Obesity is a rising concern for the medical community because it increases risks of Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and numerous other conditions. A factor contributing to this problem is an increased caloric intake of the general population. The average daily calorie consumption rose by an estimated 23% from 1970 to 2010. Good nutrition is key to combating obesity, so I have compiled a list of questions and answers to use as a resource.
1) What is the recommended intake of dietary fat?
A person’s total fat consumption each day should be less than 35% of daily caloric intake. Additionally, saturated fat should account for less than 7% of daily calories. Saturated fat is present in animal products like dairy, eggs, milk, and coconut oil. If you will be utilizing oil for cooking, it is suggested that vegetable sources be prioritized over other alternatives.
2) What fat is necessary?
Fat is actually important to our diets, but it is important to eat the proper type and amount of fat to be healthy Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are the only types of fat that we need to be consuming. Products like hemp, chia, flax and walnuts can help supply the required daily intake of Omega-3. The National Academy of Sciences, states that the recommended amount is 1.1 grams per day for women, and 1.6 grams for men. Diets containing plenty of whole grains, legumes, fruits and colored vegetables will also help provide the necessary fats.
3) Is olive oil healthy?
Although portrayed as a healthy choice,monounsaturated fat present in olive oil is not a necessary element for health. It also does not contain very much Omega-3. Surprisingly, a person would have to eat nearly 2,000 calories worth of olive oil to reach the suggested daily intake of Omega-3.
4) What about a Mediterranean diet?
The Mediterranean diet is a healthy replacement for a typical Western diet, but it is not the presence of olive oil that makes this true. What makes a Mediterranean diet different and healthy is its lack of processed calories, excessive refined sugar, and added salt that is found in a Western Diet. Ancel Keys, Ph.D., describes an ideal Mediterranean diet to have low amounts of dairy and read meats, and plenty of whole grains, vegetables and fruits. Fish is also included as a protein. It is for these reasons that I recommend a Mediterranean diet, but one without without oil.
In fact, studies performed by Robert Vogel, M.D. at The University of Maryland show that olive oil can reduce blood flow in arteries by a substantial 31%.
5) What do experts say about coconut oil?
The American Heart Association published a Presidential Advisory on dietary facts that advises against the use of coconut oil. The paper stated that coconut oil can raise LDL cholesterol levels and has yet to see any proven benefit to heart health. Coconut oil has become a hot topic of late due to trends that have it added to coffee and smoothies. However, I continue to advise against the use of this product.
In summary, any added oils should be avoided in your diet whenever possible. These ingredients are a processed food product that is high in calories and fat. When producing an oil, any fiber and other important nutrients are removed, which takes away from health benefits that are present in the source material. Removing added oil fro, the diet of patients suffering from cardiovascular disease has been shown to stop and even reverse the blocking of blood vessels. This is the only diet regimen to display this impressive outcome. Additionally, diet plans without added oil have been documented as successfully reversing Type 2 diabetes and several other chronic conditions. Due to these facts, my recommendation is a diet that is free of any added oils.