In Plants We Trust.

The Truth About Oil

There’s No Such Thing As

“Heart-Healthy Oil.”

Let’s tackle the myth about the consumption of olive oil as “heart healthy.” This is a triumph of marketing over science.

Let’s take a closer look at olive oil so we can understand why it isn’t the miracle health product you’ve been led to believe. 

When you squeeze the oil out of olives to make olive oil, you end up with a concentrated source of calories that is 100 percent fat and devoid of almost all vitamins and minerals. Just a single tablespoon of olive oil contains about 120 empty calories. Did you know that it takes more than 1,300 olives to produce a single 32-ounce bottle of olive oil? Meanwhile, one innocent little tablespoon of olive oil is the fat equivalent of about 45 olives (and a black hole of nutritional nothingness).

Some olive-oil lovers out there like to say, “Hey, wait a minute, Rip. Olive oil has vitamins E and K. How can you say olive oil is entirely empty calories?” Okay, you got me. They’re right. It’s true, olive oil does have trace amounts of those vitamins… but you’d have to guzzle 10 tablespoons of it to meet your daily requirement for both. You’d also have to guzzle half a pound of olive oil—about 2,000 calories worth—in order to reach your daily recommended intake of omega-3 fatty acids. I can’t think of a better way to stop your heart than by quaffing down a half pound of oil!

And don’t believe those “heart-healthy” labels you see on olive oil containers. While olive oil might technically be better than, say, corn and canola oil, that doesn’t make it healthy. That’s like Philip Morris saying their cigarettes are healthy because they have filters. In fact, olive oil is the opposite of heart healthy. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that olive oil significantly hindered the ability of people’s arteries to dilate. In other words, oil restricts blood flow to and from the heart.

“But what about coconut oil?”

Boy, do I get this one a lot. For some reason, these days coconut oil is being touted as a wonder cure for everything from Alzheimer’s to heart disease to obesity, allegedly due to its antimicrobial abilities. Let me repeat: All oil is junk. Like all oils, coconut oil is stripped of nearly all nutrients. Instead of the healthy fiber you’d receive from eating the meat of a coconut, you get globs of saturated fat, which act the exact same way as the inflammation-promoting saturated fat in olive oil and all animal products.

Coconut oil is an artery-busting 92 percent saturated fat—more than any other food on the planet! Gram for gram, that’s more saturated fat than butter, lard, or beef fat.

For more information, you can read more in The Engine 2 Seven-Day Rescue Diet by Rip Esselstyn.

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