This is one of the most questioned issues about a plant-based diet. We’ve heard that oils are considered healthful foods, especially olive oil, canola, and coconut oils. We are aware that the Mediterranean diet especially considers oil as a healthy source of nutrients; however, olive oil is not a “health” food. Neither is coconut, grapeseed, flaxseed, or any other oil you may have heard about.
All vegetable-based oils, which pretty much follow the same model as processed sugar, are pressed from plants. All the nutrients, including protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and water, have been stripped away.
Dr. Robert Vogel at the University of Maryland reported in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology that olive oil was found to reduce blood flow in arteries by 31% after consumption. This is significant in relation to blood clots and heart attacks, as well as angina. It is suggested that people be aware of any relationship between consuming olive oil and an angina attack. Also, it was found that olive oil “causes significant damage” to the endothelial cells that line the inside of arteries. This damage causes inflammation which leads to atherosclerosis.
The issue of oil, however, does not refer only to olive oil. All vegetable-based oils, which pretty much follow the same model as processed sugar, are pressed from plants. All the nutrients, including protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and water, have been stripped away. Oil is nothing but fat. Oil has more calories per gram than any other food. A tablespoon contains about 14 grams of fat.
Oil is nothing but fat. Oil has more calories per gram than any other food. A tablespoon contains about 14 grams of fat.
Processed vegetable oils, dairy products, and animal meats (beef, pork, chicken, fish, etc.) injure the layer of our blood vessels known as the endothelial cells. This cell layer is a one cell thick lining of all of our blood vessels. Endothelial cells manufacture a protective molecule of gas called nitric oxide, which protects our blood vessels, and keeps our blood flowing smoothly. Nitric oxide is the strongest dilator (widener) of our blood vessels. It inhibits the formation of blockages (plaques) and inhibits inflammation.
By injuring our endothelial cells and reducing the amount of endothelial cells left to produce nitric oxide, the standard western diet also helps plaque blockages build up and grow. The cholesterol, cells, and debris can cause a whole cascade of events that lead to inflammation, heart disease, plaque formation, and heart attacks.
Processed vegetable oils, dairy products, and animal meats (beef, pork, chicken, fish, etc.) injure the layer of our blood vessels known as the endothelial cells. This cell layer is a one cell thick lining of all of our blood vessels.
Foods rich in monounsaturated fats like olive oil may be better than foods full of saturated and trans fats, but just because something is “better” does not mean it is good. Replacing some or all of the butter in a diet with vegetable oil will lower its cholesterol numbers. It is better but is not good in either the short or long run. “Better” cigarettes (those with less nicotine and toxic chemicals like benzo(a)pyrenes) still promote lung cancer. “Better” monounsaturated fats like olive oil still lead to diseased arteries.
A rule of thumb is that highly concentrated fat is not healthy, whether it comes from a plant or another source. All oils have a negative impact on blood vessels and promote heart disease.1 Furthermore, they may also lead to increased bleeding through thinning of the blood, negative effects on lung function and oxygen exchange, suppression of certain immune system functions, and increased risk of cancer.2 Not to mention that excess calories from fat get stored as fat, no matter what type of fat calories are consumed.
1. D. C. E. Nordström, C. Friman, Y. T. Konttinen, V. E. A. Honkanen, Y. Nasu, and E. Antila, “Alpha-Linolenic Acid in the Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis. A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled and Randomized Study: Flaxseed vs. Safflower Seed,” Rheumatology International 14 (1995): 231–34; M. A. Allman, M. M. Pena, and D. Pang, “Supplementation with Flaxseed Oil Versus Sunflowerseed Oil in Healthy Young Men Consuming a Low-Fat Diet: Effects on Platelet Composition and Function,” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 49 (March 1995): 169–78; M. R. Namazi, “The Beneficial and Detrimental Effects of Linoleic Acid on Autoimmune Disorders,” Autoimmunity 37 (February 2004): 73–75; P. Purasiri, A. McKechnie, S. D. Heys, and O. Eremin, “Modulation in Vitro of Human Natural Cytotoxicity, Lymphocyte Proliferative Response to Mitogens and Cytokine Production by Essential Fatty Acids,” Immunology 92 (October 1997): 166–72; D. Hazlett, “Dietary Fats Appear to Reduce Lung Function,” Journal of the American Medical Association 223, no. 1 (1973): 15–16; Clifford W. Welsch, “Relationship Between Dietary Fat and Experimental Mammary Tumorigenesis: A Review and Critique,” Cancer Research 52 (April 1992): 2040S–48S; Patrizia Griffini, Olav Fehres, Lars Klieverik, et al., “Dietary Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Promote Colon Carcinoma Metastasis in Rat Liver,” Cancer Research 58 (August 1, 1998): 3312–19; Lars Klieverik, Olav Fehres, Patrizia Griffini, Cornelis J. F. Van Noorden, and Wilma M. Frederiks, “Promotion of Colon Cancer Metastases in Rat Liver by Fish Oil Diet Is Not Due to Reduced Stroma Formation,” Clinical & Experimental Metastasis 18 (September 2000): 371–77; Kenneth K. Karroll, “Experimental Evidence of Dietary Factors and Hormone-Dependent Cancers,” Cancer Research 35 (November 1975): 3374–83; J. H. Weisburger, “Worldwide Prevention of Cancer and Other Chronic Diseases Based on Knowledge of Mechanisms,” Mutation Research 402 (June 18, 1998): 331–37; Leonard A. Sauer, David E. Blask, and Robert T. Bauchey, “Dietary Factors and Growth and Metabolism in Experimental Tumors,” Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry 18 (October 2007): 637–49; Clement Ip, “Review of the Effects of Trans Fatty Acids, Oleic Acid, N-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids, and Conjugated Linoleic Acid on Mammary Carcinogenesis in Animals,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 66 (December 1997): 1523S–29S.
2. N. F. Chu, D. Spiegelman, J. Yu, N. Rifai, G. S. Hotamisligil, and E. B. Rimm, “Plasma Leptin Concentrations and Four-Year Weight Gain Among US Men,” International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders 25 (March 2001): 346–53; N. F. Chu, M. J. Stampfer, D. Spiegelman, N. Rifai, G. S. Hotamisligil, and E. B. Rimm, “Dietary and Lifestyle Factors in Relation to Plasma Leptin Concentrations Among Normal Weight and Overweight Men,” International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders 25 (January 2001): 106–14; Motonaka Kuroda, Masanori Ohta, Tatsuya Okufuji, et al., “Frequency of Soup Intake and Amount of Dietary Fiber Intake Are Inversely Associated with Plasma Leptin Concentrations in Japanese Adults,” Appetite 54, no. 3 (June 2010): 538–43.
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