Forego Fat-Free Dressings?

Forego Fat-Free Dressings?
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Fat is needed to maximize the absorption of certain important phytonutrients.

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The final step: the dressing. Which is more nutritious: a salad with an oil-free dressing, or salad with an oil-based dressing?

And the answer is: not fat-free, but fat-filled. What? Why? Because many of the phytonutrients in salad are fat soluble, and so our body needs fat to absorb them. The bioavailability of nutrients is higher when you take in fat.

Check this out. Here’s the amount of these nutrients that can be measured in our bloodstream over the course of ten hours after we eat a salad with fatty dressing. This is how much we get from reduced fat dressing—with the open circles, and at the bottom—the triangles—is the amount of this nutrition you absorb from a fat-free salad. Same salad, but we absorb essentially nada, zero. Why did we even eat it to begin with?

Now oil isn’t good for you—it’s basically just a lot of empty calories. The healthiest way to eat fat is from whole foods, like nuts and seeds. So, a dressing made with tahini, which is just ground sesame seeds, or a creamy dressing you can whip up by blending nuts like cashews on your own; these are better ways to absorb all that nutrition in our salads. Or, you can use a fat-free dressing and just throw some nuts and seeds on top. My family’s favorite is freshly toasted walnuts. Just five walnut halves is all the fat you need to get at those fat-soluble nutrients in our greens.

Similarly, this is all the lycopene we absorb from salsa—that great red phytonutrient that protects against cancer. Why so little? Salsa is packed with lycopene, but, because salsa is a fat-free food, we absorb very little. But this is how much we absorb if we add some avocado to that salsa. Again, the fat helps suck up the nutrition. And adding a whole avocado in the study worked just as well as adding half of one. In fact, just one-quarter of an avocado is probably all the fat we need to add to salsa or salad to maximize absorption.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

 

Image thanks to SweetOnVeg via Flickr.

The final step: the dressing. Which is more nutritious: a salad with an oil-free dressing, or salad with an oil-based dressing?

And the answer is: not fat-free, but fat-filled. What? Why? Because many of the phytonutrients in salad are fat soluble, and so our body needs fat to absorb them. The bioavailability of nutrients is higher when you take in fat.

Check this out. Here’s the amount of these nutrients that can be measured in our bloodstream over the course of ten hours after we eat a salad with fatty dressing. This is how much we get from reduced fat dressing—with the open circles, and at the bottom—the triangles—is the amount of this nutrition you absorb from a fat-free salad. Same salad, but we absorb essentially nada, zero. Why did we even eat it to begin with?

Now oil isn’t good for you—it’s basically just a lot of empty calories. The healthiest way to eat fat is from whole foods, like nuts and seeds. So, a dressing made with tahini, which is just ground sesame seeds, or a creamy dressing you can whip up by blending nuts like cashews on your own; these are better ways to absorb all that nutrition in our salads. Or, you can use a fat-free dressing and just throw some nuts and seeds on top. My family’s favorite is freshly toasted walnuts. Just five walnut halves is all the fat you need to get at those fat-soluble nutrients in our greens.

Similarly, this is all the lycopene we absorb from salsa—that great red phytonutrient that protects against cancer. Why so little? Salsa is packed with lycopene, but, because salsa is a fat-free food, we absorb very little. But this is how much we absorb if we add some avocado to that salsa. Again, the fat helps suck up the nutrition. And adding a whole avocado in the study worked just as well as adding half of one. In fact, just one-quarter of an avocado is probably all the fat we need to add to salsa or salad to maximize absorption.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

 

Image thanks to SweetOnVeg via Flickr.

Doctor's Note

More on nutrient absorption:
New Mineral Absorption Enhancers Found
Take Vitamin D Supplements With Meals

And check out my other videos on absorption

Also see my associated blog post: How to Enhance Mineral Absorption.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

105 responses to “Forego Fat-Free Dressings?

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    1. Just recently I have been having a reaction to avocadoes, nuts, and seeds. I was curioius about how much fat there is in veggies, grains, beans, tofu etc and I have found that almost every veggies except for greens have a bit of fat in them. That said, isn’t it possible that the amount of fat in lets says oats which is 13 grams per cup is enough for me to fully absorb all the nutrients in my breakfast and also in my salads if I add chickpeas, and other veg. Can I forego trying to put in added fat. What isn’t the fat naturally in veggies and fruit grains and beans enough? or is it enough?

      1. It is likely that you are getting enough fats without adding any overt fats to your diet. If you are truly concerned about getting enough of the essential fatty acids, you can add 1 tbsp of ground flaxseeds, hemp seeds, or chia seeds to oatmeal or a salad. There are also vegan (algae-based) DHA and EPA supplements, which may be beneficial for anyone on a plant-based diet.

  1. Dr. Greger, nowadays avocados seem to be frowned upon as a vegetable that has too much fat/cholesterol to eat…especially every time we eat any salsa.

    So, is it recommended to eat whole nuts and seeds with every salsa and every salad?

    And in order to maximize the amount of fat-soluble antioxidants in all of our diet, do you recommend eating something “fatty” (like nuts, seeds, oils) with EVERY meal? If so, how much? Thanks!

    1. My understanding is that Avocados have a lot of mono-unsaturated fats, like olives. So if you are already getting too much fat they would be bad for you, but avocados can be healthy in an otherwise lean diet. I have also heard that full avocado is better for you than an equivalent amount of avocado oil, but I don’t remember specifics.

      1. when a wild animal harvests a meal, it first eats the soft abdominal fat, soft nutrient dense organs, and gut contents, so the veg gets to go 30 foot thru a herbivores gut, then another 12 feet thru a carnivores gut, a lovely symmetry, the carnivores taste buds tell it to target the energy rich fat stores,
        a wild animal at 80% of its lifespan is stronger than one at 30%, so as long as you aren’t eating processed oils, like vegetable oil that has been solvent extracted, then RBD refined bleached deodorised, to remove all of the nutrients that should accompany them, and as long as you exercise to offset the calories, I wouldn’t worry about ‘too much fat’

        1. Simon, as to vegetable oils, are they all solvent extracted? And, olive oil then too? Do you use one that’s healthier? Please let me know? Thanks.

          1. extra virgin olive is cold pressed, and full of antioxidants, and we have thousands of years history of eating it, there’s a bit of a problem of mediterranian suppliers adulterating it with cheaper oils, colored and flavoured with some green olive juice, to rip off the consumer,
            I don’t hot fry my food, so smoke point isn’t an issue for me, for fish or chicken, I use olive oil and a couple tablespoons of water, put a lid on it, bring the temperature up slowly until I can’t touch the lid, then rest it, steak I have barely sizzling, for veg, I microwave it with a small amount of water to prevent localized heating, and add olive oil, butter, tomato paste afterwards, so no really hot cooking to damage nutrients or oil

    2. Sometimes I sit down with a bowl of avocados. When I eat cashews, I eat an entire tin. I don’t do it often but when I do, look out, FATTY ON THE LOOSE!! I’m not gaining fat, though. Dr. G did a video profiling a study that proves people who eat up to a couple of handfuls of nuts per day don’t gain the fat associated with that food over a year. I don’t know about avocados, but I think the fiber prevents us from actually getting fat even though those foods are upwards of 90% fat. I’m not a doctor nor an expert but I was worried about the same thing and I don’t worry about it anymore. I am still losing body fat after nine months of fruit and veggies. Love you

  2. Hello maybush1!
    Cholesterol is actually a production of animals and cannot be found in any plants! As humans, we even create our own cholesterol. Avocados are therefore void of cholesterol. The fat in avocados are primarily monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which actually extract saturated fat from your body (the bad fat) and replace it with this good kind. Like nuts, avocados are health promoting. Check out Dr. Greger’s video all about avocados! http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/are-avocadoes-good-for-you/ Also note that cholesterol can never be too low! http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/can-cholesterol-be-too-low/ I would say every time you eat a phytonutrient rich meal, like a salad, tea, or fruits; eat a fat with it. As suggested in this video, 5 walnuts halves suffice to absorb all the pytochemicals of that meal. I make it a point to do so with my meals!

    1. Why do you answer questions not directed at you? I came to this website to read advice Dr. Greger has on nutrition. I did not come here to read your unreliable information.  
      If I wish to ask a question of  Dr. Greger, or if I’m reading a question by another poster directed at Dr. Greger, it’s Dr. Greger’s reply I expect to read in return, not yours.  

      1.  Jayson2, you will have noticed upon looking over the comments section in the many pages on this site that it’s not just Dr. Greger replying but rather, when someone asks a question, everyone who has input chimes in with what they know. This does not stop (and has not stopped) Dr. G. from replying when he wishes to add something. I actually enjoy the back and forth in the comments section, and I think readers have enough sophistication to notice who the source is of the advice, and to make their own minds up about how reliable it is.

        The back and forth is a positive aspect of the comment section imo. And speaking of keeping things positive, let’s all try to do that. Taking my own advice is why I do not add additional commentary on your comments directed to Toxins

      1. That’s not really strong evidence that low cholesterol causes depression. The more likely explanation is that severely depressed people tend to eat much less and their cholesterol level drops because they are not eating much. Also, cholesterol drops in old age, so it might just be that lower cholesterol from old age is associated with alzheimers which is almost exclusively a disease of the elderly.

          1. umm… the study you just mentioned says in the conclusion…

            Conclusion
            These
            associations indicate that high lipoprotein levels do not seem to be
            definitely harmful in the general population. However, high triglyceride
            levels in females are associated with decreased survival.

            in English….

            HIGH levels of FAT MOVING PROTEINS don’t seem to be HARMFUL to GPOP however,HIGH FAT LEVELS in FEMALES are associated with DECREASED survival.

            Replace the word “lower” in “lower all-cause mortality” with “higher” and essentially you worked your own magic. Whats next? :)

            Might I add that high fat levels in GPOP is most likely associated with decreased survival.

  3. Hi Toxins and thanks for the reply! Actually, it’s not correct to say that cholesterol “is actually a production of animals and cannot be found in any plants”. Cholesterol is also a production of plants and are found within them…albeit in much lower quantities than in animals (cholesterol is a partial component to cell walls). See, for example, http://chemistry.osu.edu/~gopalan.5/file/7B.PDF
    Also, in the same study, it mentions some cholesterol is found in avocado oil as well.

    Besides, it is beginning to seem that the idea of eating avocados may not be such a good idea afterall as shown in Dr. Greger’s latest set of videos on the subject (today’s video – http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/are-avocados-bad-for-you/ and last week’s: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/are-avocados-good-for-you.

    1. Ah yes, I didn’t realize that plants had cholesterol. But it seems like an insignificantly small amount! And ya, it seems my response is all around wrong since avocados are now considered not health promoting. My apologies, I try to be as accurate with my responses as possible

  4. No apologies necessary Toxins! The nutritional science that comes out is constantly in a state of flux and is very dynamic. Old dietary recommendations are, many times, being superceded or adjusted by the new science that is coming out. It’s difficult to keep track and to be on top of it. I’m just very glad that there are those who are doing this so well, such as Dr. Greger, Esselstyn, Campbell, Novick, et al! We should all be grateful to him and his efforts on behalf of us all.

    1.  Maybush1, I want to thank you and not just for not beating up on Toxins but for the new information..this was new to me and I’m sure others too.

      However I don’t want this to turn into a talking point for the pro-omni-diet folks…I don’t think that’s what you’re doing but when this info gets more widely disseminated other folks might use it to say “see you vegans can’t ever, ever complain about cholesterol in meat/dairy ever again..ha!”

      So as Toxins said the amounts would seem very small but I wanted to look at some numbers

      See my post (I’ll copy paste there) at the top (well as the “July 9, 2012” date which may or may not be the top when you get here) for the numbers I found  by a few little conversions based on the source you gave.

    1. Hello Susan!

      You have answered your own question. If one has heart disease but is looking to reverse it, cutting out fat is probably the best bet until it has healed. Essylsten advocated avoiding nuts as more of a safety net, possibly accelerating the process of healing the arteries of the heart. These fats in nuts are primarily monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats being the good kind. After the point of reversal, consuming nuts will not bring about any risk of heart disease. Check out these few videos for more on nut fat.

      http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/good-great-bad-killer-fats/

      http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/halving-heart-attack-risk/

    2. yes, but you’ll end up like james fixx the running guru, dead at 52 with blocked arteries, from eating too much carb and sugar, just stick to saturated fats like the masai, get some vitamin K2 and vitamin C and your arteries will be fine

      1. For your own health I hope you read this post and watch the video linked. Keen to hear your thoughts after reading my post and watching the video I’ve linked. :) If you’re on Nutritionfacts then hopefully you’re a passionate advocate for scientific rigour + a research backed approach and open to new ideas as opposed to hearing what you want to hear.

        Why is there such confusion about Saturated fats? Why does every major health organisation say Saturated fat is bad while a few organisations/doctors/bloggers/writers .etc. tell us the opposite? Because that’s what food industry wants.. Divide and conquer. The food/fat industry is working hard to make it seem like there’s no consensus so people get confused.. Confuse the public and figure out who still believes you then hit them hard with the message so they especially buy your products. Market segmentation..

        The food industry can DESIGN studies to make saturated fat look like it’s not a problem by using the wrong type of study. Amazing video here walking through exactly all the science and how this is done! https://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-saturated-fat-studies-set-up-to-fail/

      2. I read some news the other day about a tribe with the cleanest arteries ever found or something like that. This research has been published in the Lancet medical journal.. Let’s see what they ate? How much saturated fat was there?
        https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/mar/17/tsimane-of-the-bolivian-amazon-have-worlds-healthiest-hearts-says-study

        I’ve taken a few paragraphs from this news article: “A high carbohydrate diet of rice, plantain, manioc and corn, with a small amount of wild game and fish – plus around six hours’ exercise every day – has given the Tsimané people of the Bolivian Amazon the healthiest hearts in the world.”

        ““This study suggests that coronary atherosclerosis [hardening of the arteries] could be avoided if people adopted some elements of the Tsimané lifestyle, such as keeping their LDL cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar very low, not smoking and being physically active,” said senior cardiology author Dr Gregory S Thomas from Long Beach Memorial Medical Centre in the US.”

        “Their diet is high in unrefined carbohydrates (72%) with about 14% protein and it is very low in sugar and in fat – also 14%, which amounts to about 38g of fat a day including 11g of saturated fat.”

        -> Note this is a very low fat diet compared to us…

      3. James Fixx had a history of smoking, family history of heart disease (his dad died even younger than him) and a poor diet. The diet was probably an issue for his father too – often it’s poor eating habits/culture that parents pass on along with the genetics.. Genetics loads the gun while diet/lifestyle pulls the trigger…

        I was just reading the below info on this site: http://fanaticcook.blogspot.com.au/2011/01/jack-lalanne-vs-jim-fixx-diet-matters.html

        “Ultra-marathoner Stan Cottrell said he and Fixx appeared together at a conference,” [authors Murphey and Kuzma] write. “Just before Fixx went in to speak, he stuffed himself with four donuts and said, “I didn’t have time for breakfast.”

        “There are reports that Fixx continued to eat a poor-quality diet, including fast food. John Robbins in his book Healthy At 100 writes:
        “Exercise is tremendously important, but sometimes people try to accomplish with exercise alone what can be achieved only with a combination of exercise and nutrition. Those who believe that exercise can compensate for a high-fat diet, excess sugar consumption, or other dietary transgressions could learn from what happened to a remarkable man named Jim Fixx.

        Jim Fixx had not always been a runner. Up until his mid-thirties, he smoked two packs of cigarettes a day, loved his burgers and shakes, and weighed 220 pounds. But at age thirty-five, he stopped smoking and began running. Within a short time he was running eighty miles a week and racing marathons, and had lost all his excess weight. His belief in the healing powers of running was so great, though, that he did not think he had to change his diet much. In his bestselling book, Fixx repeatedly quoted Thomas Bassler, M.D., who was then claiming that any nonsmoker fit enough to run a complete marathon in under four hours would never suffer a fatal heart attack.

        Jim didn’t just ignore expert advice that he needed to eat more healthfully. On at least one occasion, he went out of his way to criticize those who offered such advice. At the time, probably the world’s foremost advocate of a low-fat diet as a means to open and heal clogged arteries was Nathan Pritikin. In his book titled Diet for Runners, Pritikin described a conversation he had with Jim Fixx that took place in January 1984:
        “Jim Fixx phoned me and criticized the chapter “Run and Die on the American Diet” in my book The Pritikin Promise. In that chapter, I said that many runners on the average American diet have died and will continue to drop dead during or shortly after long-distance events or training sessions. Jim thought the chapter was hysterical in tone and would frighten a lot of runners. I told him that was my intention. I hoped it would frighten them into changing their diets. I explained that I think it is better to be hysterical before someone dies than after. Too many men, I told Jim, had already died because they believed that anyone who could run a marathon in under four hours and who was a nonsmoker had absolute immunity from having a heart attack.”
        Sadly, only six months after this conversation, a passing motorcyclist discovered a man lying dead beside the road in northern Vermont. He was clad only in shorts and running shoes. The man was Jim Fixx.

        The real moral of Jim Fixx’s tragic death is that while exercise is wonderful and necessary for a healthy life, it cannot make up for poor eating habits.

      4. Lastly, the Masai are not healthy people.. They don’t live all that long and aren’t well known for their longevity.. They have extreme diets and live in extreme conditions.. Same as the Eskimos/inuits. We don’t look to these people as good examples to copy.. For that we look instead to the longest living populations on the planet (the Blue Zones). They were found to eat a mostly plant based diet (95%+) and high carb, low fat diets with lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes..

        Check out this talk from Dan Buettner – from the team that went out to find the Blue Zones..
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ff40YiMmVkU

        Here’s a great video walking through the research papers on the Okinawan diet (Okinawa is an island in Japan and the Okinawans (or at least a fraction of this island!) are a Blue Zone) and the video also looks at the Loma Linda Californian Adventists who too are a Blue Zone.
        https://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-okinawa-diet-living-to-100/

        A plant based diet is what most dietary recommendations are a version of.. E.g. the USA’s power plate tells you to eat mostly plants (at least 75% of the plate?) See: https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/chapter-3/strategies-for-action/#callout-myplate

        Kaiser Permanente (the largest managed healthcare organisation in the USA) has now told it’s doctors to recommend a plant based diet to reverse/prevent the chronic disease epidemic sweeping the nation + costing the economy billions/trillions ( USA healthcare spending in 2015 was 3.2 Trillion dollars! Boggles your mind..)

        They issued a nutritional update for physicians in their journal which you can read here:
        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3662288/

        Their guide to healthy eating can be found here:
        https://share.kaiserpermanente.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/The-Plant-Based-Diet-booklet.pdf

        Good luck! Hope that helps!

        I haven’t even covered the environmental or economic aspects of our diet! To that I’ll just refer you to
        https://nutritionfacts.org/video/diet-and-climate-change-cooking-up-a-storm/

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnh9zT41wWo -> from a renowned ecologist William Ripple (PHD).

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kaFM_9K8J88 -> Food Choice and Sustainability by Dr Richard Oppenlander

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2y0jvGnxUr4 -> great talk at Harvard Law School from David Simon who has looked into the economic impact of our diet and how food industries externalise/offload much of the healthcare/environmental costs to the public!

    1. heh, I’ve become a nutritionfacts junkie too! And I share it as much as I feel I can with others without becoming too “preachy.”

  5. What if you put your salad in a blender and drank it? How would absorption compare to adding a little fat?

    I know that if you take a wheat grain, chop it into a powder and eat the powder, you absorb more (at least more of the calories, if not the nutrition). Would the same be true if you blended your greens and drank it without adding anything else?

  6. HiBlueberry, Putting the salad in a blender will help aid digestion much as chewing the salad does. However it appears that the fat is necessary to get the nutrients (i.e.antioxidants) from the intestine into the body. As the video states you don’t need processed oil to do this(although it works) but you can accomplish with nuts,seeds, avocados and don’t need much.The nuts, seeds and avocados contain nutrients you won’t find in processed oils. The fats are more calorie dense then starches so if you are trying to loose weight you have to not overdo the processed oils and nuts and seeds. The absorption of carbohydrates is not dependent on fat for absorption so you still get alot of calories from carbohydrates and protein even if you don’t add fats.

  7. mr Greger,

    Is this video still correct?
    I was just wondering because of this logic:

    -If you eat fat with your meal, the nutrients will indeed stay longer in the bloodstream, simply because you consumed fat. But does this automatically mean that you absorb more>? Are we sure that blood nutrient levels are a good indicator of nutrient absorption for the human body?

    -However, if you eat the fat-free salad, wont the nutrients just directly go to the cells trough the action of insulin instead of circulating for hours in the bloodstream ?

    So what I am proposing is–> Because of the lack of fat, all the nutrients get into the right place, quicker, than if fat is added.

    Is this evidence ever tested in the way of gene expression yet?

    1. If the nutrients are in the bloodstream, then they have already been absorbed and your body has already begun utilizing them. Everything must pass through the gut wall before it is considered “absorbed”. Now do we utilize all of the phytonutrients? That I do not know, but why not include more of a good thing?

      1. @Toxins,

        Thx for your reply,

        So.
        How many grams of fat are needed for nutrient absorption?
        Are the fats, present in natural foods ( take for example wheat) sufficient for this effect?
        Or is additional fat needed?

        I wonder what Mcdougall would say about this.. Since you would assume, everyone on that plan would be highly deficient in everything according to this video.

        Are there more studies done on this ?
        Because it really would seem unlikely to me, also only a few parameters were measured, What about if you would add in a high insulin stimulating food like potatoes into the meal. Wouldnt that make a huge difference, in the way of absorption?

        I’m not saying healthy fats are bad … But I do wonder, if it is necessary to eat fat with every meal, as this video would suggest u should.

        1. I have brought up this topic with Jeff Novick who works closely with Dr. McDougall. Jeff’s position is that it is not necessary to eat fat with food since we absorb enough from the food anyway. The issue he says is not that we are not absorbing enough, it is that Americans do not eat enough…

          “These data, although in varying populations, suggest that 3 to 6 mg/day of β-carotene from food sources is prudent to maintain plasma β-carotene concentrations in the range associated with a lower risk of various chronic disease outcomes (see Table 3).”

          http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=9810&page=353

          Table 3:
          http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=9810&page=341

          This range is more than sufficiently achievable if one does not include fat. That is Jeff’s position and I respect it.

          As for myself, I see no problem in increasing the quantity of phytonutrients in my body. There are no ill effects associated with this.

          Dr. Greger says that 5 walnut halves would be enough to absorb most of the phytonutrients found in the salad.

          We can conclude that it is not necessary to include fat with the salad, but I don’t see how it would hurt. Especially if one included healthier nuts/seeds like English walnuts, flax or chia seeds.

  8. Following up on the source Maybush1 gave (thanks again for the heads up!) that indeed plants do contain cholesterol..but the amounts are very small..here’s what I found.

    Maybush1’s source (Cholesterol and Plants E. J. Behrman* and Venkat Gopalan
    ) states “the quantity of cholesterol is generally small when expressed as percent of total lipid. While cholesterol averages perhaps 50 mg/͞kg total lipid in plant”

    A little calculation – 1kg is about 35.27 oz So the average is just over 1.4mg per oz or  5.7mg per 4 ounces.

    But that’s per 4ounches of pure plant lipid ; since the plant food
    will be less than 100% lipid, the mg cholesterol per 4oz of plant food
    will be less – or much less depending on the food – than 5.7

    According to one source (“What Percentage of an Avocado Is Fat?”, livestrong—-com)

    “Of the 201 g in a regular avocado, 29.47 g, or about 15 percent of the
    avocado’s weight, exists in the form of fat.”

    So to the extent that avocado fat is not far from the above ‘average’
    figure given,  4oz of avocado would have about 0.1466 as much or
    (0.1466)*5.7 or about 0.835mg of cholesterol.

    Less than 1 mg!

    By comparison, “A four-ounce serving of tuna has 40 milligrams of
    cholesterol, while haddock or rainbow trout has more than 80
    milligrams” (“Organic Meats Are Not Health Foods”, pcrm—org)

    Even if avocado    fat had 5 times the ‘average’ concentration for plants, in its fat/oil, that   would take us to 4mg, or one-tenth of what tuna has per 4oz serving, and the
    beef and many other meat based sources  are higher( or much higher) than tuna.

    Seems like 1mg or even some modest multiple, per entire serving, thereof isn’t the end of the world (but I did look at the link on the potential effecdt on DNA of avocado, even if we’re not sure if it’s really tube int he body or only in the test tube)

  9.  Following up on the source Maybush1 gave (thanks again for the heads
    up!) that indeed plants do contain cholesterol..but the amounts are
    very small..here’s what I found.

    Maybush1’s source (Cholesterol and Plants E. J. Behrman* and Venkat
    Gopalan
    ) states “the quantity of cholesterol is generally small when
    expressed as percent of total lipid. While cholesterol averages
    perhaps 50 mg/͞kg total lipid in plant”

    A little calculation – 1kg is about 35.27 oz So the average is just
    over 1.4mg per oz or  5.7mg per 4 ounces.

    But that’s per 4ounches of pure plant lipid ; since the plant food
    will be less than 100% lipid, the mg cholesterol per 4oz of plant food
    will be less – or much less depending on the food – than 5.7

    According to one source (“What Percentage of an Avocado Is Fat?”,
    livestrongdotcom)

    “Of the 201 g in a regular avocado, 29.47 g, or about 15 percent of
    the
    avocado’s weight, exists in the form of fat.”

    So to the extent that avocado fat is not far from the above ‘average’
    figure given,  4oz of avocado would have about 0.1466 as much or
    (0.1466)*5.7 or about 0.835mg of cholesterol.

    Less than 1 mg…..

    By comparison, “A four-ounce serving of tuna has 40 milligrams of
    cholesterol, while haddock or rainbow trout has more than 80
    milligrams” (“Organic Meats Are Not Health Foods”, pcrmdotorg)

    Even if avocado    fat had 5 times the ‘average’ concentration for
    plants, in its fat/oil, that   would take us to 4mg, or one-tenth of
    what tuna has per 4oz serving, and the beef and many other meat based sources  are higher( or much higher)
    than tuna.

    Seems like 1mg or even some modest multiple, per entire serving,
    thereof isn’t the end of the world (but I did look at the link on the
    potential effecdt on DNA of avocado, even if we’re not sure if it’s
    really tube int he body or only in the test tube)

  10. I want advice on how to make an oil-free salad dressing (using nuts and seeds to provide the fat) that is still tasty.  Please provide suggestions.

    1. Hi BPCveg,

      Here is an oil-free dressing recipe that a friend shared with me that my boyfriend and I really love:

      Tahini Garlic Dressing

      1 cup roasted tahini (sesame seeds ground into a paste)
      1/4 cup soy sauce (high quality shoyu if possible)
      1/4 cup apple
      cider vinegar
      6 large garlic
      cloves ( more or less to taste)
      1 – 2 cups
      filtered or spring water (depending on desired consistency)In the future, I will use much less of the soy sauce, as I found the dressing a tad too salty for my likes. You can also use this recipe as inspiration to create different dressings by changing up some of the ingredients (e.g. try different vinegars, seeds, nuts, or nut butters).  For example, I food processed cashews (best to soak them overnight or for a few hours…in this case I did not have the time so I ground them unsoaked) instead of using the tahini and I used liquid aminos rather than soy sauce and it made for a delish dressing. In general, I find that ground cashews make for wonderful creaminess in recipes.You can also look for dressing recipe inspiration here: http://www.nutritionmd.org/recipes/index.html

      1. Hello WholeFoodChomper (previously Joya),

        You are a gem! This recipe is awesome!

        By the way, for the formula that you gave for tahini dressing, I was able to get away with 1 cup of water and 1 Tbsp of soya sauce.

        Thanks a lot!

  11. Help! The links to share your videos aren’t showing up where they used to be.. Several of my friends say they love that I fwd them (email because they won’t take the time to look up the website for themselves. The Lazybones..
    Will you put the link back, please?

  12. For those eating chips and salsa, is the amount of fat in the chips enough to increase absorption of the phytonurtrients? I know that the this is not a good fat source, but I’m curious since many people eat salsa this way.

  13. Beet Around the Greens Dressing

    – ¼ cup sunflower seeds
    – ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
    – 1 organic* golden delicious apple, chopped
    – 1 medium beet, cooked
    – Water

    Combine all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. Using very little water results in a consistency which is quite thick and easily spooned onto salad. Adjust the amount of water to achieve the consistency desired.

    *Apples rank 1st (most contaminated) for yet another year in the “dirty dozen: 12 foods to eat organic” so choose organic. http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/list.php

    Bookmark my new Plant-Based Emporium Facebook page for all my latest recipes. https://www.facebook.com/PlantBasedEmporium?ref=stream&hc_location=timeline

    ~Complements of lovestobevegan

  14. I am really wondering if ground flax is suitable for the fat soluble (correct term?) antioxidants absorption. The reason I have doubts is because flax seeds are pretty firm and potentially they might get processed by GIT some time later (too late) compared to, say, walnuts. I’m grinding them as fine as possible yet still not quite sure. In any case I firmly decided to avoid any oils thanks to Esselstyn/Ornish/Greger arguments.

  15. Hi I am following a plant based diet and I am following advice and data from people like Dr.McDougall, Esselstyn, and Dr.Michael Greger. I saw a video of Dr.Gregers where he talks about a study that says that oil based dressing is better than oil free dressing. Which is a conflicting issue between these doctors. So I posted this on Dr.McDougalls Message board to get peoples opinions, Jeff Novick replied plus others and Dr.McDougalls opion on the matter from the past was posted. I would love to hear Dr.Greger thoughts about this thread: https://www.drmcdougall.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=43793
    I hope it’s ok that I am referencing Dr.Mcdougalls site here.

    Thank you for all your work by the way, its very informative and changed my life big time.

    Roman

    1. Roman: Congrats on adopting a healthy diet. Sounds like you are on roll!

      I’m not a doctor nor an expert. So, I can’t chime in with any authority. But I do have some thoughts for you.

      The main point of Dr. Greger’s video is about understanding how a certain amount of fat is needed in order for your body to absorb certain nutrients. This is a very narrow statement. It says nothing about people’s unique situations. So, for example, if someone had say an obesity problem, then maybe they would want to forgo absorbing those nutrients and stick to low calorie dense foods instead. In other words, each of Dr. Greger’s videos is very focused. You have to apply some common sense to see how the information in the video might apply to you.

      re: “I saw a video of Dr.Gregers where he talks about a study that says that oil based dressing is better than oil free dressing.”
      If you look under each video, you will see a Transcript section where you can see the video’s text. Here is a quote from Dr. Greger from this very video:
      “Now oil isn’t good for you—it’s basically just a lot of empty calories.
      The healthiest way to eat fat is from whole foods, like nuts and seeds.”

      So, even though Dr. Greger is being a bit funny/provocative in the opening of the video, I think he makes it quite clear that he is not advocating oil based dressings. Instead, Dr. Greger is advocating that you not have completely fat-free salads. He advocates adding a few nuts or a quarter of an avacado. I think that those quantities of calorie-dense foods would work fine for most people – and do not contradict anything that McDouggal, Esselstyne or Novick allow for average healthy people.

      That’s how I put it all into perspective. Hope that helps.

      1. Thanks for your reply. Like you said it’s all about interpretation and things can be different on a case by case basis. There is a lot of information out there. Just trying to figure out and understand everything properly so all of this data / knowledge by all the experts can be applied with the most benefit.

        I would like to make my question more specific, in that video the study showed that with no oil or may be fat in the salad the absorption of the nutrients was 0 or close to 0. and that was very interesting. In the thread i posted in my original post here, there was a question about how valid that fact is that the absorption is 0 or so close to 0. Since oil in salads and such is actually a new thing and humans ate plant based diet before and managed to absorb the nutrients etc.

        1. Roman: Thanks for clarifying your question/discussion topic.

          I don’t have time to read that thread you referred to, but here’s my take: While the healthiest human populations may have been primarily plant-based, they did still eat some small amounts of fat-laden food with their plants. For example, Okinawans (sp?) ate 1% fish. And as Dr. Greger’s video shows, it doesn’t take much fat to help your body absorb the nutrients. So, now we have healthier options than the fish. We can eat the plants with some nuts, seeds or avocados and perhaps get the same effect the Okinawans got.

          I don’t know if that gets at your issue or not, but I wanted to chime in one more time.

          Good luck with your efforts. I agree that this is not easy and I admire the people who struggle with the information to try to help themselves.

  16. Hello, it’s my unprofessional opinion that the wider, more expanded variety of vegan foods consumed, the better in order to avoid “splitting hairs” with individual foods thereby creating confusion and uncertainties as to what to eat and what to reject. Unless it has to do with avoiding entirely certain foods because of an illness. :o)

  17. My fat-free catalina contains “trivial” amounts of soybean oil. It’s listed as the sixth ingredient right after salt. The serving size is two tbsp but in a two-pound salad of purple cabbage, kale, broccoli and spinach, I use about a half cup of this dressing. That should be enough fat, right? And if I use five walnut halves, do I get the max amount of absorption? I see that it takes four hours to get the bulk of the nutes from the cruciferous veggies so that’s enough time time to break down a nut to get the fat, right? Thanks for the best information.

  18. After watching this video, I went to the dressings isle. And you’ll never guess what I saw on the bottles with fat contents as high as 16g/serving (2tbsp) – “helps get nutrition from your salad”
    It’s on every bottle. This label should be in the pecans. I’m ashamed to have a business degree. Corporations literally have NO SHAME. This is why I drive trucks :) And who uses 2 tbsp of dressing in a salad? Maybe on one of those salads they serve at schools – three pieces of iceberg lettuce and a tomato slice. Don’t forget the pickle. Pathetic.

  19. What about all the other vegetables?
    Should I be concerned when I eat, for example, cooked spinach or cooked broccoli?
    And if I want to munch on some carrots, should I dip them in a nutty salsa in order to absorb the phytonutrients?
    My question basically is if I need to put some healthy fat on every vegetables I eat or only on lettuce.

    1. Yes, the same would be true for other veggies, but note that you don’t need a lot of fat for the process to happen. Plus, some foods when cooked (tomatoes and carrots) release more lycopene and beta-carotene. Dipping in salsa is fine, you may consider adding an avocado slice, or hummus. Beans contain traces of fat and that may be enough fat, especially soybeans (edamame).

  20. So I just made my first batch of hummus, and decided to skip adding the tahini or sesame oil, now I have to wonder if I am missing out on absorbing some of the phytonutrients contained in the garbanzo beans, and perhaps this is why many think olive oil is healthy, (although people have plainly stated it’s not healthy) because it allows people who eat a healthy diet with the addition of some olive oil to absorb the phytonutrients :) Could I get the same effect by adding some ground flax seed to my home made hummus, it is supposed to be rich in omega 3’s would that oil facilitate the absorption of any phytonutrients found in garbanzo beans ?

    1. Will: I’ve heard of similar arguments applied to greens, as is done in this video, but I haven’t heard such applied to beans. But let’s say for the sake of argument that you would be missing out on phytonutrients from beans without some fat added. In that case, the healthiest ingredient to add would be to make sure your hummus includes the tahini. Tahini naturally includes fat, but fat that is part of a whole/minimally processed food. As an added bonus, you would get the traditional taste of hummus.
      .
      Oils on the other hand, whether olive oil or otherwise, are not healthy. They are highly processed, pure liquid fat. People think olive oil is healthy due to some wishful thinking, great marketing and misleading information. Here’s what the science says about olive oil:
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/olive-oil-and-artery-function/
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/extra-virgin-olive-oil-vs-nuts/
      Jeff Novick has a great (so informative and entertaining at the same time!) talk on oil and nuts. One of the best segments from the talk and which highlight olive oil is available for free on youtube:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbALgjmZUek
      .
      Some other NutritionFacts videos on olive oil:
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/mediterranean-diet-and-atherosclerosis/
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/walnuts-and-artery-function/
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/improving-on-the-mediterranean-diet/

      1. Thanks Thea so helpful … so adding whole foods like Tahini or Walnuts could add the oil needed to absorb the phytonutrients (while adding some other helpful nutrients as well)… but I am struggling with trying to have a healthy and budget friendly diet. Tahini and Walnuts are not cheap :(

        1. Will: I have made hummus many a time and the truth is, I use whatever nut-butter I have on hand. You can get different flavor effects with different nut butters, and I enjoy the variety. Peanut butter is pretty affordable. So, if you want a cheap source of wholesome nut butter, try that? (Just make sure the ingredients say nothing but peanuts.)
          .
          One other idea: I’m not sure how the cost of sesame seeds stacks up to the cost of tahini when all is said and done. But I assume you have a food processor. You might consider making your own tahini first. Just a couple of ideas for you.

  21. I am really struggling to find an off the shelf Dr Greger approved salad dressing. I use your Ezeikel bread recommendation for bfast but could you please make some suggestions to worthy salad dressings? Thanks so much!

  22. Would eating nuts or avocado within a few hours of eating salad or fruit still help you absorb more nutrients? And if you’re not eating fat with your produce, does it matter if you eat the fat before or after it? Would one help more than the other?

    1. I was going to ask a similar question and was going to leave it as a separate comment, but then I found Joy’s question and decided to leave my question below it since they are fairly related. :)

      Elaborating still on Joy’s question, I was wondering whether it makes any difference if the fat is consumed in the same mouthful with the vegetables (or any food that has important fat-soluble phytonutrients) or just in the same meal in general (or just before or after the meal).
      For example, let’s say we steam some carrots and broccoli and we want to add some fat to make sure we are getting the most nutrition out of those wonderful foods. Does it make a difference if we spread some peanut butter evenly overly the vegetables or if we just eat the same amount of nuts or seeds in whole form between mouthfuls of the vegetables, so not in the same mouthful? My logic here is that when you chew the vegetables together with the peanut butter, the vegetables break down, unleashing the fat soluble nutrients(?), and mix with the fat (peanut butter) in your mouth before swallowing and they enter the digestive system already combined to each other.

      Whereas if you didn’t eat the fat in the same mouthful, so if, for example, you eat the nuts or seeds just before or after a meal or just in different mouthfuls (for example, you eat plain pumpkin seeds from the package in between mouthfuls of the vegetables), it would take until your stomach for when the foods can mix together, and are they still able to mix well together in the stomach to a degree similar as in the mouthm absorbing just as many of the fat-soluble phytonutrients? Of course, I guess this is assuming that your chewing would actually break down the carrot enough to get into the beta-carotene, for example, and allow the beta-carotene to dissolve in the fat of the peanut butter or nuts and seeds (does chewing break them down enough to release the fat in your mouth?) in your mouth, and I don’t know if this is true (I assume full breakdown of food happens eventually in the stomach at least). I’m not sure if I just answered myself? :)

      Or do you just have to eat the fat within a reasonable time frame from eating the vegetables, say within 30 minutes or 1 hour (either before or after). If so, does that time frame depend on the time it takes for the food to leave the stomach (I have understood that different foods stay in the stomach for different periods of time)? Sorry for explaining something so simple by writing a very long comment, I just wanted to explain my thoughts precisely.

      Thanks a lot if anyone has any knowledge or thoughts to share regarding this, I would greatly appreciate it! :) Also, thanks if anyone made it this far, LOL!

  23. I thought extra virgin olive oil and canola were ok? I’ve been eating olive oil and vinegar dressing on my salads, but maybe I should switch? Sure would be nice to have something that is a bit thinner to spread on those greens. I guess I’ll try tahini as that seems pretty runny. One more thing to help optimize the nutrition in a vegan diet. And thanks for the note about the fat needed with the salsa. Looks like guacamole and salsa as dips make good nutritional sense at the same meal. Also, I usually have lentils or beans and brown rice on top of my salad. Works for me.

  24. So what about extra virgin olive oil? I thought olive oil and canola oil were on the ok list. I need something to put over all those greens I eat in a salad. Maybe tahini is runny enough, but some walnuts won’t do the trick for me. I put brown rice and beans or lentils on top of a big salad.

    1. ahughes42: oils are pretty much pure fat. Oils are empty calories like sugar only fat-style. You can use some whole nuts or nut butter or avocado on your salad if you want to add some healthy foods that are high in fat.
      .
      But I’m totally with you that you want some lubrication on a salad. :-) I recommend doing some research for oil-free salad dressing recipes. There are a bazillion of them, most of which are super-simple to whip up. Here’s 10 recipes to get you started: http://veganamericanprincess.com/10-simple-recipes-for-no-oil-vegan-salad-dressings/ But if you don’t see anything you like, keep looking as there are plenty of ideas out there.
      .
      Hope that helps!

  25. Hi. I am new to the lifestyle and a little confused about fat.
    Dr Gregor said that fat in the blood keeps insulin from working and causes diabetes type 2.
    But in other videos he says to add fats to most meals to help absorption. Can you please clarify that for me? Thank you. Debora

    1. Hello Debora I’m one of the moderators for NF.org and see you asked about fats. It might seem contradictory, but while we do need some fats which we can obtain very easily from nuts and seeds, such as flax seeds, the extra fats we get from oils are indeed harmful. One of our moderators made previously made this point which might be helpful:

      re: “I saw a video of Dr.Gregers where he talks about a study that says that oil based dressing is better than oil free dressing.”
      If you look under each video, you will see a Transcript section where you can see the video’s text. Here is a quote from Dr. Greger from this very video:
      “Now oil isn’t good for you—it’s basically just a lot of empty calories.
      The healthiest way to eat fat is from whole foods, like nuts and seeds.”

      So, even though Dr. Greger is being a bit funny/provocative in the opening of the video, I think he makes it quite clear that he is not advocating oil based dressings. Instead, Dr. Greger is advocating that you not have completely fat-free salads. He advocates adding a few nuts or a quarter of an avacado.

      It’s important to distinguish the healthy fat that comes from whole/minimally processed food from oils which are highly process, pure liquid fat with no nutrients. Check out these videos which will confirm what kind of fat you want to avoid:
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/olive-oil-and-artery-function/
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/extra-virgin-olive-oil-vs-nuts/
      Jeff Novick has a great (so informative and entertaining at the same time!) talk on oil and nuts. One of the best segments from the talk and which highlight olive oil is available for free on youtube:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbALgjmZUek
      .

      1. Thanku so much for the reply about fats. Now last question: is it ok to eat the nuts, seeds, or avocados with a carb like rice or sweet potatoes or only in salads? Thank you very much!

        Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

      2. Thank you Joan-Nurse for your comment on oil. I am avoiding process oils completely but since i do not have any weight problem (i’m 5′ 11 and 145 Lb) do eat a lot of Thaini and other whole food oils like nuts. Is there any study on Thaini, is there any risk consuming these whole food oils everyday ? Must say , Tahini became my number one souse, deep and in pita. thank you for your help

        1. All available evidence indicates the populations that eat nuts exhibit less disease and death than populations that don’t eat nuts. As far as tahini goes, this study shows that processed sesame oil exerts a beneficial effect on Flow Mediated Dilatation, so tahini is likely not bad for you and may very well be good for you.

          Dr. Ben

        2. You’ve already received a comment on your question, David, indicating that tahini shouldn’t be a problem for you. However, tahini is still an oil and for some, especially those with coronary artery disease, even a healthier oil like tahini should be cautious about its use. Sesame seeds are one thing, concentrated oil from those seeds is more problematic.

          1. Wouldn’t you think that tahini is more like peanut or almond butter. I drain off the oils. Also I would consider all fats ie nuts, avocado, seeds, and their butters as condiments to be used sparingly. I find a liile bit goes a long way and it is satisfying. I take 1/4 tsp tahini, 1/4 cup carrots and water to make a great salad dressing. I have found that dressing like thay help rather than hinder weight loss. Just my two cents

  26. I’m fighting prostate cancer. Is extra virgin olive oil and vinegar good to put on salad, and what about cooking vegetables in a bit of olive oil? Thank you.

    1. Ed Personally I just started a 90 day committment called SOS no sugar oil or salt. I am finding it fun and interesting. You can go to youtube for some suggestions of vegan oil free dressings. Theses are not necessarily fat free but are whole plant based. I think Dr Gregor suggests no oil. I am doing SOS bc after a year of being vegan I am 40lbs overweight. Just my two cents.

      1. Cam: SOS is a great test. If you are interested, I have some additional details to help you fine-tune a healthy diet for weight loss. These are tips around going ‘low calorie density’ – a concept that doctors like McDougall and Greger both endorse. Also Chef AJ and Jeff Novick RD. Let me know if you are interested.

          1. Cam: Oh funny. I didn’t realize my post would come across that way. Many of the resources below are free and I have no affiliation with *any* of it. The post below is just the post that I share with lots of people on this site when they already understand the value of eating plant foods and now just need to tweak the diet for healthy weight loss. Giving up extracted oils (the highest calorie-dense food that there is) is part of that tweaking, but there are more details that would help you be even more successful. I hope the info below is helpful.

            ——————-
            The nice thing about your situation is that you already understand half the battle. I’m guessing from your post that you already understand about the importance of a whole plant food diet and have at least a sense of how to implement it. That’s half the learning curve. The other half is understanding the concept of calorie density and how to apply it to weight loss so that you don’t get hungry and you still get all the nutrients you need.
            .
            Dr. Greger covers calorie density (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/eating-more-to-weigh-less/ ), but not in enough detail in my opinion for someone who wants to apply it for the first time. Doug Lisle, one of the experts in the Forks Over Knives documentary, gives a great ‘calorie density 101’ talk officially called: How To Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind. I have watched the following talk from Doug Lisle several times and think very highly of it. And it’s free!!! And it’s entertaining! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAdqLB6bTuQ
            .
            As good as Doug Lisle’s talk is, it pretty much just gives you a solid understanding of the concept, but not enough practical information in my opinion. For starting to get the practical information, I recommend a talk from Jeff Novick,Calorie Density: “How to Eat More, Weigh Less, and Live Longer,” http://www.jeffnovick.com/RD/Calorie_Density.html If talks aren’t your thing or you can’t get a hold of the video, the following article from Jeff covers a lot of the same information: http://www.jeffnovick.com/RD/Articles/Entries/2012/5/20_A_Common_Sense_Approach_To_Sound_Nutrition.html
            Be sure to pay attention to the charts.
            .
            Chef AJ tells people who want to lose weight to eat “left of the red line”, where I believe the red line is on a diagram of hers representing is about 650 (or so) calories per pound. And “left of the red line” is all the whole plant foods which are below 650 or 700 calories per pound. The above article from Jeff Novick gives you a good sense of which foods are “left of the red line” by food category. But if you want to look up the calorie density of specific foods, you can find many foods on the following site: http://www.skipthepie.com/ Most foods on that site have the option of choose 16 ounces as a size. That number will be the calorie density (calories per pound, which you want to be below 700).
            .
            It would be perfectly respectable if you are one of those people who are just not interested in the theory. You just want to dive right in and want straight how-to information. If you would rather not think about any of that (or start with the theory and then move onto this step), I have one more suggestion that Dr. Greger also recommends in his book, How Not To Die. Consider going through the free program from PCRM (Physician’s Committee For Responsible Medicine) called 21 Day Kickstart. The program will “hold your hand” for 21 days, including meal plans, recipes, videos, inspirational messages, and a forum (moderated by a very respected RD) where you can ask questions.
            http://www.pcrm.org/kickstartHome/
            (Click the green “Register Now” button.)
            At the end of the program, you will have a very good practical knowledge about how to eat with healthy and “low” (normal for most people) calorie density.
            .
            Another recommendation that Dr. Greger and I share is to get Jeff Novick’s Fast Food videos for tasty, affordable, fast and healthy calorie density recipes. Also, on-line and free is a YouTube series of recipes/cooking shows called something like Chef AJ and The Dietician. I know that Chef AJ will not steer you wrong in terms of weight loss and providing accurate nutrition information.
            .
            How’s that for some tips? If you give these ideas a try, please report back and let us know how it went.

    2. Hey Ed, thanks for writing! There is some evidence indicating a potential benefit of olive oil on prostate cancer (see https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28884114). Cooking certain veggies (tomatoes) in some olive oil can increase the absorption of important carotenoids like lycopene that fight prostate cancer, and the plant chemicals in extra virgin olive oil have anti-cancer effects by themselves. It should provide benefits as long as you’re avoiding animal protein.

  27. Hi!
    Is it still effective if one eats fats(nuts and seeds) only right after green salad is ingested? and not eaten at the same time?

  28. What is the most nutritious or healthy way of preparing nuts and seeds? Soaked and eaten raw? roasted (something about glycation w/c is toxic)? Boiled?

  29. Is it just salads we should be adding fats? What about vegetable soups? Vegetable stirfries? Steamed greens and vegetagles?

    1. Hi, Samantha! There are several nutrients that are fat-soluble (i.e. fat aids in their absorption), most notably vitamins A, D, E, and K. Yes, these nutrients are found in many foods besides just salads, so having a little bit of fat at each meal is a good idea for enhancing nutrient absorption. Since, generally speaking, most whole foods contain varying amounts of all three macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, and fat), in some instances you may not have to put any extra effort in to making sure there is some fat present. Otherwise, adding foods like nuts, seeds, avocado, or olives to your meals can help contribute some fat to boost nutrient absorption. As Dr. Greger mentions in the video above, additions as small as just five walnut halves or one-quarter of an avocado are probably all that is needed to maximize absorption.

      1. Thanks for the reply Lea. I rely on seeds (sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, flax, chia) and peanut butter as my fat source. I’m anaphylactic to treenuts and I don’t use oils in my cooking or baking. Avocados are a rare treat as they are extremely pricey!

  30. What about adding a tablespoon of seeds (sesame, sunflower, pumpkin) to a meal? I typically add a tablespoon of sunflower seeds to my porridge for breakfast, a tablespoon of pumpkin seeds to my hummus sandwich for lunch and sprinkle over a tablespoon of lightly toasted sesame seeds to my evening meal. Would this be sufficient?

  31. Hi there Samantha!

    I think is great your going for seeds as a fat replacement, and actually, they are part of Dr. Greger´s daily dozen.

    As you can see in this video, not all plant-based foods are equal regarding their nutritional value. Among seeds for example, flax is one of the best ones, so you should definitely add them to your daily list (1 daily tablespoon) plus one serving per day of 1/4 of nuts or other seeds. Chia is among my favourites, but you can also try nuts or peanut butter.

    Hope this helps.

    1. Hi Janeth,

      Thanks for your reply!
      Yes I am very familiar with Dr. Greger´s daily dozen. I have his book How Not To Die and the app. I already add a tablespoon of ground flaxseeds to my breakfast. I have been using flax for years so I know the wonderful benefits it holds. I make my own peanut butter and use chia seeds in making gluten free sourdough bread. I have to avoid all treenuts as I’m Anaphylactic. I do not use any oils and now avoid coconut milk, creams etc. I used to make coconut yogurt but since learning about coconut milk from Dr Greger’s video’s, I make soy yogurt instead.

  32. Greetings, thank you soooooooooo much for your critical service to humanity and animals too, we are so thankful for you.
    I have a question about absoption. I have been trying to go on a whole plant based diet with not oil —not even olive oil. I am a little concerned if I am absobing enough.
    In a nutshell, how much fat/oil should I be getting with a meal? 5 walnut halves yes but what else? How many nuts would be enough? Or would a tea spoon of olive oil be enough?
    Also do we need to get the fat/oil content with the meal or can we have nuts once a day and assume that will be enough for absoption through out the day?
    What should I be practically doing to make sure I am getting the benefits through absoption.
    With deepest respect

  33. Hello Lale Ann. Many thanks for your comment!

    Keep in mind that nuts and seeds are whole plant foods which have lots of fat in them. Dr. Greger has a bunch of videos showing that nuts and seeds are health-promoting foods. (Especially check out videos on flax). Dr. Greger recommends about 1/4 cup nuts (or 2 T nut butter) and 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed a day, about what other respected nutrition experts recommend. This is not a large part of a diet, but still part of a healthy diet. The point is: There is a difference on how oils vs nuts impact your body. So, you could say add some whole nuts to your veggies instead of oil and get the best of all worlds: A little extra fat to absorb extra nutrients from veggies and yet be consuming wholesome health-promoting food. On the other hand, if you really truly are eating a diet made up of whole plant foods and you occasionally want to add a small amount of oil, that probably isn’t going to hurt (unless you have coronary artery disease. ( check out Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Caldwell Esselstyn).

    Hope that helps!

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