With the health food industry telling us that oils are healthy and a vital source of essential fatty acids (EFAs) for your body, it is easy to fall under their spell of marketing hype.
However, the actual truth about the consumption of oil and its effect on human health is very different.
Are cold pressed oils healthy?
In the world of food oils, cold-pressed is seen as the elite when it comes to both taste and overall quality. Many oils, like flax seed, coconut, olive, and pumpkin seed can all be found in cold pressed forms and are all touted for their various supposed health benefits.
For example, flax seed oil contains the majority of its EFA’s in the Omega 3 form, which is nowadays much heralded as being an absolute must if you want to be healthy.
In their raw and natural state, seeds and olives are a whole food and, if consumed in moderate quantities, they give your body the needed nutrients. Whole and unprocessed foods always contain the correct balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fats and fibre, as intended by nature.
However, the moment oil is extracted from the whole seeds or olives, even if it is cold pressed, the fiber, protein and carbohydrates are discarded and, instead, we end up with a very unnatural and unbalanced product that is 100% concentrated fat that will inevitably produce health problems within the body. When imbalanced foods are supplied to our bodies, our nutrition gets compromised, and so does our health.
Health issues linked with the consumption of oils.
Dr. McDougall, a famous American promoter of a low-fat, plant-based diet, quotes: “Chemically speaking, free oils are chains of carbon found in a purified state. Extraction processes have removed all of the other ingredients of the whole food. Thus, free oils are no longer intermixed with the naturally-designed and balanced environment of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and ten thousand other chemicals found originally in the plants. Free-oils are not food—at best these are medications, causing some desirable effects, and at worst; they are serious toxins causing disease.” (1)
Oils upset and slow down digestion. If you eat a fresh raw vegetable salad without any oil dressing, for example, its digestion is both quick and efficient. Add less than a teaspoon of oil to it – your digestion will be slowed right down and it will take many hours.
Just some of the adverse effects of consuming oils include: weight gain, unbalancing of body’s omega 3 and omega 6 EFA healthy ratio, diabetes, immune system suppression, and thinning of the blood which could be very serious if one is in a major traffic accident or suffers a ruptured artery in the brain. Oil fats are also associated with an increased risk of cataracts (1).
Oils can make you fat!
A study of 54 obese women in a Mediterranean country found that they were following a diet low in carbohydrates (35% of calories) and high in fats (43% of calories). Of their total calories derived from fats, 55% came from olive oil alone. The simple understanding to take from this is if people eat something that is 100% fat, then it will make them fat in turn! (1)
How to get all the necessary EFAs without oils.
If your diet is built upon primarily fresh fruits, vegetables, and moderate amounts of nuts and seeds, you will be able to obtain your EFAs in a health-inducing way.
So, instead of buying into all this hype about what oils are supposed to do – just have your olives, nuts, or seeds as they come in their natural state and in moderate amounts. Any oil, regardless if it has been cold pressed or not, is an imbalanced and unhealthy food source. Fragmented products result in fragmented health.
Sources for this article include:
(1) McDougall, Dr. J. http://drmcdougall.com/misc/2007nl/aug/oils.htm
About the author:
Paul Tarbath is a Nutritionist who writes, speaks and coaches on the raw food lifestyle, along with her wife, Yulia Tarbath. They have traveled around the world and are the authors of several books, including Thrive On Raw and Thrive On Raw Recipes. Paul and Yulia are followed by tens of thousands of people around the globe and they enjoy helping them in transforming their health the natural and holistic way. Their website is www.rawsomehealthy.com