Vegancouragement - You Can Be Vegan

Why No Oil?

Learn Why Oil Is Not Actually Healthy

Why No Oil?

Why no oil? Refined oils, including olive oil and coconut oil, are not considered to be health-promoting by the doctors and nutrition experts who advocate a whole foods plant-based diet.

Vegetable oils are concentrated liquid fats that have been extracted from whole plant foods. Olives, sunflower seeds and corn are all examples of whole foods; the fat contained in them are part of a whole package that also includes fiber, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. When oil is extracted, it leaves behind the vast majority of these healthful nutrients, and what remains is a very dense source of fat and calories with very few health benefits.

Whole plant foods are much more satiating due to their fiber and protein content. In other words, they make a person feel full and satisfied with a meal. The oil, on the other hand, is a liquid with a higher concentration of fat and calories, and zero protein and fiber. This combination makes it very easy to consume in excess, which can lead to weight gain, or it can stall weightloss.

What about olive oil? It is promoted as good for heart health. But science proves that all kinds of oils, including olive oil, contribute to arterial damage and the progression of heart disease. Popularization of the Mediterranean diet has led many to believe that olive oil is the answer to heart health, when in fact, higher consumption of fruits, vegetables and legumes in Mediterranean regions is far more likely to account for decreased heart disease mortality. Olive oil has a significant amount of saturated fat, the kind we should avoid for healthy cardiovascular function.

But oil has vitamin E, and that should be good for skin and hair, or is it? Many factors contribute to a healthy-looking appearance, including sleep, hydration, and nutrition. Though vitamin E is important for skin and hair repair, it is just one of a handful of vitamins and minerals required. Eating a wide variety of whole plant foods, particularly fruits and vegetables, is most important. Vitamin E is readily available in whole foods such as sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, swiss chard, and butternut squash. These whole foods are more healthful sources of vitamin E.

Are vegetable oils good sources of healthy fats? No, due to their processed, refined state. The necessary amounts of healthy fats can easily be obtained from whole food sources, such as nuts, seeds, avocados and olives, which additionally contain a wide array of other nutrients that are also beneficial. Even without the regular addition of these higher fat plant foods, it is easy to obtain enough healthy fat in a whole food plant-based diet, as long as caloric intake is sufficient. Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and other plant-based experts advise patients with heart disease to avoid the higher-fat plant foods, in order to prevent or reverse the progression of arterial damage. Learn about this in great detail in the book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.

For practical tips on cooking without oil, check out the following guides:

How to Saute, Grill and "Fry" Without Oil
How to Bake Without Oil
Guide to Oil-Free Dressings

For more detailed information on the science behind this subject, check out the following resources:

When Friends Ask: Why Do You Avoid Adding Vegetable Oils? by Dr John Mcdougall

The Impact of "Just a Little Oil" by Jeff Novick, MS, RD

Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease (The Book) by Caldwell B. Esselstyn