Earlier this month I posted my Oil Free White Bean Hummus recipe and I’ve had a few people ask about my choice to limit my oil consumption. You might have even heard of people who eat “Whole Food Plant Based No Oil” (WFPBNO) and are curious about that choice. So I’ve decided to explain the reason why I am conscientious of my oil consumption.
I want to start by saying that I’m a total nerd when it comes to nutritional research. I read articles and books, listen to podcasts and watch interviews of reputable researchers and doctors. From all that I’ve read and seen, I try to make sound decisions about the food I eat.
Limiting oil consumption is one of those decisions.
Do I occasionally eat foods that aren’t the healthiest (like oil or processed food)? Of course. But I try to be cognizant of the impact these foods may have on my body.
So let’s get into it. Why do I choose to limit oil in my diet?
Oil is Extremely Calorie Dense
Oil is extremely calorie dense. It is strictly fat which has 9 calories per gram. This is compared to 4 calories per gram in protein and carbohydrates. It’s also not filling at all, so it’s easy to eat an excessive amount of oil.
One of the biggest issues we have in Western society is obesity. What is the root cause of obesity? In the simplest terms, eating more calories than you burn. Adding just 2 tablespoons of oil per day to your diet adds 240 calories that won’t leave you feeling full or satisfied.
Try eating 240 calories worth of broccoli or potatoes. You’ll feel quite full and satisfied!
Oil is a Heavily Processed Food
Oil is also highly processed. Let’s think about olive oil for example. Olives are taken and stripped of all their fiber and micronutrients and all that’s left is the oil. All of the good things about olives are gone. The oil is digested differently than when you eat the entire olive because the fiber is gone.
Oil is NOT Heart Healthy
Oil, including olive oil, is not actually heart healthy! There are quite a few studies that suggest eating oil can be harmful to the cardiovascular system. High fat foods, even in small amounts can be damaging to the arteries. They impair the arteries ability to dilate, restricting blood flow.
Coconut oil is no better. It’s one of the rare plant sources of saturated fat. Plenty of research has shown that higher intakes of saturated fat can result in elevated LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Elevated LDL cholesterol levels are a significant indicator of cardiovascular disease, the number 1 killed of men and women in America.
So what do I suggest?
Okay, so at this point you might be thinking I get it but what can I do to replace oil in my diet??
First of all, I suggest using it sparingly, if at all. If you have to use olive oil, use it like you might use a condiment. Instead of using it on a salad, try a squeeze of lemon juice or a nice balsamic vinegar sans oil.
If you’re used to cooking with oil, I highly suggest using water or vegetable broth in place of the oil to sauté your veggies. The vegetable stock adds lots of flavor without all of the extra calories.
I also suggest taking your nutrition into your own hands! Do some research about food and the impacts on health. See my favorites below.