|10-10-2011, 06:46 PM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2010
Raw oils as a source of macro- and micro- nutrients in a vegan diet.
A plant oil has been pressed or expelled, with or without heat, from the seeds or other area of a plant. Some examples are olive oil, coconut oil, walnut oil, pumpkinseed oil.
In a typical vegan diet, raw oils are often consumed as a way to get anything from Vitamin E or EFAs (essential fatty acids.) Other reasons given may be that it improves digestion, helps joints, etc.
I understand there is some disagreement, often (but not necessarily) aligned along the moderate,high-fat/low-fat diet spectrum, on whether oils should exist in a vegan diet.
Some say that oils are necessary for a healthy diet. Others agree but disagree on the amount necessary. Still others say that oil should not be in the diet at all. Reasons given may be that they are hard to digest, they are "concentrated calories" or "concentrated fat" or addictive in taste and nature (when combined with other foods). Sometimes, extremely low-fat raw foodists are against consuming raw oils because even a small amount of oil, they say, can provide way too much fat for the diet to be considered low-fat.
What can replace oil's nutritional content, both micro and macro? Well, eating soaked and/or sprouted nuts and seeds, and certain high-fat fruits and vegetables. Avocados and olives spring to mind. Or maybe you think that these foods could not possibly provide those nutrients in sufficient amounts, or that oil allows one to take fat and all those nutrients without taking any carbs (a teaspoon of oil would have less carbohydrates than the food it was extracted from, and less protein also, but probably most of the micro-nutrients)? Intriguing.
So when making oil, one extracts/concentrates the oil naturally found in these high-oil-content foods. Is this fine? What are the historical and genetic implications (when did Man begin to press oil from seeds or nuts?)
You can see that both sides have merit. Who is right? Or is there some kind of middle ground.
Note that no oil in the diet does not necessarily translate to a low-fat diet. I could eat an avocado, a handful of olives, a handful of nuts or seeds every day and that could be a significant amount of dietary fat. So this is about the amount of oil in the diet and not the amount of fat.
Look: [ Dietary fat [Fat from oil consumed] [Fat from other sources] ]
Last edited by firenexx; 10-10-2011 at 06:57 PM.
|10-12-2011, 10:52 AM||#2 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2006
It's clear that people can be perfectly healthy without raw oils. It's absolutely certain that they're not necessary.
As for whether raw oils are a net win or loss for health - frankly, I don't know. Plenty of people make plenty of arguments both ways. I personally chose to consume some (oils are useful in many recipes) - but it's also abundantly clear that oil is a very poor source of nutrients for the amount of calories it contains. Personally, I'm vegan, and I've given up on using oils as a source of EFAs: the oils high in omega3, like flaxseed oil, tend to go rancid far too quickly.
Different oils differ significantly in factors like EFA content and ratios; some are actively counterproductive as a source of EFAs. And no, oils do not contain most of the nutrients of what they are extracted from - some make it through, lots are lost.
Here's a brief history of olive oil: Olive oil - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia . Production goes back several thousand years.
Frankly, the amount of oil in ones' diet seems like a pretty minor issue unless you're trying to do something like an ultra-low-fat diet: oil is not necessary, and a bit doesn't seem to kill you.
|10-12-2011, 07:15 PM||#3 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2010
I've tended to assume basically what you said, that they're not necessary and not as good as touted, especially since the older it is, the less it has. Many oils go rancid pretty quickly, it just depends what your definition of "rancid" is. Always consuming fresh-pressed oils is pretty unlikely unless you've got an expeller on hand.
But I find it interesting that many health gurus and books (even modern books about raw and other nutritarian diets) so often push oils as an essential way to get nutrients. It is one of those oft-contradicted things in nutritional reading and thus confusing at first.
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