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What About Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

The relative paralysis of our arteries for hours after eating fast food and cheesecake may also occur after consuming olive oil. Olive oil was found to have the same impairment to endothelial function as high-fat foods like sausage and egg breakfast sandwiches. (See my Olive Oil and Artery Function video for an illustrative chart with different foods.)

Studies that have suggested endothelial benefits after olive oil consumption have measured something different: ischemia-induced dilation as opposed to flow-mediated dilation. There’s just not good evidence that’s actually an accurate index of endothelial function, which is what predicts heart disease. Hundreds of studies have shown that the ischemia-induced dilation test can give a false negative result.

Other oils have also been shown to have deleterious results on endothelial function. A significant and constant decrease in endothelial function appears within three hours after each meal, independent of the type of oil and whether the oil was fresh or deep fried. Olive oil may be better than omega-6-rich oils or saturated fats, but it still showed adverse effects. This was the case with regular, refined olive oil. But what about extra-virgin olive oil?

Extra-virgin olive oil retains a fraction of the anti-inflammatory phytonutrients found in the olive fruit, and so doesn’t appear to induce the spike in inflammatory markers caused by regular olive oil. What does that mean for our arteries? Extra-virgin olive oil may have more of a neutral effect compared to butter, which exerted a noxious effect that lasted for up to six hours—basically right up until our next meal. In the largest prospective study ever to assess the relationship between olive oil consumption and cardiac events like heart attacks, there was a suggestion that virgin olive oil may be better than regular olive oil, but neither was found to significantly reduce heart attack rates after controlling for healthy dietary behaviors like vegetable intake, which tends to go hand-in-hand with olive oil intake.

There have also been studies showing that even extra-virgin olive oil, contrary to expectations, may significantly impair endothelial function. Why then do some studies suggest endothelial function improves on a Mediterranean diet, which is rich in olive oil? It may be because the Mediterranean diet is also rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, and walnuts. Fruits and vegetables appear to provide some protection against the direct impairment of endothelial function produced by high-fat foods, including olive oil; therefore, improvements in health may be in spite of, rather than because of, the oil. In terms of their effects on post-meal endothelial function, the beneficial components of the Mediterranean diet may primarily be the antioxidant-rich foods, the vegetables, fruits, and their derivatives, such as balsamic vinegar. Adding some vegetables to a fatty meal may partially restore arterial functioning and blood flow.

If olive oil can impair our arterial function, Why Was Heart Disease Rare in the Mediterranean? I’ve got a whole series of videos on the Mediterranean diet that I invite you to check out.

Fatty Meals May Impair Artery Function so much that a single high-fat meal can trigger angina chest pain. But, whole-food sources of fat such as nuts appear to be the exception. See Extra Virgin Olive Oil vs. Nuts and Walnuts and Artery Function.

I’ve also examined artery function with several other foods: eggs, dark chocolatecoffee, vinegar, tea, and plant-based diets.

In health,

Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations:


Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.

200 responses to “What About Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

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  1. “But, whole-food sources of fat such as nuts appear to be the exception.”

    This totally makes sense. Nuts are whole foods, oils are processed food.

    1. very very suspicous to use a kind of in- vitro studies to support your opinion on olive- oil Mr Greger! Show me please ONE clinical interventional Study that shows a a bad outcome on hard endpoints with olive oil versus nuts for example. This would be convincing but not the arguing with (preclinical) physiological parameters.

      1. the same study:

        “In keeping with our hypothesis, the omega-3-rich canola oil and salmon meals did not reduce FMD significantly.”

        1. The key part is that in this study potyphenol olive oil reduced BP etc only RELATIVE to polyphenol-free olive oil.

          it did not show that EVOO benefits endothelial function compared to no oil at all.

    2. Our family is on a whole food plant based diet. The only oil we use is California grown extra virgin olive oil. We use it almost exclusively for sauteing vegetables for use in our dishes usually no more than 2 or 3 tablespoons of oil. Is this a concern for us? Should we eliminate oil from our diet completely?

      1. Hi, Steven Holloway. This is a controversial topic. Some experts say that, yes, we should eliminate all oils from the diet. This is particularly true if a person has active cardiovascular disease and wants to reverse it. Others preach a doctrine of moderation. If you are healthy, and eating lots of fruits and vegetables, then the little bit of oil you are using might not hurt you. If you are concerned about clogging arteries, it may be best to get your dietary fat from nuts and seeds, and forgo the oil. As Liisa suggests below, vegetables may be sauteed in a little bit of vegetable broth instead. I hope that helps!

        1. Thank you Christine Kestner for your response. I made two of my favorite dishes this weekend without EVOO and my family didn’t know the difference.
          (I told them after we ate) I used vegetable broth instead and it does work amazingly well.

          I do use toasted sesame oil for flavoring in many dishes. Any worries there? We have no cardiovascular disease in our family but want to keep it that way too !! The endothelial series Dr G. has been running is fascinating to me, love doing all I can to keep well !!

          1. If you are among the millions of people trying to lose weight, keep in mind that oils of all kinds are among the most calorie-dense foods on earth, at about 4,000 calories per pound. Also, oil has almost no nutrients, and zero fiber to fill you up.

  2. If I get a hankerin’ for olive oil, I make sure to mix in the olive fruit also. Every so often I’ll whip up an olive tamponade and smear it on some fresh tomatoes and a bit of chopped basil.. delish!!
    Adding olives with a bit of oil to my miroux pois gives it a nice flavor also.. Great with beans or over quinoa.. YMMV.

  3. The study showing that olive oil impaired endothelial function fed subjects 50 grams, almost 1/4 cup of olive oil! Also there were 3 different olive oil meals and the ones that contained antioxidant vitamins C & E or vegetables & balsamic vinegar did not affect endothelial function. So to keep things in perspective, I wouldn’t worry about adding a small teaspoon of olive oil to a meal loaded with vegetables.

    1. Julie, did you see in the ‘ conclusions’ of that study, canola oil is listed as one of the beneficial components of the Mediterranean and Lyon diet Heart Study diets in terms of its effect on the endothelium?

    2. Thank you for pointing this out, Julie. As often happens, the dose may very well make the poison.

      I’d love to see a study where endothelial function is measured after a teaspoon or tablespoon of olive oil is consumed in a meal that includes plenty of vegetables.

      1. Me too. That would provide some guide for practical implementation. I eat a low sodium, organic spaghetti sauce almost every day in a large salad to get sufficient tomato in my diet in a form in which lycopene is readily absorbed. It has about a teaspoon (40 cals) of EVOO. I assume that’s not a problem but it would be nice to know for sure.

        1. Thanks for your question David,

          Oil intake should be kept to a minimum for health purposes, if you can avoid using it, it’s best practice to avoid unnecessary calories and impairment of endothelial function.

          I cook my food using boiled water, other alternatives can also be found in recipe books (see here).

          Hope this answer helps.

          1. Hi, Darchiterd…

            Boiled water not only cooks food, it does so without any danger of being “overheated” past its “smoking point” like can so easily happen with oil.

            Plus, the French have a lovely way of preparing “crudités” vegetables with boiling water that works wonders with respect to tempting people to eat them.

            The trick is to have a big bowl of ice water at the ready to *stop* the cooking process before you *start* it by submerging your vegetables into a big pot of boiling water for barely a minute or two, depending on the vegetable.

            For example, we like our green beans at 90 seconds, our broccoli florets at 60 seconds, and our kale at a quick, in-and-out dunk, patted dry with a towel and added to our pre-meal “fingerfood” serving.

            Vegetables prepared this way are brightly colored and exquisitely delicious… crunchy, flavorful and perfect for scooping up salsa or avocado.

            The best part is… they disappear!

            warmest regards…



          2. Dr. Valter Longo who heads the USC Longevity Institute recommends a longevity diet containing:
            1. 3 tablespoons of olive oil daily, plus nuts
            2. fish, eggs, white meat, and products derived from goats and sheep if over 65 y.o.

            Link here:

            While Longo does generally recommend a plant-based diet, his inclusion of oil, fish, meat, and goat milk contradicts recommendations from McDougall, Esselstyn, and Greger, to name just a few. I’d be interested to know if Dr. Greger has addressed Longo’s positions. Thanks.

    3. I do a mixture in the morning as a lymphatic system cleanse of 4 cups purified water, 2 tbsp EVOO, a whole organic lemon and a dash of ginger blended in a Bullet. I strain the grated peels and drink the mixture (split between my husband and I). With regards to mixing EVOO with vitamin C, as you mentioned, is this mixture a “safe” use for olive oil and endothelial function?

    4. As Dr Greger says taking supplements cannot overcome a bad diet. Using olive oil to saute meat or fish cannot switch the meat to the healthy column.

    5. I agree. I can eat a raw salad without EVOO, and always cook onions, tomatoes and mushrooms with a little water (I steam greens and other veggies), but I like a few drops of olive oil on my toasted Ezechiel bread in the morning. Are those few drops really so harmful? I don’t think so.

      1. Needless to say, only one piece of toast. I have a little thingie that lets us squeeze out the amount drop by drop. Probably measures to 1/4 of a teaspoon or so.

        1. On second thought, as healthy as Ezechiel bread IS, it does contain gluten. The gluten might be the reason I have stiff joints here and there. So, darn it, will give it up. And thereby, also, the oil. :-(

    1. How about no oil in your diet apart from natural oils derived from nuts and so forth? This is what I’ve been doing and I feel brand spanking new!

      It seems like once man has had his hand in something, it is almost always guaranteed to be bad for us.

      Keep it natural.

        1. hi John, I remember hearing/reading Dr Greger say that if you really had to use an oil, then use organic canola oil (the least amount possible). If I come across the video, I will post it here.

      1. Thank you for your comment. Totally agree. We should be sticking to minimally processed plant foods and added refined/processed oils should be avoided. Good fats should be obtained from the whole food like nuts, seeds, avocado.

        1. John – I appreciate your question. Although I, also, generally go oil free, there are a few times that I do use just a tiny skoshe of oil. I had the same question – olive or canola oil? I’ll share with you what I found. Both had the same amount of overall fat per unit. However, the canola oil has less saturated fat than olive oil and more Omega 3 fatty acids. The canola oil was 2 to 1 Omega 6 to Omega 3 while the olive oil was 12 to 1 Omega 6 to Omega 3 (in the information I found). So I decided to go with the organic, cold pressed canola for those times that I use a very tiny amount.

          I grew up on extra virgin olive oil mixed with fresh garlic and lemon for salad dressing (Thank you Dad!) and I sometimes miss that flavor. I have discovered that one can use the bean liquid from a can of beans as the olive oil substitution in a home made salad dressing. I use white bean liquid for the color. I then blend it in a small bullet blender with a few olives to get the olive flavor along with the whole food of the olives and balsamic vinegar and whatever else I feel like putting in the salad dressing – some dijon, some Italian spices, etc. If I use a can of beans that is salted, then I don’t add salt. Makes a very decent salad dressing.

          Fun fact – it takes about 44 olives to make 1 tablespoon of olive oil. I have a friend – very Italian! – who, once he learned how much fat was in olives, stopped eating them (or reduced severely). Yet, he pours olive oil all over his food. I love this example of how thoroughly the food industry has confused the public.

          Here are links to both the olive oil and canola oil for the information I shared in this post:

          Scroll down to the bottom to see the Omega 6 – Omega 3 information.

          For me, personally, eating a whole food plant-based diet means eating a whole food – whether its an olive or a coconut. Mother Nature put the whole food together for a reason and extracting its oil because it has one tiny component that is healthful just makes no sense to me. The fiber in an olive – or a coconut – is also known to be healthful to our physiology. But for some reason the food industry hasn’t figured out how to market that component to the public yet.

          1. Guest: Brilliant idea about using the aquafaba (bean water) and blend a few olives. I haven’t seen that idea. Thanks for sharing!

            Great overall post. So many people try to put-down canola oil, but when you look at it objectively, it’s better than olive oil if you have to have some oil. You did a great job of explaining about the nutrients.

          2. Thanks for posting – interesting info!

            My question — does eating 44 olives cause the same endothelial damage as eating a tablespoon of olive oil? I am guessing not but would be interested if this was ever proven…

            1. WJB – why don’t you just go ahead and eat 44 olives and report back to all of us how that felt for you? Why wait for OTHERS to do some research. Do your own.

            2. Thank you for your question. I can not immediately find a study that has exactly answered your question. However, one would assume that eating the olives whole with all the fibre is beneficial. We know that other plant foods such as avocado and nuts that are also high in plant fats have a beneficial effect on our blood lipid levels, including cholesterol and are good for heart health etc. Do let us know if you do come across a head to head comparison of olives vs olive oil. However, be wary of the salt content in some olives if you really are going to eat 44 olives!

            3. I think the idea is that including plant phytochemicals with oil consumption reduces the negative effect of the oils on the blood vessels.

          3. You need to know that virgin coconut oil comes from pressing coconut meat to get the oil and with very little processing. Of course eating the coconut fruit is even better but how often can you eat real coconut in the U.S.? The same thing goes with extra virgin olive oil which is as good as the olive except that olive oil is prone to counterfeit, by the Mafia mind you. And olive oil is prone to go rancid and becomes harmful while coconut oil is stable and have a high burning temperature. You just need to buy extra virgin coconut oil from a reputable manufacturer.

        1. Greg – I read the article you linked to. Unfortunately, the author provided no scientific references to his statement. So its impossible to read the research he is referencing. Here is an example of what I mean:

          “Cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease, it is the band-aid that tries to repair the arteries when damage occurs from a low-fat, high-starch, high sugar diet. This causes pre-diabetes and inflammation from a processed food diet, environmental toxins, a bad gut from a low fiber, processed diet or anything that causes inflammation.”

          I can’t see which study he is referring to. In the statement above he is making the point that damage happens from a “low fat, high starch, high sugar diet.” The devil is in the details here. I can design a diet that meets the above criteria made from processed, packaged foods as well as one made from whole, as-grown-in-nature foods. Which is it? – Dr. Hyman won’t let us see.

          Also, Hyman makes the point that the AHA has advised people to consume more vegetable fats – PUFA’s – and that this is unhealthy. Again, the devil is in the details. The AHA does not advise that people consume more vegetable fats in addition to their dietary components. It advises that people REPLACE the heavy saturated fats with vegetable fats. Their point (the AHA) is to consume fewer hard saturated fats replaced by liquid fats – not add more fat to the diet overall which is how Hyman has presented it.

          Hyman also claims that there are no studies that show that discarding saturated fat and replacing with no fat diets is a good thing. He is wrong. Caldwell Esselstyne, M.D. shows reversal of heart disease in people sent home to die because their disease was so bad. They were given about a year – or sometimes less – to live. Twenty five years later they were still alive and doing well. Read the science and see the pictures in his book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. Dean Ornish, M.D., has also provided the hard science that shows heart disease reversal through dietary measures advocated here on this site. His heart disease reversal through diet program is so successful that Medicare now pays for his program as do numerous other Insurance Programs. And we all know that insurance won’t pay for anything that cannot show factual data.

          But let us all know how eating gobs of solid fat work out for you in 25 years.

          1. JL, you’ve made it pretty obvious for months now that you’re incapable to telling the difference between who is biased, twisting facts & cherry picking & who is not.

            You believe in internet junk science. You’ll believe anything as long as it fits your already established beliefs. We do not. You’ve been shown the evidence over & over & over again by Darwin, TG, Thea, & many others. But you refuse to even listen to anyone because you came here thinking you already knew it all to begin with. You didn’t come here to learn anything. You came here with an agenda.

      1. Jerry Lewis, Did you even read the article you referenced on coconut oil? The article is from the Ghana Medical Journal. It starts out extolling the virtues of palm oil, but then changes the emphasis to enhancing the economy of Ghana because palm and coconut oil is produced there. The idea of the whole paper seems to be to convince people to buy and use palm and coconut oil to help the economy of Ghana! It’s hard to believe you can’t see the conflict of interest here! If this is where you’re getting your love of coconut oil, if I were you, I would think twice about gobbling down that coconut oil and clogging up your arteries.

        Here’s a direct quote from the paper:

        “Role of Palm Oil and Coconut Oil in National Development

        Agriculture employs 65 percent of the workforce in Sub-Saharan Africa. Therefore, the continued expansion of productive and high yield agriculture is essential for the reduction of poverty in Africa31 and consequently the acceleration of national development. The production of palm and coconut oils hold promise and represent one of the most effective methods of hoisting developing nations like countries in Sub-Saharan Africa out of poverty, and ensuring food security.

        When prioritized and supported, the coconut and palm oil industries will not only provide foods, income and raw materials, but will also provide employment for the development of the nation. Some research has provided the groundwork for the production and use of these oils in Africa. However, more country-specific work remains to be done to find innovative solutions to make the coconut and palm oil industries profitable in the long term, as well as assess their benefits and impacts on human health, industry and the environment.”

        1. And also:

          “Governments of developing economies in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly Ghana, will benefit immensely from emulating the Malaysian example…”

          which is …

          “The Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) of Malaysia, one of the largest producers of palm oil globally, have outlined some research and development goals intended to support the well-being of its oil palm industry…”

          If anyone is interested in seeing an example of industry bias cranking out propaganda, please have a look at the article JL posted.

          1. Don’t worry about the trashing of the native forests in order to create palm oil plantations. Don’t worry about that at all. Corporate profits always come first.

        2. Geez, what a selective reading, just like your doctor. Nobody ever people to eat certain foods even if it is good for the economy. If so then South America should be encouraged to smoke because they grow tobacco, the U.S. should be encouraged to eat GMO corn and corn oil and sugar because the U.S. is a big producer of corn, etc. etc.

          The fact that the article encourages Africa to consume coconut oil instead of vegetables oil because coconut oil not only it is harmless but it is also beneficial.

          Geez, why do you guys keep twisting the truth to fot your agenda? Do ypi have any conscience?

          “Furthermore, in the developing world, this adverse publicity is characterized by pressure from all fronts including governmental agencies and health professionals (including nutritionists) to reduce consumption of oils such as palm and coconut oils. It is true that the phenomenon of the ‘double burden of disease’ is assuming unprecedented proportions in the developing world and the incidence of chronic disease is increasing steadily and even catching up with figures from the developed world. However, this increase in chronic disease has been attributed more to the ‘westernization’ of diets rather than the consumption of tropical oils, since these fats have been the mainstay (of edible oils) in many developing countries (especially in West Africa) for centuries. This, dating back even to the period when chronic disease prevalence was extremely low. Rather, the vilification of coconut and palm oils may be contributing to a situation where there is increased food insecurity (because individuals feel pressured to switch to less affordable and so called ‘healthier’ oils) and decreased quality of the food supply. This has resulted subsequently in hunger in areas of the developing world where there is shortage of energy and nutrients.”

          “Saturated fatty acids, or saturated fats, consist of fatty acids whose carbon chain is “saturated” with hydrogen.”

          1. Jerry Lewis, You’re missing the whole point of my comment about the article you posted supporting your claim that coconut oil is great. The article does not show any new supporting evidence that coconut oil is good. It collects other articles (cherry picks, to use your phrase) that support their claim that coconut oil is good. Then they say, if all you consumers out there eat this good stuff, you will help our national economy grow because our country has a big coconut oil industry!

            If they had done some original research, published it, and stopped there, then they would be more believable. But by adding in the national economy pitch, it only serves to confirm their conflict of interest. That is why Dr Greger ignores these kinds of papers.

            And that is why most of the readers of this website believe Dr Greger instead of you!

        3. It was often said that we export our SAD diet and processed foods to the world and causing people to get sick. But we also export our fake saturated fat and cholesterol theories to the world and making them eating “low fat” vegetable oil and then have to take our statin drug. Our lies and crimes against humanity have no bound.

          “From the above, it is clear, that the saturated fat content of both coconut oil and palm oil have been the basis of the vilification campaigns against their use. Enig11 traces the origins of the anti-saturated fat campaign to the late 1950s, when a researcher in Minnesota announced that the heart disease epidemic was being caused by hydrogenated vegetable fats. The edible oil industry’s response at that time was to claim that it was only the saturated fat in the hydrogenated oils that was causing the problem. This was followed by various forms of anti-saturated fat/anti-tropical oils campaigns (from the 1960s through to the mid-1980s) by individual researchers, some multinational companies and even governmental agencies in the United States. Chong and Ng12 however, noted that, the anti-palm oil (anti-tropical oil) campaigns in the United States were conducted more for economic gains than for genuine concerns of the health of the Americans. Sadly, this adverse publicity of tropical oil in the United States, has spread worldwide, even to countries in the developing world, with heart disease prevalence far lower than that of the United States.

          Coconut oil has been shown to have the potential to protect against not only heart disease but a wide variety of chronic health problems including diabetes and cancer as well as a means to prevent and even treat infectious diseases, however, knowledge about coconut oil has been kept buried in medical journals because of a general prejudice against saturated fats.24

          DebMandal and Mandal10 further report, that coconut oil is very effective against a variety of lipid-coated viruses such as visna virus, CMV, Epstein-Barr virus, influenza, virus, leukemia virus, pneumo virus and hepatitis C virus. The MCFA in coconut oil primarily destroys these organisms by disrupting their membranes, thus interfering with virus assembly and maturation. Control of infections is crucial on the health agenda of many developing countries in West Africa, and the use of coconut oil could serve as a cheaper alternative means of controlling infections.

          A general rule is that, fats with a higher smoke point are better suited for deep frying, whilst fats with a smoke point below 200 °C are not.27 The smoke point of unrefined palm oil is 235 °C whilst that of unrefined coconut oil is 177 °C.29 In this light coconut oil is better suited for shallow frying, which is done at much lower temperatures,28 whilst palm oil on the other hand is suitable for both deep and shallow frying.30

          The smoke point is related to the free fatty acid content of oils, thus reheating (re-use) of oils is not recommended as used oils will contain a higher free-fatty acid content, with a consequent decrease in its original smoke point, which will result in higher emissions of volatile compounds at lower temperatures.27

          1. Jerry Lewis, You’re confusing the Global Food Industry with this website. I have never seen this website promote the use of refined oils, neither vegetable nor animal.This website is about Whole Plant Foods.

            You’re arguing in circles again. Maybe you should step back and collect your thoughts. Take a break. Relax.

      2. Jerry You keep spamming this site with your ridiculous claims about saturated fat. May I remind you that this site is called “nutrtionfacts” not “nutritioncranks”? There is no scientific basis for thinking high saturated fat and coconut oil consumption do anything but damage health

        “This Presidential Advisory from the American Heart Association reviewed the scientific evidence of multiple studies regarding the impact of dietary saturated fat on cardiovascular disease. It strongly concludes that reducing dietary intake of saturated fat and replacing it with unsaturated fat, especially polyunsaturated fat, will reduce the rate of cardiovascular disease. The following are key points to remember:

        1. Multiple randomized clinical trials, meta-analyses, prospective observational studies, and animal studies all support the concept of replacement of dietary saturated fats with unsaturated fats to reduce cardiovascular disease. Reducing dietary saturated fat and replacing it with polyunsaturated vegetable oil reduced cardiovascular disease by around 30%, similar to results from statin therapy. Prospective observational studies showed that reducing saturated fat and replacing it with polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fat caused 25% and 15% reductions in coronary heart disease (CHD), respectively. Mortality overall and from other causes was also reduced.
        2. Replacing dietary saturated fats with carbohydrates, especially refined carbohydrates, does not reduce cardiovascular disease. Substitution with refined carbohydrates caused a 1% increase in CHD; substitution with whole grain carbohydrates caused a 9% reduction.
        3 Both polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats are effective in reducing cardiovascular disease. The effect is greatest for polyunsaturated fats.
        4 Studies in which saturated fats were replaced by carbohydrates resulting in a low-fat diet did not reduce cardiovascular disease.
        5 Animal studies have shown that a diet high in saturated fats raises low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and increases coronary atherosclerosis, and a diet low in saturated fat but high in polyunsaturated fat has the reverse effect.
        6 Replacement of saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat, monounsaturated fat, or carbohydrates results in a reduction in LDL cholesterol; the reduction is greatest for polyunsaturated fats and least for carbohydrates.
        7 Coconut oil increases LDL without known beneficial effects. Dairy fat increases LDL; substitution by polyunsaturated fats causes a 24-25% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Trans-unsaturated fats increase cardiovascular disease. Omega-3 vegetable oil is associated with a lower risk of fatal but not overall CHD, possibly due to antiarrhythmic properties.
        8 Randomized clinical trials of a Mediterranean diet in conjunction with substitution of polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats for saturated fats resulted in significantly reduced cardiovascular disease in the intervention arms but not in control groups assigned to a low-fat diet.”

      1. Hi, AdamP…

        What about avocado oil?

        Back in my stir-fry phase, I tried avocado oil because the label on the bottle indicated it could take high heat (up to 500°), and I was concerned lest my electric wok might be changing the nature of the oil I was using to stir-fry chopped vegetables in a skosh of oil for a bit and then adding a skosh of water and steaming them for a bit more.

        Truth to tell, though, I eventually sidestepped the whole oil question altogether by simply making each person a dish of “fingerfood” to munch on while waiting for dinner to be ready.

        We eat all our vegetables raw, now, except for onions, which I add to our beans-n-rice soup for our lunches, and potatoes, yams and beets, which I bake for our dinners.

        It is so much simpler!

        I can’t believe I didn’t think of it long before this.

        Where is it written that a salad has to have dressing?!!

        Maybe a salad does…
        …but only because we call it a salad.

        If we call it something else, like fingerfood,
        it doesn’t need any dressing.

        A few chunks of ripe avocado in lieu work perfectly!


        As I wrote elsewhere in this thread, I do “blanch” some vegetables like broccoli and whole green beans because doing that cooks the tough outside while leaving the tender inside still raw and crunchy and intensely flavorful.

        Blanching vegetables means to plunge them quickly into boiling water – for just a minute or two – then immediately stick the vegetables into a bowl of ice water (often referred to as an ice bath). If you are serving cooked vegetables cold, this technique will ensure that they will maintain their beautiful colors.

        Blanching Vegetables > Start Cooking

        The pictures in that article show the cook using tongs to lift the vegetables out of the boiling water and put them into the ice water and then lift them out of that and put them onto a towel to drain.

        Myself, I use a stainless-steel sieve because chasing broccoli bits around in boiling water and in between ice cubes isn’t my idea of a good time, but the idea is the same:

        Cook quick, cool fast.

        FYI, fresh lettuce leaves with cucumber slices and tomato wedges and barely-cooked green beans and broccoli florets with avocado chunks and a Brazil nut or two…

        …it’s orgasmic!


        warmest regards…


    1. Thank you for your question. Dr Greger does not specifically have a video/post on walnut oil per se but all processed/refined oils impair endothelial function and it is always best to eat nuts whole rather than in the oil form. These posts and videos highlight the health benefits of eating whole walnuts.

  4. For those of us living in a toxic environment where any minute a natural disaster, or one man made by
    sheer greed and ignorance may occur. I feel the pleasures that come from eating something as neutral as Olive oil isn’t something that we should be concerned with, rather focus on the facts that few of us can adhere to a regime so restrictive that we isolate ourselves from the real World, As I like to say “there
    may not be Pork chops in Heaven”. Everything in moderation except moderation.

    1. Everything in moderation is one of those logic holes that come at us looking so reasonable but are toxic to our health! Arsenic or other poisons should not be taken in moderation ever. You can clearly see that neglecting our children in moderation would not be an acceptable position.

      The truth is that we live in the Garden of Earthly Delights, and temptations are all around us all the time. The more restrictive we are, the better our quality of life! We love high calorie foods of all kinds, usually also low in fiber. So a whole food plant based diet is the healthiest, and best for the planetary environment! If you want to indulge in something outside of the best from time to time, then do it knowing it will trigger your desire for more!

      There is much pleasure in standing apart from doing the easy/unhealthy thing! Here is a trick that works: If I am in the grocery store and I get the inkling that corn chips would be a really nice treat, since I have been good for so long, I just tell myself that I have already had them and am satisfied. I then try to recall eating those chips and the feeling afterwards. It really works for me!

    2. @arnold surowitz “there
      may not be Pork chops in Heaven”.

      If you eat animals AND you believe in heaven, then I’d say your God wouldn’t let you in given your complicity in animal exploitation, enslavement, abuse and murder. I doubt any God would be pleased with how the human race treats the animals it’s SHARES this planet with.

      Do yourself a favour and leave animal flesh and their bodily secretions off your plate and out of your body. The animals will thank you, the planet will thank you and of course your God may forgive and allow you in to heaven.

  5. The link in the word “showing” in this sentence of today’s blog goes to a study that used olive oil, not extra virgin olive oil.

    There have also been studies showing that even extra-virgin olive oil, contrary to expectations, may significantly impair endothelial function.”

    An incorrect citation, perhaps?

    1. Thank you for your question. My interpretation is that added refined/processed oils are best avoids for optimal health and that plant fats should be eaten in the form of the whole food such as nuts, seeds, avocado

    1. Thank you for your question. Dr Greger’s assessment of processed/refined oils is that all cause an adverse effect on the lining of the artery, just to differing degrees. So for optimal heart health it is best to avoid all added oils when cooking

  6. Just for the sake of argument, why would people argue that olive oil is not “whole food” but then don’t apply the same logic to other items like soy milk? Lets check some:

    Coffee: not whole food
    Soy milk: not whole food
    Soaked beans with water discarded during prep (missing whole lectins): not whole food
    White pasta: not whole food
    Selected cuts of fruits and vegetables and tossing the rest: not whole food

    1. Panchito – the concept of “Whole Food” is the food as it is grown as a whole unit in Nature. When one eats a chunk of broccoli and discards the root, one is eating the whole food as it is grown in Nature. One is not necessarily eating the entire plant although I am sure that one could if one wished to do so. I know people that consume the rinds of oranges, lemons, limes as well as the pulp and juice. But do they eat the entire tree? . . .nope!
      I don’t think anyone claims that white pasta is a whole food. Whole grain pasta is considered a whole food because it uses the whole grain as grown in Nature. And many people eat wheat berries as a rice replacement. Wheat berries are a whole food as grown in Nature.

      If one didn’t want to consume coffee or soy milk because it is a part of the whole food then this is of course their prerogative.

      Your beans argument holds no water (tee hee) with me because beans do not grow, whole, in a pot of water. Beans grow in a pod. And if one wished to they could eat the whole bean in the pod and many do – green beans, sweet peas, and garden-grown legumes. People cook beans that have dried to make them chewable once they have dehydrated. But if you picked them from your garden you could eat a fresh, raw legume. I have done so many times while playing hide-n-seed in in the soy bean rows on my family’s farm (and, no, not gmo). We would lay in the rows and pick the soybeans straight from the plant and munch away. I grew up eating raw soy beans – a childhood treat!! – lectins and all. So far, 65 years later, no negative sequelae from doing so.
      Eating a whole food is a different concept from eating the entire plant – who can chew an olive tree? not me. But it makes intuitive sense to me to eat a whole olive, not drink the oil. Eat a whole orange, not guzzle juice. Munch on some edamame. Lectins and all.

      1. Thanks for the reply. I’ll try make it simpler to avoid confusion:

        1 olive oil is not “whole food” because you through away the non edible part

        2 but an orange is “whole food” because you through away the peel

        PS: Whole olives are not edible. They would need to be chemically processed first. The oil is the only edible part of the olive in its natural form.

        And now the question:

        Is there a hidden purpose behind by saying that olive oil is not whole food? By comparison, why not apply the same criteria to oranges (example)?

        1. Some people peel apples and potatoes. We also peel bananas and shell nuts.

          My understanding is that we can make raw olives edible by soaking them in brine. And many foods require some basic processing (like heating or soaking) to make them edible. The question really is what level of processing represents turning whole food into a processed food.

          Most people here I think would agree with the Wikipedia definition
          “Whole foods are plant foods that are unprocessed and unrefined, or processed and refined as little as possible, before being consumed.”

          So olives would count as whole foods but olive oil does not, under this definition. You could go a step further and say shelled nuts and peeled oranges are whole foods but peeled apples are not, using the “as little as possible” test. However, I agree that some of our descriptions of what is a whole food and what is not are subjective.

    1. Thank you for your question. Dr Greger and most plant-based lifestyle doctors recommend to avoid added oils in cooking. It is best to get your ‘good fats’ from the whole food like nuts, seeds and avocado.

    2. From the videos I think Dr Greger decided that EVOO was neutral at best. So a bit of EVOO won’t hurt or help you? Just don’t DUMP it on like in the cooking shows.

  7. Judging from this discussion, dietary oils remain a contentious issue that appears to be subject to a lot of opinions, as well as research. I just watched Dr. Greger’s video (here’s the link: for the third time.

    When I first watched Forks Over Knives, I had a variety of reactions. Anger that no one had ever shared the information, then a bit of grief over giving up a couple of my favorites: olive oil and home-made yogurt. I had to watch it twice to get the message.

    Here’s the thing, blood panel studies don’t lie. And neither does angina. I was willing to give the WFPB lifestyle a six month trial. That was over two years ago. Angina pain disappeared in three weeks. Blood panels began to improve. The only setback I’ve had was deciding that a “little bit” of olive oil wouldn’t hurt. Two hours later my jaws began to hurt, the pain spread through my chest and torso. I haven’t been tempted since then.

    I’m now 77, work out five days a week, cook 95% of our meals, feel great and look 15 years younger. I wish I had had this information when I was in my 30s, but I can testify that it’s never too late to start.

    I encourage the doubters to put aside their quibbling and try this out. The western world is in a health crisis, after all. Maybe a lot of what we’ve been told is “healthy” is marketing…especially “research” hiding behind special interests.

    Read “How Not to Die,” “The China Study,” “How to Reverse and Prevent Heart Disease,” “The McDougall Program for Women”….for starters.

    To robust health and happy hearts.

  8. I have a question. Does anyone know if eating lentil and/or bean pasta is equal to eating the legume itself? Legume pastas are far more nutrient dense, gluten free (I have Celiac) and are delicious. I have been adding lentils to the sauce (as a burger substitute) but wondered if that is always necessary.
    I have searched and searched but can’t find an answer.
    Thank you in advance for sharing whatever study you may have.

    1. Thank you for your question. On a plant based diet it is always best to eat the whole food or as minimally processed as possible. If the legume pastas you are buying are made from the whole legume and minimally processed without added preservatives etc then there should be similar health benefits to the whole legume itself. Of course eating a legume pasta is going to much better than a refined grain version. So without a head to head comparison to base my answer, I would suggest that it is OK to continue to enjoy these pastas and choose a minimally processed one. However, also keep eating the whole legume too.

  9. Bebe – YOu have to do your own homework here – read the ingredients on the box. Pasta is a manufactured food and the maker of that product can put anything in the product it wants to and leave out anything it wants to – as long as it tells you on the Ingredients panel. So look for the words “Whole” or “100% whole” beans or corn or whatever. Or, if it is still not clear, call the company and ask. I’ve never found a product that did not have a contact number on the box. Call them and find out as there is no standard.

  10. So now I am confused. SO much conflicting information amongst different health care providers, most of which are focused on integrative/functional/natural health. I listen to many of these Dr’s and trust they have also done their research before confidently spreading their knowledge. Most of these physicians advocate for the anti-inflammatory and healing effects of coconut oil & EVOO (and by the way what is the difference b/w olive oil and EVOO?!). Documentaries such as The Truth About Cancer, Awakening from Alzheimers, etc.. all promote and cite many studies showing immense benefits of ingesting these fats as our bodies and brains depend on them for normal functioning. You think you are doing everything right and it ends up being completely wrong. So discouraging and confusing. Which way is the right way? Sigh…

    1. Cari, I like to keep it simple & prefer to learn about healthy food from a source that isn’t trying to sell me anything, such as powders, supplements, or extracts. I never trust any of their claims unless it’s backed up by scientific studies. Also the sources of funding for the studies is important to check out. A source may look good on the surface, but may be funded by an industry or a government agency in order to promote a particular economic agenda.

      All sources referred to here are cited below the videos for your perusal. If a study has questionable funding, it’s been my experience that not only tells us so, but gives usually gives us the details about it so we can check it out ourselves. An added plus is that Dr. Greger’s delivery is usually very entertaining. He has a great sense of humor.

      If you haven’t already read The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, I recommend it highly.

      Hope this helps. Best of luck on your journey to good health.

      1. Hi, WFPB Nancy…

        Thank you for recommending The China Study. I just this minute ordered it from Amazon and am looking forward to reading it.

        I’m new to this site, but I’m thankful for the high standard regarding citing sources. It makes it so much easier to figure out better ways of going forward.

        warmest regards…



  11. It appears to me that most of the WFPB docs advocate no oil or very minimal amounts. On the olive oil question, I have recently heard both Drs. Brenda and Garth Davis (not related) say in podcasts that “newer” research show that olive oil does not hurt endothelium function, that the initial Vogel study was not held up; yet they didn’t discuss that research. I wonder if they are talking about the ischemia-induced dilation Dr. Greger mentions?

    What would be most helpful to those of us sharing knowledge with others on eating WFPB, is if our plant-based doctor advocates could write some articles directly replying to claims from docs like Hyman, Mercola, etc.. We need to better understand why Dr. Greger and others dismiss the arguments of these doctors and the studies they use to argue their perspectives. We need to better understand the nuances of these arguments from a lay person perspective so we can share them. We need more than general comments; we need the specifics of why these other doctor opinions are or are not based on the best research available. Hoping someone will take the time to do this in the near future.

    1. Yes exactly Denise, thank you for your reply! The conflicting information from highly respected docs like Mercola, Drs. Roby Mitchell, Jockers, Hyman, Erin Leigh Connelly, Wolfson (who is a holistic cardiovascular MD) all advocate for ingesting fats such as oils, ghee, butter (organic of course) as well as grass fed meat consumption. They all see a different side of the coin and have a different perspective on what Dr. Greger advocates. I would definitely like to have these arguments clarified as well.

      1. Cari & Denise B Rose, do you mean you’d like to see something like this:

        It’s my understanding that Dr. Greger & the NF staff prefer to focus their time & energy looking at scientific evidence rather than debunking every diet that comes down the pike. They only focused on the one above because so many people requested it.

        Denise, the statement you made ” yet they didn’t discuss that research” is a red flag imo. There’s a reason why they’re not discussing it. You won’t find that kind of obfuscation here. The science speaks for itself.

        Cari, among the “highly respected docs” you mentioned, 1 lost his license to practice medicine 10 years ago, so he can’t be called a doctor anymore; at least 2 are on the website quackwatch, & all of them sell products – protein & other powders & supplements galore.

        If you are under the impression that the title MD makes them all-knowing about nutrition, then please watch this:

        And while you’re at it, please check out the sources cited at the bottom of the video. Nobody’s hiding anything here. If you want clarification on saturated fats, just do a search above. I found 6 videos on the subject, all with sources cited.

        1. Yes, Nancy I was pleased when the doc did the Gundry video as he was getting so much press. I understand is looking at the science. But Hyman, Mercola, etc. say they are doing the same thing. These guys get on the talk shows and make “plausible” sounding claims based on their interpretation of the science. We can not dismiss them so easily as they get so much press and many many people follow them. For those of us in the WFPB community to do our work most effectively, we need to better understand how these doctors are interpreting the science so differently from the plant-based docs. With this knowledge, still based on science, we can understand the analysis of why Hyman can think coconut oil is so great and Greger and most plant-based docs do not.

          Regarding the statement that you said was a red flag, I wouldn’t call it that in reference to Brenda Davis or Garth Davis. They are 2 people promoting WFPB (mostly) and I think we need to understand their arguments, whether we agree or not. As I said these comments were both made on a podcast. I fault the interviewer for not asking follow-up questions on this very point, when they suggested the olive oil issue is being overblown somewhat.

          I generally agree that all these docs selling products and supplements lose credibility to some degree. But we have plant-based docs, Fuhrman for example, doing the same. And I have a personal physician selling supplements as well. It appears many docs use these products to make extra income, frustrating but it happens.

          1. “These guys get on the talk shows and make “plausible” sounding claims based on their interpretation of the science.”

            Denise B Rose, I can easily dismiss them until they show me the science. I’m not one to follow something just because it’s popular. The TV appearances are merely marketing tactics. It doesn’t interest me.

            As for interpreting the science differently, data is data. It doesn’t lie. Dr. Greger isn’t giving you his interpretation of the science, he’s showing you the data. He’s also let’s you know when a study is or might be biased & shows you why & how. Until the others do the same, I see no reason to listen to them. It’s just a waste of my time.

            1. Nancy, Perhaps you find it easy to dismiss the doctors you don’t follow, but thousands do follow them. Perhaps it is not an interest of yours to understand how they interpret the scientific studies so different from WFPB advocate doctors. But I have that interest. When I teach, I want to be the most prepared in helping people understand why the perspective those doctors bring are misguided. It’s not enough to say “they make money, they are pawns of the industry and lobbyists.” While that is likely the case, they still cite nutrition studies just like our docs do. We need to better understand why there can be such different perspectives in the analysis. I disagree with you about the interpretation of science. As a Ph.D, I know that at any scientific meetings, you will have people arguing over the meaning of the same data. It might be the methodology that people argue about: done well or not done well; it might be how the analysis was done, there are many factors people can argue about. So we need to understand where these different perspectives come from when our doctors cite studies that support their claims.

              I want to know more so I can be a more effective teacher. That is the gist of my comments. I’m not sure what there is to disagree with on this point. Best to you.

              1. Denise, I can only tell you what my criteria is for listening to one source & not another. People get suckered everyday by false claims about products. Some of those false claims are made by doctors. It’s an unfortunate part of our culture.

                You said that ‘It’s not enough to say “they make money, they are pawns of the industry and lobbyists.”’ Why is it not enough? After seeing what the tobacco & lead industries did for decades, it’s definitely enough for me.

                If you have a scientific background, then shouldn’t you be able to figure out for yourself where these other doctors are coming from without asking NF to do it for you? They usually don’t do reactive-type videos but who knows, maybe they will. In the Doctor’s Note of the Plant Paradox video, Dr. Greger asked people if they wanted to see more reactive-type videos like that one. They may decide to do more of them after all.

                Best to you, too.

                1. Nancy, I wish I could figure it out for myself, but I did not study hard sciences. My field is Sociology. And yes, I do agree with you, that the comparison to the tobacco companies is a strong argument. And as a sociologist, I feel that even stronger. But I am talking about “talking” to the average person who does not follow any of this, who is part of the SAD culture…

                  I am not sure why this thread between you and me is happening. It kind of feels like a passive aggressive way of addressing me, especially in your last post: why don’t you figure it out and not bother nutritionfacts…. I use the word bother; you did not, but that was the perceived implication.

                  It sounds like you are just fed up with people trying to understand where the other side comes from. I get it. And maybe you don’t need to know more than you already do. But just because I do, I don’t understand why there even was a reason to question my intentions as you did in the initial post. Can we just let this rest? I answered you because your responded to my public comment. Let’s end it; there really is no substance here for the world to witness. Can we agree with that?

                  1. Nancy, I apologize for using the term “passive aggressive” That is not an appropriate way to express what I’m feeling. Let’s just say, I think that sentence of yours I was referring to could have been stated more kindly. As I read it, it felt very off-putting.

                    1. Sorry you felt that way, Denise. It was not my intention. But you’re right, I do sound cranky. That’s what happens sometimes when I post comments late at night, so I apologize for that.

                      After a good night’s sleep, I think I now better understand your dilemma in trying to get people you may deal with off the SAD. It’s been my experience that it’s a slow very slow process. All you can do give them the information, & hope they get it. People have to decide for themselves what their criteria is. And unfortunately, as Dr. McDougall has said many times, people love to hear good things about their bad habits.

                      If you’re interested in hearing more about industry bias, I’d recommend watching Dr. G’s series on lead (if you haven’t already).

                      This series is comprised of about a dozen videos, but it’s definitely worth taking the time.

                      Happy watching, and I hope you have a peaceful day!

                    2. Thank you Nancy for your last reply. There was no reply button for some reason, so I place it here. Peace to you as well.

              2. I think the problem is that there is a huge and profitable market of people who want to be told that their high cholesterol is not a problem and that meat, cheese, butter and other food high in saturated fat are healthy. There are many people who are happy to pander to this market. How else can one explain why people like Atkins, Hyman etc top the best seller lists or Mercola’s website is so popular?

                The scientific information on nutrition and health is extensive and freely available. However, people don’t want to be told to eat their vegetables or stop eating bacon. If they can find a doctor who can tell them they are perfectly safe eating butter and bacon, then why not believe them. However, if you take the time fact-check the claims made by these people, you will find that so many of them are simply false.

                For example, Hyman claims that dietary saturated fat isn’t a risk factor for heart disease and cherry picks some studies to support his claims. In fact the evidence identifying saturated fat as a risk factor is huge eg
                “In summary, randomized controlled trials that lowered intake of dietary saturated fat and replaced it with polyunsaturated vegetable oil reduced CVD by ≈30%, similar to the reduction achieved by statin treatment. Prospective observational studies in many populations showed that lower intake of saturated fat coupled with higher intake of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat is associated with lower rates of CVD and of other major causes of death and all-cause mortality. In contrast, replacement of saturated fat with mostly refined carbohydrates and sugars is not associated with lower rates of CVD and did not reduce CVD in clinical trials. Replacement of saturatestates d with unsaturated fats lowers low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, a cause of atherosclerosis, linking biological evidence with incidence of CVD in populations and in clinical trials. Taking into consideration the totality of the scientific evidence, satisfying rigorous criteria for causality, we conclude strongly that lowering intake of saturated fat and replacing it with unsaturated fats, especially polyunsaturated fats, will lower the incidence of CVD.”

                In implying that high cholesterol isn’t a problem he also states “Interestingly, all of these patients who had heart attacks did not have high LDL or elevated total cholesterol. In fact, 75 percent of those people had “normal” LDL cholesterol, with 50 percent having optimal LDL levels. So much for the high LDL contributing to heart attacks.”

                Yes but what he doesn’t tell us is that heart attacks lower cholesterol. Those people had l”normal” or low cholesterol precisely because they had had a heart attack. Whether he is being deliberately misleading in order to cobble together an argument to justify eating saturated fat or whether he is just a very ignorant physician, is neither here nor there. They both mean that he is an unreliable source of information on nutrition and health. And lipids.

                I’d strongly suggest you start your research with major reports on nutrition and chronic disease from expert scientific panels established by eg the World Organization, the World Cancer Research Fund and the scientific advisory committee which produced a detailed report for the US dietary guidelines process. These reports are free to download and set out what the science shows. I consider the information on this site consistent with the findings of those reports. Claims by internet marketers and authors of popular books usually are not – they present views that are popular but contrary to the science. The arguments they offer are dangerous to one’s health (but extremely lucrative).

      2. Carl, to clarify, there are not much conflicting info from the other non vegan doctors. All advocate a WFPB diet and in fact they talked about it more often than Dr G. The main differences are:

        – they debunk the false saturated fat and cholesterol theory, but none of them advocates gorging on fat but only eat a certain amount of fat.

        – They advocate eating a small amount of animal meat for optimal health, and they stress about what to eat and how to cook. This is very important or otherwise it may make eating animal foods harmful rather than beneficial.

        – They advocate eating real foods when possible but supplementing when necessary.

        These are the main differences but from the standpoint of eating WFPB, there is no difference otherwise.

    2. I have never been much impressed by gurus even if they have a doctorate of some kind or other.

      People like Hyman and Mercola make a bundle from peddling their wares. Fact-checking their claims reveals some are false.. Other health gurus paint themselves into a corner by staking their reputation on a particular hypothesis and continue defending it even when the evidence disproves it

      You are honestly better off reading reports on health and nutrition by expert panels of respected scientists convened by the likes of the World Health Organization and World Cancer Research Fund, and the scientific report of the US dietary guidelines advisory committee.

      These are all heavy going though. If you want something shorter, try these

      The recommendations in those reports are not identical to those on the Nutritionfacts site (they don’t consider supplement use for example) but they all agree that we should be eating more vegetables, fruits and whole grains and less red and processed meats and fewer refined carbohydrates. None of them recommend eating significant quantities of red meat or saturated fat. Unlike Hyman and Mercola.

        1. Jerry
          it is not that much , i got a room with balcony and including taxes and mandatory tip of 250 it came to under 4600 for two people . i could have saved about 400 if i had taken a cheaper room.

        2. Yes, Jerry, citing the evidence and referencing scientific reports and studies instead of internet marketers is “trashing@ people.

          Your beliefs about saturated fat are pseudoscientific hogwash as all the evidence shows.

          It wouldn’t be so bad if you merely presented them as your opinions instead of as absolute incontrovertible facts. It also wouldn’t be so bad if you didn’t spam almost every video and blog post with this nonsense. That just makes you look like an obsessive crank instead of a rational person with a different take on things.

    3. Thank you for your comment and we take this on board. As you can see from Dr Greger’s collection of video’s on olive oil his overall assessment of the literature is that it does still damage endothelial function just to a lesser degree than other oils. As more papers are published this subject will continue to be reviewed.

  12. Recently, researchers found that consuming a Mediterranean diet heavy in olive oil can help lower some heart risks. Consuming more than four tablespoons a day can significantly lower your risk of having a heart attack, suffering from a stroke or dying of heart disease, according to the recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

    This is what I found when I asked about the benefits/disadvantages of consuming olive oil. Confusing or what!!!

    1. Is this the study you mean?

      If so, the Med diet with OO or with OO and nuts cut risk compared to an unspecified diet. To quote:

      In a multicenter trial in Spain, we randomly assigned participants who were at high
      cardiovascular risk, but with no cardiovascular disease at enrollment, to one of
      three diets: a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil, a Mediterranean
      diet supplemented with mixed nuts, or a control diet (advice to reduce
      dietary fat).

      That’s hardly a surprise but since we have no idea what the control dieters ate, the results strike me as unhelpful for anyone on a whole food plant-based diet.

      1. I have to amend what I said a bit. They did provide some dietary advice in both the med and control diets. From Table 1:

        Food Goal
        Mediterranean diet
        ****Olive oil* ≥4 tbsp/day****
        Tree nuts and peanuts† ≥3 servings/wk
        Fresh fruits ≥3 servings/day
        Vegetables ≥2 servings/day
        Fish (especially fatty fish), seafood ≥3 servings/wk
        Legumes ≥3 servings/wk
        Sofrito‡ ≥2 servings/wk
        White meat Instead of red meat
        Wine with meals (optionally, only for habitual
        ≥7 glasses/wk
        Soda drinks <1 drink/day
        Commercial bakery goods, sweets, and pastries§ <3 servings/wk
        Spread fats <1 serving/day
        Red and processed meats <1 serving/day
        Low-fat diet (control)
        Low-fat dairy products ≥3 servings/day
        Bread, potatoes, pasta, rice ≥3 servings/day
        Fresh fruits ≥3 servings/day
        Vegetables ≥2 servings/day
        Lean fish and seafood ≥3 servings/wk
        Vegetable oils (including olive oil) ≤2 tbsp/day
        Commercial bakery goods, sweets, and pastries§ ≤1 serving/wk
        Nuts and fried snacks ≤1 serving /wk
        Red and processed fatty meats ≤1 serving/wk
        Visible fat in meats and soups¶ Always remove
        Fatty fish, seafood canned in oil ≤1 serving/wk
        Spread fats ≤1 serving/wk
        Sofrito‡ ≤2 servings/wk
        Low-fat diet (control)
        Low-fat dairy products ≥3 servings/day
        Bread, potatoes, pasta, rice ≥3 servings/day
        Fresh fruits ≥3 servings/day
        Vegetables ≥2 servings/day
        Lean fish and seafood ≥3 servings/wk

        Vegetable oils (including olive oil) ≤2 tbsp/day
        Commercial bakery goods, sweets, and pastries§ ≤1 serving/wk
        Nuts and fried snacks ≤1 serving /wk
        Red and processed fatty meats ≤1 serving/wk
        Visible fat in meats and soups¶ Always remove
        Fatty fish, seafood canned in oil ≤1 serving/wk
        Spread fats ≤1 serving/wk
        Sofrito‡ ≤2 servings/wk

  13. Hi Dr Greger, Thanks for your excellent videos and articles.They are very encouraging for our plant-based family :-)

    I wanted to ask about skin health. For 5 years my husband and I ate only whole food sources of fats and my skin suffered terribly. Perhaps we were missing something? However now that we add rice bran, extra virgin olive, sesame or peanut oil to our meals (about 2 tbsp total for 4-6 serves) my skin has regained its subtleness. I appreciate the studies you share and would like to hear your suggestions for limiting or completely eliminating our oil intake without affecting my skin.

    Thank you once again!

      1. Great idea, Tom. We do both (and did do this throughout our 5 year break from refined oil too). And yes, we take DHA daily. I was fascinated to learn how important it is for brain health.

  14. It’s fairly obvious when people eat processed foods or a SAD diet and get sick. However it is not so obvious when people care a lot about their health and do the best by eating a whole food plant based, but consume vegetable oil for the sake of “low fat” or spend a lot of money on expensive olive oil that went rancid because of time or heat. They also have low energy, low metabolism and low libido due to the “low fat” diet. These people get inflamed all over their body and have low energy and then get a heart attack despite having “good cholesterol”. I feel so sorry for these people.

  15. What is this obsession with drinking olive oil or using for cooking or in other ways that nature didn’t intend us to do????

    What is wrong with eating the whole olives?
    I do eat the olives themselves.

    Of course I don’t cook anything except the red large beans and only for five minutes but otherwise I eat everything mostly raw including lots of olives the only thing done to them is to take the pit out. I eat about 40 olives a day usually blending them with other raw vegetables.

    1. Richard – sorry, . . but I don’t see anyone saying not to eat olives ………..where do you see this edict? Nowhere in Dr. G’s video did he advocate not to eat whole olives. Where do you get this information?

  16. Look, if sautéing in a bit of oil helps you eat your veggies, use it! I have personally tried a very low fat, no oil diet and it is extremely difficult for me to sustain over a long period of time.

    Plus, there’s really no reason to avoid oils for people who are healthy. I suppose if you are in poor cardiovascular health, you may need to restrict your oil consumption, but perhaps suggesting healthy people restrict their oils too will dissuade people from trying an otherwise healthy vegan diet.

  17. Hello Leah,
    Thank you for your question. I am a family doctor with a private practice in lifestyle medicine, and also a volunteer moderator for this website. It’s a great question. There is some difference of opinion within the community of whole food plant-based practitioners about plant-based oils which are considered healthier — e.g. flaxseed oil, olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil.

    Some people, who I respect a lot, such as Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, who deal a lot with people with high cholesterol and coronary artery disease, encourage their patients to eat virtually zero refined oil of any kind, and even to eat only small amounts of nuts and seeds. Dr. G has done a video about how even extra virgin olive oil can impair artery function: You’ve probably seen this.

    However, there are some fats which are healthy and indeed essential: “essential fatty acids”. Without these, humans develop various deficiency symptoms. Dr. G. has done various videos over the years looking at this issue:
    1) — old (2007), but discusses good vs. bad fat
    2) — about role of fat in absorbing nutrients
    3) — nice summary about essential fats
    4) — shows how DHA and EPA are essential for long-term preservation of brain function.

    My wife has very low cholesterol, and she has found that her skin definitely is healthier (not so dry) if she eats some plant oils.

    So, unless you have very high cholesterol and/or known coronary artery disease, I think that you should feel fine about consuming a small amount of “healthy” oils. This is what I tell most of my patients, and it’s what we do in my family.

    Of course, you probably could get the same benefit by eating an equivalent quantity of nuts and seeds: peanuts, walnuts, flax-seed, and just avoid the refined oils altogether.

    I hope this helps.

    Dr. Jon
    Volunteer moderator for

    1. Hi, Dr. Jon…

      Nathan Pritikin said something in one of his books that stuck in my mind. He characterized butters and oils as “free fats” and gave me the idea that it was probably better to get my fats from food than from food processors.

      Working backwards from there, I ran into some roadblocks… “salad,” for example, and what to do about “dressing.” I decided to change the name to “fingerfood” and serve it in an oblong, shallow glass dish (Pyrex makes a nice one that comes with a rubber lid which makes it easy to make ahead and pop in the fridge) instead of a round bowl. I replaced olive oil with whole olives (the kind that don’t have bad stuff added to them to make them look blacker) and a few walnut halves, added some sliced fresh mushrooms, carrots, celery, cucumbers and tomatoes to some bite-sized pieces of lettuce and kale and called it done.

      The result?

      Everybody ate their “fingerfood” right down to the very last tidbit while they waited for dinner to be ready.

      And I didn’t have a stack of greasy bowls to wash afterward!


      The second roadblock was popcorn.

      The challenge there was how to make my family’s favorite snack without melted butter and salt.

      I decided to take a “gradual” approach. Spectrum makes a lovely spray coconut oil–almost the same as butter, right?–so I sprayed and sprinkled and tossed and before you know it, I had a big bowl of “buttered” popcorn with Himalayan pink salt… which somebody told me has lots of trace minerals in it, although I’m obliged to say I never got around to verifying that claim.

      The result?

      Nobody noticed. It disappeared just the same as always.

      So I decided to gradually use less and less of both spray coconut oil and Himalayan pink salt until I wasn’t using any at all.

      The result?

      Nobody noticed! It disappears just the same as always!


      The third roadblock was toast.

      With butter and jam.

      I got some Pomona Pectin… the kind that uses something other than sugar to “gel”… calcium water, I think, but don’t quote me on that.

      Then I got a lemon, a 5-lb sack of frozen blueberries, a small bunch of grapes for a whisper of sweetening and made a big pot of blueberry jam.

      It disappeared overnight!

      Nobody bothered to make toast to put it on. They just ate the jam right out of the attractive little glass jars I got to put it in, along with some of those nifty white plastic lids that are easy for fumbling fingers to remove. They even pile it on their oatmeal in the morning!


      As I look back over what I’ve done to get as far as I’ve gotten, I see places where I might have made better choices. I didn’t have this website to assist me in sorting fact from fiction and truth from belief, but I have discovered something on my own about belief:

      1) A belief is something we make;

      2) We believe it *because* we made it; and

      3) That’s why we can believe something no one else thinks is true.

      Myself, I didn’t want to “believe” anything, whether it’s about the benefits of extra virgin olive oil or whether the moon is made of cheese.

      I want to *know*… to understand *why* I was feeling so miserable so much of the time.

      But just try to get a *reliable* answer to that question!

      For every so-called “authority” who says one thing, there’s a dozen others who say just the opposite.

      How is a person deficient in understanding such as myself to make sense of it all?!!


      Help with this actually came from an unexpected source… a retired veterinarian. She said that a sick animal can’t tell you what’s wrong. It can only look at you with big, sad eyes.

      We, on the other hand, can tell a lot about its condition simply by focusing on the *direction* in which it seems to be going.

      That is, does it seem to be getting better, or getting worse?

      You try something… you observe… you try again… or you try something else… but always with that question in mind:

      Is it better?

      Is it worse?

      What you do next depends on the results of what you did last… on the *direction* the creature’s health seems to be taking.

      Well, I’m a creature, too, right?

      So I started trying things and noticing the direction my health seemed to be taking as a result.

      For example, I discovered that, if I had pizza for dinner, I felt *terrible* afterwards.

      Did it taste good?


      But it threw me into what I can only describe as a food coma afterward, so what “direction” is that?

      Going Wrong Way on Freeway!


      And I’ll tell you… I learned something from that popcorn experience. I feel so much better after I eat popcorn *without* added fat and salt that I’ve taken to nibbling on a small bowl of it right along with my soothing soup of beans and rice and finely chopped onions. After all, it’s corn, right? And corn and beans have been a winning combination since time immemorial, right? And it’s my understanding that popcorn hasn’t gone all GMO like the other kinds of corn–not yet, anyway–so why not serve it with beans? It’s a lot less fuss, muss and bother than making corn tortillas!


      With respect to the health of her skin, your wife seems to have done something similar to what I’ve been doing. That is, she removed “free fats” from her diet and then, after some time had passed, began to notice that the condition of her skin was going in the wrong direction… getting worse instead of better, in other words. So she tried putting some plant oils back in… et voilà!

      Direction corrected!



      Myself, I stick as closely as I can to things that only have to be peeled or cooked before I can eat them. For example, since replacing olive oil with whole olives in salads, I’ve switched to simply peeling an avocado and putting chunks of that on my “fingerfood” instead of olives because I have to open a can to eat olives and opening cans isn’t on my list of the two things I do these days before I eat!



      Thank you for weighing in on this, Dr. Jon. I really appreciate it, and I’m sure others do, too.

      warmest regards…


      1. Would like to commend you on your sense and sensitivity. It is through trail and error and observation that we learn?

        Youre way further along than I am….best I can do is to realize that when I start to run out of food…eat less and eat mostly veggies that I feel the best.

        1. Hi, Marvin…

          Thank you for saying something so lovely so early in the morning. It made my day!

          I had a couple of kittens once who chased a ball of yarn all over the house and, in the process, reduced it to a big tangled mess.

          Have you ever tried to untangle a tangled mess?

          First you have to paw through it to find a loose end.

          Then you have to start a tiny little ball with the loose end so that you have something you can pass under or over every single cross thread you meet as you slowly make the little ball bigger.

          It’s a painstaking process.

          The second time those two little rascals unwound it all over the house, I just stuffed it into a garbage bag and threw it out.

          But when it comes to the painstaking process of figuring out how best to eat to live and be as healthy as is reasonable to expect under the circumstances, we can’t just stuff it all into a garbage bag and throw it out when we get frustrated.

          That is, we can… if we’re prepared to pay the price in terms of a body riddled with metabolic imbalances with unpronounceable names.

          Speaking just for myself, I’m not.

          And you don’t sound to me like you are, either.

          Like a mongoose who bites a cobra in the back of neck and hangs on in a fight to the death, we’ve got this “SAD” thing in our teeth and we’re not letting go until something gives… and it ain’t gonna be us!

          Are you in charge of feeding a family as well as yourself, Marvin? If so, I salute you. It’s one thing to be foot-loose and fancy-free when you tackle this, but it’s quite another to be responsible for getting three meals on the table every day… day after day after day.

          As my mother used to say…

          “Life’s a bitch and then ya gotta fix dinner!”

          The task of assisting each member of your family—yourself included—to acquire new healthy-eating habits is so enormous that it’s hard to even wrap your mind around it, let alone actually do it, but the stakes are so high that, if your family’s story is to have a happy ending, somebody’s got to be the hero… the one who starts the ball rolling and helps it pass under or over each barricade it encounters until it finally gets to the other end of the tangle with a new set of self-nourishing skills.

          If you count backwards from just one meal on the table, you’ll find a long list of skills involved in getting it there.

          Before you can serve it, you have to cook it. Before you can cook it you have to buy it. Before you can buy it, you have to “source” it. Before you can source it, you have to know what you need to get in order to insure the widest variety feasible in order to keep your family as healthy and free of metabolic disorders as possible.

          To put it another way, you ain’t likely to have much time and energy left over for debating the finer points of nutritional theories!

          Along the way, though, you’ll have discovered some “overs and unders” that really work for you in terms of keeping your metabolic fires well fueled.

          For example…

          …I discovered that a combination of half an organic apple and four organic Brazil nuts is a metabolic powerhouse first thing in the morning.

          Maybe it’s because, of all the nuts I might have chosen, it turns out that Brazil nuts just happen to be the only nut that contains all 9 of the “essential” amino acids!

          Or how ’bout this…

          …I discovered that a freshly baked, organically grown potato mashed a little bit with a fork and sprinkled with a couple of tablespoons of hemp-seed hearts is also a metabolic powerhouse… the only seed, in fact, that contains all 9 of the “essential” amino acids!

          Here’s another one…

          …a freshly baked, organically grown yam mashed a little bit with a fork and sprinkled with a couple of tablespoons of unsweetened shredded coconut.

          There’s just something about combining a little bit of fat that occurs naturally in things like nuts, seeds, avocados, olives and coconut with other things like fruits and vegetables that makes for mighty mini meals.

          When I discovered this, it’s like I turned a corner… a now-I-have-something-to-look-forward-to-eating corner.

          Should you ever get to that crossroads on your own journey, Martin… hang a right!

          You’ll be well and truly on your way as soon as you discover for yourself a couple of combinations like these that “work” for you in the sense that you look forward to eating them and that, once they’re down the hatch, you feel *good* afterwards.

          It’s that “feeling good afterwards” that will help you power your way through all the barricades you’ll encounter, including but not limited to those you put up yourself without even realizing you’re doing it.

          Anyway, I hope this helps, Marvin.

          Once you’ve turned that corner and are committed to leaving the bad ways behind and letting your body teach you better ones, you’ll discover that all this is really a lot simpler than it looks.

          The trick is finding “un-fooled-around-with” food aka food fit to eat even if you have to grow it yourself like alfalfa sprouts in a jar next to your kitchen sink. It seems like I’ve always known that alfalfa sprouts are good for you, but what I didn’t know when I started is why. It’s because their roots go down into the soil 40 feet!

          I have it on excellent authority that there’s a lot of minerals down there!

          warmest regards…



  18. Hello and thank you, I need assistance with two issues. I am already subscribed to NF and don’t use FB, how do I ask Dr. Greger a question when he is live on YouTube? I also want to know when is he appearing on my local PBS channel, something was mentioned that it would aired in the fall of 2017.

    Thank you

    1. Hi Lou, great question. When Dr. Greger is live on YouTube, you simply go to the link for that day. You can find the link for the upcoming chat in the monthly emails, as well as here on the website on the day of the chats. Once you are on the live chat feed on YouTube, you will see a box where you can write questions in.

      And we will be announcing the PBS tour dates soon! He still won’t be appearing on all stations, but rather just a few for now.


  19. There is a interesting correlation of olive oil consumption and life expectancy with countries like France, Italy, Spain and even Greece having expectancies over 81 years (the first three countries are in the top 10 of life expectancy). Now I have been to all these countries (except Greece) many times and they are not (otherwise) the healthiest eaters with lots of meat, pasta, sweets etc. And they are smokers also. So how do we reconcile this?

    1. You’re assuming that the people in all these countries have reduced mortality. This has not been the case in the peer-reviewed literature. On the other hand it does happen in France, but as Dr. G discusses in his vid, it’s because French physicians under report heart attack deaths. Just because you see people eating unhealthy food and/or smoking doesn’t mean they’re going to live a long happy life…and you don’t see the ones that are already dead.

      Dr. Ben

    2. Repeat after me: Correlation does not prove causation.

      Just because 2 things occur together does not mean one causes the other. Bill Gates may drink OJ every morning, but that’s not what made him the world’s richest man.

  20. All oil, even olive oil, even cold extracted oil is a refined food loaded with fat and very few nutrients. As was mentioned earlier:As Dr Greger says, all refined/processed oils have an adverse effect on the endothelium, but differ in the the extent of this damage. EVOO may be better than other oils for the endothelium but overall it is best to eliminate refined oils from the diet especially for heart health.” Likewise cold extracted oil might be slightly better but it is still an oil with the same heart risks. This video from Dr Greger may be useful nutrients.

  21. You make claims about the health effect of oils in general on very very thin base of evidence! You always build up your assumptions on the 10 participants Vogel study. This is not solid science but ideology!

    1. I think the same. When you analyze epidemiological studies on longevity populations from Sardinia and other Mediterranean zones with long-lived population, high EVOO consumption is a common habit.They also eat non-processed food including some meat.

      Making human nutrition a question of ideology and applying confirmation bias with poor studies conducted on a very thin evidence base is not serious.

      As my grandmother (106 years) used to say, “Do not overcomplicate my son, eat a variety of foods in moderation, enjoy each bite and stay on the move, diseases always catch you when you stop”

    1. Dermot,
      Good question. Thanks for sharing the study citation. Since this was a review it likely contains a mix of good and bad studies. Note the comment at the end “However, due to the heterogeneous study designs (e.g., olive oil given as a supplement or as part of dietary pattern, variations in control diets), a conservative interpretation of the results is necessary.” Also notice that it did not say greatly improved, but said significantly improved. Since the results were from several studies, some may have showed improvement, some probably not. Its hard to draw any firm conclusions from this due to all the confounding variables. We do know that EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) is more protective than more processed olive oil. The amount used is an important variable. The control group used. If it was butter, then of course olive oil would perform better. I would say if one wants to use oil, that EVOO in moderation is likely the best choice to use based on the current evidence. Keep in mind the evidence continues to point to the less processed, the more health benefits. See the following video comparing EVOO to nuts and whole olives.

    1. You have two choices: 1) Believe and follow Dr. G’s take on it. If he’s right, you live longer and healthier. If he’s wrong, oh well, you missed out on eating a bunch of fat.
      2) Eat EVOO. If you’re right, no problem. If you’re wrong, then you’re very sick or very dead

      I don’t feel lucky and feel it’s not worth the risk, so I don’t eat isolated fats. The choice is yours.

      Dr. Ben

        1. You’ve got backwards. The great body of evidence is what Dr. G reports on.
          You’ve got your eye on biased or outlier information. If EVOO were healthy, Dr. G would report on it. Dr. G has no motivation to convince you on anything. He’s just reporting on the unbiased well founded clinical research. Don’t forget, if you get it wrong, you’re sick or dead, but what you do is up to you.

          Dr. Ben

          1. I’m certainly not saying without a doubt that olive oil is healthy, but here are two journal abstracts from the PREDIMED trial showing an association between reduced CVD risk and fracture risk among the subjects consuming EVOO.

            Olive oil intake and risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality in the PREDIMED Study

            Extra virgin olive oil consumption reduces the risk of osteoporotic fractures in the PREDIMED trial.

            I acknowledge that correlation does not mean causation, even though the results bring the dangers of extra virgin olive oil into question.

            For me personally, I would like more information on the potential fracture risk benefit of EVOO, something I have not seen addressed by Dr. Greger here.

            Also, everything in moderation.

            1. As Dr. Essestyn says: “Moderation Kills.”
              Toxic substances don’t qualify for moderation treatment: i.e. moderate amounts of asbestos, cigarettes, plutonium, radon, etc will kill you dead.
              Sure there are studies showing reduced morbidity and mortality with EVOO, reduced as compared to what? I’ll tell you: reduced as compared to the standard western diet. That’s not saying much. Plain and simple: EVOO paralyzes arteries in the FMD test which correlates highly with heart attacks. Want to walk 1 inch away from the Grand Canyon and hope you don’t fall off? It’s up to you. I don’t feel so lucky, so I find other things to enjoy like beans and sweet potatoes. Thing is, if you really eat an unprocessed plant diet, which means no oils, you’ll find that you’ll lose the desire for them.

              Dr. Ben

              1. I hardly think it’s accurate to compare EVOO to known carcinogens.

                The peer reviewed studies did not indicate moderation. That was my own opinion, which does not represent even close to the amount used in the trial. I also consume flax seeds daily and flax oil on occasion.

                I would be interested in reading about the FMD test that paralyzes the arteries. Would you mind posting a link to the study?

                    1. I volunteer my time on this forum to help answer questions. I’m not here to convince you to consume anything in particular or debate anything. This subject has been covered at length by Dr. G so there is no need for me to rehash it. If you’re interested in the evidence, you’re welcome to watch the videos. If not, you’re welcome to eat whatever you like.

                      Dr. Ben

    2. I’m with Dr. Ben. Whatever the accuracy of the analysis, for constant calories, the more extracted oil you eat, the less you can eat of whole plant foods, which are loaded with all sorts of demonstrably health-promoting nutrients, including phytonutrients. You cannot escape that fact.

  22. Hi,

    I was recently told by a naturopath oncologist to add olive oil to my my diet to prevent cancer recurrence. Does Dr. Greger have an opinion about olive oil helping to fight cancer? Generally, I have been trying to avoid all oils.

  23. I see that Dr. Greger will be at Kaiser per the above:
    June 9th, 2018
    Do you have the info on which Kaiser & is it available to patients or just to staff???

  24. Hi there,
    Dr Ornish, who promotes a plant based diet, also promotes the use of canola oil as a healthy alternative to olive oil..what are your thoughts?

  25. I came across this study, and it seems to supersede your recommendations. Do you have anything to say about it Dr. Greger?

    “A 25-mL single dose of olive oil does not promote postprandial lipemia, whereas 40- and 50-mL doses of any type of olive oil do.”

    “The benefits of olive oil consumption are beyond a mere reduction of the LDL cholesterol. Olive oil– rich diets increased HDL cholesterol and insulin sensitivity and decreased lipid and DNA oxidative damage.”

      1. It makes me sad seeing people running after their hero instead of running after evidence, every hero has it’s blind spots and so Michael Gregor. There is a huge bunch of evidence that Extra verginget OLive oil has health benefits….so we have to prooftest everything- even if it’s said by MG. Don’t stop thinking and drawing your own conclusions from the literature!!!

        1. Dr Greger isn’t the only one who advises avoiding oils, most of which are highly processed. And in this country much of the olive oil, even marketed as extra virgin, has been cut with cheaper processed oils. Check out Dr Klaper, Dr Esselstyn, Dr Popper, and many other doctors who practice healthy research-based lifestyle medicine.

      2. The researchers report no conflict of interest. I was hoping Dr. Greger would either say why he hasn’t referenced it (from what I can see) or if he missed it. The study he references says that a meal of 50g olive oil and 120g of whole grain bread restricted FMD%. The study I referenced demonstrates that postprandial lipemia (and therefore a deduction in FMD%) was the same at 40-50mL servings, but not the same at 25mL servings. Also not all studies are corrupted, even industry funded studies can be beneficial.

        1. It’s true that industry studies can sometimes be helpful, but it’s also true that researchers often report no conflicts of interest when there *actually are* conflicts. It’s tricky.

          Pam Popper teaches a class in reading research to ferret such things out.
          She says she can teach anybody to do it.

          1. How I wish Dr. Greger would do a NEW deep dive into the olive oil research. There is so much conflicting info even among our WFPB doctors. Recently I initiated an olive oil discussion on the Facebook site of another WFPB doc, Danielle Bellardo, who does the podcast Nutrition Rounds. In one of her podcasts and in some of her posts she is stating that there are benefits to olive oil beyond substitution. But I don’t know what specific research she is referring to and she has not yet responded to posts asking her for references and more help in understanding her perspective. I feel we need an olive oil summit among our WFPB docs to get some consensus on this controversial issue. Dr. Greger are you there…..??? Please help us!

            Sent from Mail for Windows 10

  26. How I wish Dr. Greger would do a NEW deep dive into the olive oil research. There is so much conflicting info even among our WFPB doctors. Recently I initiated an olive oil discussion on the Facebook site of another WFPB doc, Danielle Bellardo, who does the podcast Nutrition Rounds. In one of her podcasts and in some of her posts she is stating that there are benefits to olive oil beyond substitution. But I don’t know what specific research she is referring to and she has not yet responded to posts asking her for references and more help in understanding her perspective. I feel we need an olive oil summit among our WFPB docs to get some consensus on this controversial issue. Dr. Greger are you there…..??? Please help us!

  27. Denise,

    There is some consensus, which is that extra oils from any source seem to negatively influence endothelial function, when in excess and without buffering from foods and yes some are apparently worse than others.

    With that said there is also an ongoing and rather disturbing issue with ” extra virgin olive oil” . Is it indeed the real deal or a substitution still seems to be a large and continuing conversation, driven by price. As one site to consider reading: and no she is not a WFPB individual….and yes she is promoting a specific brand.

    Is there a commonality of phytochemical composition, not yet even though these constituents are probably the key to the olive oil’s potential benefits ?

    Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger

      1. Hi, Kevin! The article you linked is not really a study, but a narrative review. Whenever someone says that something is healthy, we must ask ourselves, “compared with what?” While olive oil might have health benefits if it replaces a more harmful form of fat, it still appears to be healthier to forgo oil entirely. You can find everything on this site related to olive oil here:
        I hope that helps!

        1. Yeah, I linked the review, but I was quoting the results of one of the studies in there. My bad. Here’s the study:

          My point was that this article is only saying that EVOO impairs artery function based off of this study:

          That study was done on 10 people, and they ate 50g of fat, which lowered FMD. The study I linked was 12 people and of a lower dose of fat (25g), which did not induce postprandial lipemia, which would lead me to conclude that it did not impair FMD (is that correct?).

          So my question would be that since there’s no negative impact on the arteries, what is actually making it unhealthy? The calories? Or is there a study that shows a low amount of EVOO (<=25mL) negatively affects your LDL levels? I'm just trying to find out what the truth is.

  28. Hello Dr. Greger and team, First of all thank you! I am grateful for the trustworthiness of this site. Thank you.
    But what about all the recent news on social media that olive oil has been elevated to “medicine”? Could you let me know what you think about this? Is there any truth to it?

    Thank you ever so much,
    Catherine Orazi

    1. After reading the article on this link, it states that EVOO can lower LDL. Is there credible research that Dr. Greger can share with us that show this is true, and it is not a fact of substituting EVOO for something with more saturated fat. Where is the research that show LDL is lowered by EVOO just because of its own benefits? Is this more marketing hype or true?

      Sent from Mail for Windows 10

    2. Hi Catherine Orazi , Thanks for your question. The FDA response to the claims are pointed below. I hope you find this useful.
      “Qualified health claims are supported by credible scientific evidence, but do not meet the more rigorous “significant scientific agreement” standard required for an authorized FDA health claim. As such, they must be accompanied by a disclaimer or other qualifying language so that the level of scientific evidence supporting the claim is accurately communicated. The FDA’s intent to exercise enforcement discretion for the use of the qualified health claims means that the agency does not intend to object to its use, as long as the products bearing the claim are consistent with the factors FDA stated in the Letter of Enforcement Discretion that responds to the petition.

      Oleic acid can be found naturally in numerous food sources, including edible oils, meat (such as beef, chicken, and pork), cheese, nuts, sunflower seeds, eggs, pasta, milk, olives, and avocados. Corbin Biotech’s petition identified the following edible oils that contain at least 70% of oleic acid per serving: 1) high oleic sunflower oil, 2) high oleic safflower oil, 3) high oleic canola oil, 4) olive oil, and 5) high oleic algal oil.

    3. Catherine: I wasn’t able to read your second link, but I read the first one. The first link says that oils such olive oil, canola oil, etc may be protective, “when replaced for fats and oils higher in saturated fat,…”

      I think describing that finding as “olive oil = medicine” is irresponsible. We have known for decades that if you replace saturated fats with non-saturated fats, the risk of heart attacks goes down. This is nothing new. Also, lowering risk is not the same thing as no-risk and being protective outside of the substitution.

      I also don’t think the knowledge that primarily non-saturated oils (like olive and canola) are healthier contradicts the information on this NutritionFacts page. Again, replacing some highly saturated fat products with something just as fatty but not as saturated doesn’t mean that the risk to heart disease goes to zero. The effects of the high fatty diet on the endothelial lining (discussed above) can still be bad and thus contribute to disease. What if they had instead compared eating extracted oils to eating a diet of whole plant foods that doesn’t include oils? *That* would be telling.

      An example just to explain the point: While breathing second-hand smoke is healthier and has a lower risk for lung cancer *compared to* actually smoking, that doesn’t mean that second-hand smoke is actually healthy. It’s just healthier by comparison. As near as I can tell, the situation with oils is similar. Some oils may be less harmful by comparison, but having no oil is best of all.

      That’s my 2 cents. What do you think?

      I’ll also mention that I have a friend who heard on Dr. Oz (TV show in America) that eating olive oil was *very* healthy. So, she used olive oil liberally in her cooking. Somewhere along the way, she became pre-diabetic. She tried all sorts of things to get her A1-C down, including extensive exercising and cutting out all sugar, etc. Nothing really worked.

      Then she tried 4 weeks of just cutting out all oil, but not worrying about ‘carbs’ or exhaustive exercise. (She had previously dropped the meat, dairy and eggs. She still ate a lot of processed vegan food.) At the end of 4 weeks without the oil, she had gotten her A1-C down the lowest it had been in 3 years. And that one diet tweak was so much easier than anything else she had tried.

      While the page you linked to was about heart disease and discussed only a small amount of oil, I think it is important to keep the big picture in mind. How does oil affect our health in all areas? I can’t see any reason to think of oil as a medicine. That’s marketing, not science, as near as I can tell.

        1. livewire!! So nice to hear from you too. :-) And thanks so much for the nice feedback. You made me really happy.

          FYI: NutritionFacts still send me emails with copies of new posts on *some* of the old pages that I moderated. If it’s a post I can think of a good reply to, I still “do my thing” as I did above.

          I just looked back at my reply above. Could I have been any more wordier? That’s something I still have to work on. :-) I’m glad you let me know that the content makes sense to you.

          Take care!
          – Thea

  29. Dear Team,
    I’m living in Turkey and been a Vegan since 3 years and the last 6 months no oil whole food diet.
    Veganism is slowly but surely also evolving in Turkey.
    I’m trying to convert my surrounding as much as possible wherever I can.
    In order to increase the impact I decided to write a book and established already the main frame with the “To-Be” capitals.
    One of these capitals is about the difference of consuming one tablespoon olive oil versus 40 olives (what appr. 1 tbl-spoon consists of).
    It would be great if you can provide me with some material, because so far I could not found any useful Info.

    1. I am finding there is disagreement in the WFPB doctor community about the advantages or disadvantages of consuming olive oil, particularly EVOO. Many of us have been schooled to think that any drop of oil, including olive oil, can injure our endothelium, thus contributing to CVD. We also know that all oils are heavily caloric so if one is aiming for weight loss or weight maintenance, oils may not be your friend.

      I’ve been noticing that some of the younger WFPB docs, appear to have a different take on olive oil than some of our docs who have been advocating WFPB eating for decades. Dr. Danielle Bellardo is one of them. She hosts the podcast Nutrition Rounds. She is a cardiologist fellow about to graduate in June. She states that from her research on EVOO, she can find no science that shows it is dangerous for heart health besides the issue of weight gain. She states that several studies, including Predimed, show that EVOO is actually beneficial for heart health. She also states that since there is no study randomizing people who eat WFPB into an oil eating group and a no oil eating group, we can not know from a scientific perspective, what the answer is about consuming EVOO within the confines of a healthy diet.

      I would love to hear what Dr. Greger has to say about all this.

  30. I’m new to this way of eating – a little under a month.

    My main meal is bean dish and two sides of vegetables. I’ve been losing weight and don’t feel deprived or hungry.

    I use a generous amount of avocado oil in my cooking – consuming roughly 2 tablespoons per day.

    Is the scientific evidence there, saying I should drastically reduce or eliminate this amount?

  31. It sounds like you are starting well on your way to eating whole food plant based. However, you could make one beneficial change by dumping the oil in your cooking. Yes, avocados are a healthy way to get good fats, BUT not the oil made from avocados despite the heavy marketing to promote oil. Review information from these two links and see if you can begin cooking with less oil which has been shown to increase cardiac risk and certainly add weight.
    There are many resources on the web to help you learn to cook without oil. Here’s one:

  32. Hello. I’ve searched your website and cannot find any information about this topic. I am interested in your view on oleocanthal. I’ve been avoiding all oils as much as possible but recently read about EVOO being the only source of oleocanthal which is beneficial for brain health and in particular a protective factor against developing Alzheimer’s Disease. Is this true? From my reading I’ve gathered EVOO, if eaten with lots of vegetables, has a neutral impact on arterial function and if weight is not an issue then it seems adding some EVOO to my diet could aid my brain health. So much conflicting information makes it difficult to make the best food choices!! Thanks for taking the time to read my comments :)

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