13

votes

Why is Paleo ok with oils?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 24, 2012 at 7:00 PM

I don't understand why any paleo eaters would use any oils (including olive and coconut), because,

1) You could never get that much oil as a caveman, since it requires massive supply of olives (or whatever), serious processing, etc.

2) The omega ratios on all oils (except flax) are no good. Olive oil is 13:1 in favor of omega 6.

Why are any oils pushed as ok? How is this justified as "paleo"?

Matthew

6ba6dc54fccbb9e01a07595137cecfa2

(92)

on April 25, 2012
at 03:00 AM

Oil and lard are both fats.

6ba6dc54fccbb9e01a07595137cecfa2

(92)

on April 25, 2012
at 02:58 AM

If one wants the body to be a fat burning machine then carbs must be limited.This limitation is subjective to the amount of physical activity.One can go lower than 100 to maximize fat burning.

6ba6dc54fccbb9e01a07595137cecfa2

(92)

on April 25, 2012
at 02:53 AM

What is not true of carbs?

9ba98ff40c0c4045be98682fa3e4d819

(141)

on April 25, 2012
at 02:36 AM

Most practical science is built around heuristics. That's how I view "paleo"; as a kind of model or paradigm. General guidelines and approximations that converge on "paleo" human's solution to the nutritional challenge.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 25, 2012
at 12:59 AM

Almost none are available today...I think you can still get something similar to the earliest form of cabbage but that's all I know about.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on April 25, 2012
at 12:47 AM

Do we have any idea which vegetables were around that the HGs ate?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on April 25, 2012
at 12:10 AM

I don't even care that much for coconut butter. I bought 2 pounds via Amazon and I'm still trying to make it through my second pound!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 25, 2012
at 12:10 AM

That's not true of carbs....

1ef2c3bfd6bb37877b02fddc819bebac

(399)

on April 24, 2012
at 10:19 PM

He acknowledges that in the updated version I read, but that's not directly relevant to the OPs question about oil (rather than animal fat) so I left it out. Cordaine's basically says if you can't find grass fed (after acknowledging it is difficult/expensive and including a list of grass fed providers), buy very lean and add oil with the right fat content.

10f2288b00292d97ead2a566af4f72fb

(233)

on April 24, 2012
at 10:17 PM

Coconut oil provides direct fuel for the brain via ketones. I can't think of one negative of adding coconut oil to your diet, Paleo or not. Even people suffering from Alzheimer's/dementia test better after receiving a single dose of coconut oil. And because it's an MCT oil, it is good for people who have had their gallbladder removed, since most fats need the gallbladder for digestion. Just call me the Coconut Oil Queen, lol!!

E7adfe31507efb7c935f618a829f56d6

(1507)

on April 24, 2012
at 10:05 PM

true, but the part that Cordain misses in the first edition of his book is that you can also eat animal fat from animals that are pastured/grass-fed, because the fat profiles will be much better than grain-fed.

D290734f36a9ae03e3f60e0fa088d7ed

(1304)

on April 24, 2012
at 09:02 PM

Haha yeah they do. I've tried it and it isn't really my thing. But some people swear by it. I go for coconut butter instead - lots of fat but you're also eating actual coconut.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on April 24, 2012
at 08:22 PM

But people do advocate guzzling down tbsp's of coconut oil daily... bleh.

7d64d3988de1b0e493aacf37843c5596

(2861)

on April 24, 2012
at 08:21 PM

Omega ratios of particular foods are kind of pointless. It is the net ratio at the end of the day (or the end of the week) that matters. Just minimize daily omega-6 first, and if your ratio is still off then eat more fish or supplement some omega-3. If you cook with oil, definitely go with what has the least total polys (neither omega-6 nor omega-3 stands up to cooking). Saturated fats are the most stable.

Ffff513ac686cd18c840ee12c79357ed

(1183)

on April 24, 2012
at 07:38 PM

Paleo doesn't have to be a reinactment.

B61f6513a155cd874b42efdad55312f6

(231)

on April 24, 2012
at 07:28 PM

one of the reasons I cook mostly with bacon grease, and why I'm asking them to give me the back and kidney fat on my next side of pork I order.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on April 24, 2012
at 07:17 PM

Great question I am excited to hear these answers.

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12 Answers

11
D290734f36a9ae03e3f60e0fa088d7ed

(1304)

on April 24, 2012
at 07:29 PM

It's not okay with oils. It's okay with certain fats. For example, coconut oil is good because it is mostly medium chain fatty acids (saturated fat). Butter is good because it is also a saturated fat that is rich in vitamin K2 (if grass fed). I don't think anyone recommends going nuts on oil (no pun intended) because of the inflammation/omega 6 problem. Olive oil is a special case because of other health properties, but mostly I think people here recommend boosting your fat (especially saturated fat and omega 3 fat) intake rather than your oil intake.

10f2288b00292d97ead2a566af4f72fb

(233)

on April 24, 2012
at 10:17 PM

Coconut oil provides direct fuel for the brain via ketones. I can't think of one negative of adding coconut oil to your diet, Paleo or not. Even people suffering from Alzheimer's/dementia test better after receiving a single dose of coconut oil. And because it's an MCT oil, it is good for people who have had their gallbladder removed, since most fats need the gallbladder for digestion. Just call me the Coconut Oil Queen, lol!!

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on April 25, 2012
at 12:10 AM

I don't even care that much for coconut butter. I bought 2 pounds via Amazon and I'm still trying to make it through my second pound!

D290734f36a9ae03e3f60e0fa088d7ed

(1304)

on April 24, 2012
at 09:02 PM

Haha yeah they do. I've tried it and it isn't really my thing. But some people swear by it. I go for coconut butter instead - lots of fat but you're also eating actual coconut.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on April 24, 2012
at 08:22 PM

But people do advocate guzzling down tbsp's of coconut oil daily... bleh.

9
1ef2c3bfd6bb37877b02fddc819bebac

on April 24, 2012
at 07:34 PM

So after reading Cordaine's "The Paleo Diet" I understand it like this... We need fat and if we were hunter gatherers we would get that fat from nuts and from animals. Since we raise our meat, we have altered the type of fat the animals put on, by feeding them grains etc. Since that fat is not in the right form, the goal now is to buy the leanest meat you can, and add oil to your diet, since you have more control over the type of fat in your diet that way.

1ef2c3bfd6bb37877b02fddc819bebac

(399)

on April 24, 2012
at 10:19 PM

He acknowledges that in the updated version I read, but that's not directly relevant to the OPs question about oil (rather than animal fat) so I left it out. Cordaine's basically says if you can't find grass fed (after acknowledging it is difficult/expensive and including a list of grass fed providers), buy very lean and add oil with the right fat content.

E7adfe31507efb7c935f618a829f56d6

(1507)

on April 24, 2012
at 10:05 PM

true, but the part that Cordain misses in the first edition of his book is that you can also eat animal fat from animals that are pastured/grass-fed, because the fat profiles will be much better than grain-fed.

6
631b29d5ab1146e264e91d08103bb72c

on April 24, 2012
at 08:38 PM

First, there are many versions of "paleo" but none should be about a historical recreation of what "caveman" actually did. Instead, "paleo" is simply a marketing tool and an acknowlegment that what "caveman" did is closer to ideal than the typical western diet.

Second, you're right. Many in the "paleo community" inexplicitly push a ton of oils. Nut oils, olive oil, seed oils, etc... all get the green light. I think this is a problem but it is not because "caveman" couldn't or didn't stockpile olives or press flax seed. Instead it is because these oils - and all oils as you point out - have poor fatty acid profiles and easily oxidize.

The best fats are saturated: grass-fed butter, tallow, lard and ghee, coconut oil, duck & goose fat.

These fats are solid so if you need a cold or room temp application olive oil would be fine. As you pointed out, the n-3:n-6 profile is not good but the overall load isn't terrible with EVOO being about 80% MUFA.

9ba98ff40c0c4045be98682fa3e4d819

(141)

on April 25, 2012
at 02:36 AM

Most practical science is built around heuristics. That's how I view "paleo"; as a kind of model or paradigm. General guidelines and approximations that converge on "paleo" human's solution to the nutritional challenge.

5
A3ff262a2686d79789e09a26013901b3

on April 24, 2012
at 07:22 PM

I don't think any oils are "pushed" as you say, it's just that if your going to use some for cooking or paleo baking there are some better than others; like the coconut and olive oil you mention. Also alot of us here are not trying to recreate "paleo times" so we don't generally try to justify anything.

4
3b0b95dfc6dc5c18e535945f4aab0866

on April 24, 2012
at 07:28 PM

At some point, after the technology of fire manipulation was formed, the technology to keep it burning using something other than wood was also discovered. Can't say when, but my gut tells me it was surely in the paleolithic.

During that time, oils from rendered fats would have been discovered to be good not just for eating, but for burning. Its an easy discovery, it should follow shortly from the discovery that cooking meats was a good thing, and watching the fat do cooler things.

So one would gather that at some point an oily substance could be gained from pressed olives. Oil is an easy thing to detect, its slippery, and if you gather enough of it to experiment with by adding fire, success is assured in short order.

Again, I can't speculate very far on how quickly it all arose. Its far from rocket science now, but just which group of our ancestors do you think it was beyond their capability?

2
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 25, 2012
at 12:11 AM

Yes, and cows and broccoli didn't exist in the Paleolithic. We eat those too. This is not a historical re-enactment. This is people using human evolution as a guide to what to eat. Would you feel better if we said they weren't ok and then ate them anyways?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 25, 2012
at 12:59 AM

Almost none are available today...I think you can still get something similar to the earliest form of cabbage but that's all I know about.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on April 25, 2012
at 12:47 AM

Do we have any idea which vegetables were around that the HGs ate?

0
5dd50f78f47b8848d93724d6eb38d4c1

on January 23, 2013
at 05:02 AM

I'm not personally. I don't see adding basically empty calories to food as a smart choice. I eat the fat that comes along naturally in plant and animal foods. Added fat is as bad as addes sugar in my opinion. A little here and there is ok but I wouldn't start liberally pouring it on food.

0
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on January 23, 2013
at 02:23 AM

I think it is a good question. Any edible oil is highly processed, and your typical hunter-gatherer probably didn't harvest enough of anything to turn it into oil. It seems likely that olives and olive oil were only consumed by cultures that could harvest, process, brine, and press olives, which all imply an agrarian society.

It is not really clear how much hunter-gatherers cooked foods to begin with. I am not advocating all of the crazy raw food diets, but if you are talking about how our hunterer-gatherer ancestors ate, I would assume everything was raw or close to it. This totally jives with my notion that the best food to eat is food that is alive or recently alive.

Processed oils are a way for modern humans to approximate the fat and omega 3/6 ratio that our ancestors had. In my opinion, it is more important to approximate the diet than to re-enact the living conditions. Olive oil for example isn't great from an omega ratio perspective, but is a hell of a lot better than other oils and is widely available. I personally use olive oil infrequently, and it is one of the few oils that doesn't give me significant digestive issues.

Ir hunter-gatherers cooked, it is most likely (IMHO) that they roasted things over a fire or used animal drippings. That certainly works for me.

0
C0ddf5f88d3d0cfab0c5d875b0eae9ec

on January 22, 2013
at 08:33 PM

Flax shouldn't be considered the only option for Omega 3, much of the Flax oil in the us is not Extra Virgin (fresh) it spoils really fast if not capped in Nitrogen and kept from light, heat, and oxygen. There is Walnut and Hazlenut (nut oils) and of course the better flax is Camelina. Nice Omega 3 & 6 ratio with lots of anti oxidant rich Vitamin E Alpha and Gamma Tocopherols.

The key is to buy expeller pressed oils, not chemically extracted dead oils.

Olive oil is excellent for many uses, but it doesn't have a high smoke temp rating compared to Hazlenut and Camelina. Which are above 450 deg.

In regards to cavemen, they had mortar and pestles. Their teeth weren't that great. Lots of mashing going on in the old days. LOL

0
D7cc4049bef85d1979efbd853dc07c8e

(4029)

on April 25, 2012
at 01:34 AM

I'd think Paleolithic Man would be impressed with our full use of the coconut as they used the full carcass of a hunted animal.

Is lard an oil?

6ba6dc54fccbb9e01a07595137cecfa2

(92)

on April 25, 2012
at 03:00 AM

Oil and lard are both fats.

0
6ba6dc54fccbb9e01a07595137cecfa2

on April 25, 2012
at 12:06 AM

Paleo diet is a template for the dietary choices of life.

Fat is the fuel and carbs are generally speaking limited to 100 grams.

I love coconut oil and concentrate they are yummy and great fuel.All things are subjective to the individual.The Inuit used blubber from whales and seals as fuel.I prefer coconut oil besides it is easier to get.Pun intended.

6ba6dc54fccbb9e01a07595137cecfa2

(92)

on April 25, 2012
at 02:53 AM

What is not true of carbs?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 25, 2012
at 12:10 AM

That's not true of carbs....

6ba6dc54fccbb9e01a07595137cecfa2

(92)

on April 25, 2012
at 02:58 AM

If one wants the body to be a fat burning machine then carbs must be limited.This limitation is subjective to the amount of physical activity.One can go lower than 100 to maximize fat burning.

0
1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on April 24, 2012
at 09:06 PM

I don't use much oil. I do like some EVOO from time to time. I would eat EVCO but I am allergic...

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