that fight off cancer causing free radicals) and anti-inflamatory effects in the oil. It is true olive oil does contain some polyphenols, but the truth is that all plants contain polyphenols and LESS calories. If you rely on olive oil to get your polyphenols you will have to eat a lot of calories to get a decent amount.
3) People who live in the Mediterranean and follow the Mediterranean diet eat olive oil and are healthy, Right??? People who lived in this area did consume olive oil, but they also consumed tons of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, fish and walked 9 miles a day. They just happened to use olive oil too. Do you think the olive oil was the reason they were so healthy? No, it was the other aspects of their lifestyle, especially the antioxidant effects of the fruits and vegetables. Now, people who live in the Mediterranean are going through a nutritional transition, becoming more westernized, and not eating the fruits, vegetables, whole grains and not moving as much. The result? Obesity and heart disease. Olive oil wasn’t the answer. If you pour olive oil on a already horrible standard American diet, you have only made a worse diet.
4) Increased inflammation. New studies are showing that olive oil actually can cause decreased blood flow, inflammation and damage to the inner linings of the arteries. Just because it is primarily a monounsaturated fat doesn’t mean it is healthy for you. Fat is essential for human life. Never think that you can go on a NO fat diet. The only fat our bodies need are linolenic and linoleic fatty acids (omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids). From these two fatty acids, all other fats are made in the body. American’s get way too much saturated, trans fats and omega 6 fatty acids compared to omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3s help to decrease inflammation in the body. Olive oil has less than 1% linolenic acid (omega 3), and has a 10:1 ratio of omega 6 to omega 3, a 5:1 ratio is ideal.
Choose fats in the forms of whole foods such as nuts and seeds instead of oils. Choose foods with high amounts of omega 3′s such as ground flax seed. Do your best to avoid all oils! They only add excess calories and really are not beneficial to you.