Wellness Pathway #249 Healthy Food Hazards

Perhaps you saw the news that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced it will now allow a “qualified health claim” on olive oil labels. The claim, based on “limited and not conclusive scientific evidence,” is that “eating about two tablespoons (23 grams) of olive oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease due to the monounsaturated fat in olive oil.”

Unfortunately, that’s the kind of claim that lends itself to misinterpretation. I remember when I lost 65 pounds, back in 1998. I became very conscious about the health benefits of avoiding partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. So I was reading labels and eliminating one food after another from my diet. As a result, the weight came off and stayed off with relative ease.

But then something terrible happened. A new health food store came to town, one of those giant national chains with every imaginable brand of organic, healthy foods. It became my favorite place to shop, even though I had to drive across town. And I discovered that other people were making “healthy versions” of all the foods I heretofore eliminated.

So guess what happened? I started eating those foods again, and my weight started to creep back up. It wasn’t until I came up with a new regimen, with new lists of healthy foods, that my calorie consumption and weight went back down.

That’s the hazard of healthy foods. Because we think they’re healthy, or because we see the label “organic,” we think we’re free to eat all we want. But two tablespoons of olive oil contain 240 calories. And it’s easy to consume far more than that if you start using olive oil to cook with, put on your salads, and dip your bread into.

The point of the FDA recommendation is not to start consuming olive oil, but to replace the oils and fats you may now be consuming with olive oil. In other words, they want you to play a zero-net sum game when it comes to calorie consumption. If those 240 calories of healthy olive oil are added to your existing diet, you will gain 20 pounds in a year — making that olive oil a very heart un-healthy food to eat.

I have found that liquid oil in general, including olive oil, is a calorie-dense food that I can do without. I have learned to cook with no or minimal oil, substituting water and seasoning for saut�ing and frying. Since I have also eliminated flour products from my diet, the need to use oil or fat in baking is eliminated. These measures will assist anyone who wants to reach and maintain their optimal weight.

Coaching Inquiries: Do you consume oil on a regular basis? How could you substitute olive oil for what you use now? Would you be willing to eliminate oil altogether? What changes would that provoke in your cooking and your diet?

To reply to this Pathway, use our Feedback Form. To learn more about our Wellness Coaching programs and to arrange for a complimentary wellness coaching session, use our Contact Form or Email Bob.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
2010-2011 President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org

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