Is an oil-free vegan diet healthy? Many experts believe it’s unhealthy to eat any oil, period.
Oil-Free Vegan Diet: Healthy & Beneficial or Extreme?
We’ve become very accustomed to eating oil: we use it to make a roux for sauces, we fry and sauté foods in it, and sometimes we like to add a drizzle of olive oil in our soups. Some may even considering eating oil to be healthy.
It seems like one of the trends lately is to eat a oil-free vegan diet. Guys, I have to admit: I like this trend. I’ve done a ton of research on eating a whole foods, plant based diet in the past year and I definitely think it is the healthiest diet out there. Will some disagree? Absolutely. There are people out there that advocate for a meat-and-cheese-and-oil filled diet (hey, keto!) There are some that think eating a vegan diet but still consuming oil is super healthy. But let me break down the benefits of an oil-free vegan diet that doctors and nutrition experts like Dr. Fuhrman, Dr. McDougall, Dr. Gregor, Dr. Esselstyn and T. Colin Campbell recommend.
Benefits of an Oil-Free Vegan Diet
- Weight loss. This is a big one. Nearly 40% of Americans are obese. Did you know there are 120 calories in one tablespoon of oil? That is a lot of calories in a tiny bit of oil. I’m willing to bet that the majority of you reading this have already consumed oil today – I used to cook in it or add it into nearly every single meal I cooked. in 2010, Americans used 53.6 pounds of cooking oil per capita. That’s over a pound of oil per week – and one pound of oil contains nearly 4000 calories.
- Oils lack nutritional benefit. If you’re eating for health – there is really no reason to include oil into your diet. Oil is so processed that nearly all benefits are stripped away, according to many plant-based medical professionals. Yes, some oils contain essential fats – but you can easily get those healthy fats (and a lot more nutrients) from the whole foods oils are extracted from like avocados, nuts, seeds, olives, soybeans, etc.
- Decreased risk of heart disease. Dr. Esselstyn recommends a completely oil-free diet to help prevent heart disease. Why? “Both the mono unsaturated and saturated fat contained in oils is harmful to the endothelium, the innermost lining of the artery, and that injury is the gateway to vascular disease. It doesn’t matter whether it’s olive oil, corn oil, coconut oil, canola oil, or any other kind.” (source.)
- Lowers chances of many other diseases and health problems. Like cancer, acid reflux, hormone issues, bowel problems, immune system suppression, acne…I could go on and on! But I’d rather leave it to the professionals. Check out interviews with or articles written by the doctors I listed (with links) in the second paragraph of this blog post for more information.
Are there really NO healthy oils?!
Some oils are healthier than others – sure. But that doesn’t make any oil healthy. Not even coconut oil, despite some gurus out there recommending you take a spoonful of coconut oil and mix it into your coffee every morning. (Coconut oil contains a ton of saturated fat.)
Aren’t vegetable oils healthier than animal fats? For sure, according to Dr. Kahn, a cardiologist. But that doesn’t make them healthy. Check out this video by Dr. Esselstyn for more information on why no oil is healthy.
Are You Ready for an Oil-Free Vegan Diet?
I’d be lying if I said I was oil-free 100% of the time! I try to eat as many whole foods, plant based meals as I can. But, sometimes I cheat (like when I make cake for a special occasion.) In my every day diet, I steer clear of oils.
Need some tips? Instead of roasting vegetables or potatoes in oil, roast them on parchment paper. You can also sauté in vegetable stock instead of oil. Make a creamy sauce or gravy using corn starch instead of a roux with flour & oil. Here are some recipes using those methods:
- Easy Oil-Free Roasted Veggies
- Oil-Free Vegan Alfredo
- Vegan Green Bean Casserole
- Potato & Veggie Breakfast Hash
- Oil-Free Gravy