We talk to Dr Martyn Williamson, one of New Zealand’s leading lifestyle physicians, about the use of regular oil in our diet and a begging question that’s often asked.
“Firstly, There is no evidence for a healthy oil that I’m aware of and especially olive oil, which through its association with the Mediterranean diet has gained traction as being a ‘healthy oil’.“
“..Sure there are different types of fat within vegetable oils that, compared to say animal fats, pose less of a health risk because of their saturated fat content. The simple fact is regular consumption of any oil does not promote health, no matter what the source.
Extra virgin olive oil stands out from the crowd because of the phytonutrients it contains, which are lacking in other oils, otherwise oil is simply concentrated calories. Phytonutrients are healthy for endothelial cells, however, you can get these from eating heaps of different leafy greens, a rainbow wide range of fruits and vegetables. Fats and oils impact the endothelial cells which are responsible for keeping the blood vessels healthy. They also contribute to cholesterol which gets deposited in the blood vessels affecting circulation all around the body, in particular, heart, brain, kidneys, and the vessels men need to sustain an erection.
Why counteract the benefits of phytonutrients by consuming oil? The next time you look at yummy multi-coloured salad of veg mix, lick your lips and picture those endothelial cells glowing with health as you munch away. You can even enjoy a whole olive! It isn’t necessary for cooking; it isn’t necessary for health. We can gain all the fats we need from eating whole foods.
Remember our brains are evolutionary wired to seek out fat, sugar and salt. The former two have plenty of calories, great if you’re a hunter gatherer on the look-out for precious energy providing food to get you through hard times. That’s why processed foods frequently have high content of these nutrients. It attracts us to them and over time our taste buds adjust and we come to expect this, and more normally constructed whole foods can taste bland in contrast. However, once you’ve dispensed with these foods completely, it’s amazing how quickly you will adjust and really come to appreciate the wonderful and varied tastes in fruit and vegetables. My experience is that it can be as quick as two to three weeks to really taste the difference.”
“When cooking with vegetable oil, it is broken down into compounds known to be carcinogenic.”
“Yes, there may be plenty of people who live well into their 90s consuming regular oil, but why even bother taking the risk? Why not add years to your life and life to your years; to love the food that loves you back for a lifetime? The truth about oil is that no oil is good for you. Enjoy the comforting confidence that only comes from genuine understanding.”
For your health & wellness
Dr Martyn Williamson