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Cooking with Olive Oil and Consuming Lectins

 

Olive Oil | The Paleo Diet

Dr. Cordain,

First of all, I can’t thank you enough for The Paleo Diet you wrote. I must have “sold” your book and made like 30+ people buy it. Inspired by your book, I not only helped change my life and that of my girlfriend, but also saved my mother’s life whose liver function was deteriorating through requesting that she goes off most ridiculous medications and shift to a Paleo diet.

Further, inspired by your book my girlfriend (Japanese and I) started a company in the center of anti-paleo culture – Japan, a highly civilized country that is rich in processed rice, noodles, extreme amounts of legumes and soy, and extreme amounts of salt and processed food.  She transitioned her existing beauty salon business into the first in Japan true Paleo based nutrition health company. we researched all over Japan and minor stuff that calls itself Paleo here is for instance advocating dairy and beans.

I developed love and passion for people of Japan. They’re extremely polite, clean, educated, and hospitable people. We simply want to spread love and education to the people of Japan, not make gazillion dollars, and thanks to your book.  For instance, I can see now why Asian, and Japanese people in particular are so extremely skinny and not in a good way, ie guys have no muscle mass and mostly much shorter than an average European guy. Much equipment TOP weight in a gym where I work out is typically my warm-up weight in US and I’m by no means a very strong man.

Advancement of our Paleo based nutrition business in Japan can revolutionize this country of over 120 million people, and through it, all of Asia. it’s based in Osaka. JP.

In our further studies we developed a couple of questions that perhaps you can help with.

One is that you mention Lectins in the book as part of bad stuff in legumes.  however i discovered that lectins are richly found in many fruits and vegetables, such as tomatoes or cucumbers for instance.  if its bad in legumes wouldn’t it be also important to research the levels of lectins in other foods supported by Paleo?

Another is the matter of cooking with olive oil.  my understanding is that Omega 3 is easily oxidized substance. that is Olive oil for instance, when broken down at high temperatures can actually become a poisonous broken down cancerogenic substance and no longer have much value of Omega 3 when fried.  is that not the case?  that’s why lots of Omega 3 manufacturers pride themselves in “cold pressed” stuff for instance.

If you plan on writing an updated version of your book in the future, I’d like to volunteer as your “research slave” to help you with any future writing for free. You cannot imagine how many lives you’ve changed or saved with your book. The implementation of your book on real group of people in Japan who are our existing clients can be also used as an amazing research material of impact of Paleo on otherwise “skinny” people. In US we equate skinny with healthy because we’re so fat. but here, many issues arise such as impact to skin quality and beauty, mental health, horrible teeth, diabetes, stomach cancer, high stress and lack of energy, just to name a few, strokes, high cholesterol.

I’d be happy to work with you to supply you all and any research outcomes. we even have doctors lined up in Tokyo and Osaka who can perform pre and post blood tests and other analysis to monitor impact of Paleo on their overall health.

Thank you!

James

Dr. Cordain’s Response:

Hi James,

Many thanks for your wonderful personal story, and for promoting “Paleo” in Japan.  Let me answer your questions:

“One is that you mention Lectins in the book as part of bad stuff in legumes.  however i discovered that lectins are richly found in many fruits and vegetables, such as tomatoes or cucumbers for instance.  if its bad in legumes wouldn’t it be also important to research the levels of lectins in other foods supported by Paleo?”

Indeed, lectins are nearly ubiquitous in almost all plant foods, but unless they can bind gut tissue or get into the bloodstream, they generally have few adverse health effects.  Lectins have been poorly studied in humans, particularly from actual in vivo (in the living body) experiments, so we really don’t know their precise effects, but must rely upon data from animal and tissue (in vitro) studies.  If legumes or beans have been pressured cooked (as have most commercially available canned legumes) then the lectin content is typically low or absent.  Nevertheless, even canned legumes/beans contain other antinutrients which may have adverse health effects such as saponins, protease inhibitors, and others that I have detailed in my new book, The Paleo Answer.

“Another is the matter of cooking with olive oil.  my understanding is that Omega 3 is easily oxidized substance. that is Olive oil for instance, when broken down at high temperatures can actually become a poisonous broken down cancerogenic substance and no longer have much value of Omega 3 when fried.  is that not the case?  that’s why lots of Omega 3 manufacturers pride themselves in “cold pressed” stuff for instance.”.

Actually, olive oil contains virtually no omega three fatty acids (alpha linolenic acid, or 18:3n3), and the predominant fatty is oleic acid (18:1n9), a monounsaturated fatty acid.  For the fatty acid composition of all vegetable oils, see my website: http://thepaleodiet.com/vegetable-oil-fatty-acid-composition/.  The fewer the number of double bonds, the less likely is an oil to break down at high temperatures and yield toxic compound.  Because olive oil contains a single double bond (i.e. is monounsaturated) it is fairly stable under most cooking conditions.  All oils will breakdown under high and long enough heat.  Hence, if you cook with olive oil try to keep the heat low and limit the cooking time.

Cordially,

Loren Cordain, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus

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5 Comments on "Cooking with Olive Oil and Consuming Lectins"

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  1. Pone says:

    But olive oil does contain significant amounts of Omega-6 fatty acids. As a polyunsaturated fat, I thought that these were the ones that are subject to rapid oxidation?

    One point would be that we probably shouldn’t use Olive Oil as a major food source simply because the amount of Omega-6 would accumulate.

    A second question is related to using Olive Oil in cooking. At what temperature might we start to see oxidation of the Omega-6? I assume this would be a different temperature than the smoking point?

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  3. Freddy Jannusch says:

    The main type of fat found in all kinds of olive oil is monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). MUFAs are actually considered a healthy dietary fat. If your diet emphasizes unsaturated fats, such as MUFAs and polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), instead of saturated fats and trans fats, you may gain certain health benefits. :`^”

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