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Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Olive Ya Olives!


When I first started out (career wise), fat-free was phat. Clients would tell me they were afraid to eat foods with just a half a gram of fat. And when I’d say, “eating fat doesn’t make you fat” they’d look at me like I had 2 heads! Thankfully, that fad is over and even better, this low carb craze is loosing steam. Today, quality is coming into focus, including artisan foods and great tasting good-for-you goodies like olive oil – yummy!

Today I included a photo of my nearly empty bottle of Spanish olive oil – obviously I’m a huge fan. It’s not only delicious – it’s a life saver of sorts. Check this out – a 2004 study compared the absorption of disease fighting phytochemicals (those body guard things I’m always referring to) in salads with no oil, a little oil, and a not so stingy amount of oil (think fat free dressing vs. low fat vs. full fat).

Well, guess what? The researchers found that essentially NO absorption occurred without fat (that’s like flushing those fantastic phytochemicals down the toilet - literally). And the greatest absorption occurred with the most fat. In a similar study, salads tossed with 2.5 Tbsp of avocado (that’s about 5-6 g of fat or so) led to 13 times more phytochemical absorption than salads sans avocado.

The take home message – you don’t have to be quite so miserly when it comes to enjoying healthy fats (oil, avocado, nuts and seeds), especially when they’re paired with fresh produce (a pretty dynamic duo if I do say so myself!).

Some of my favorite healthy fat/produce combos include:
-Olive oil and balsamic vinegar drizzled over fresh basil and sliced tomatoes
-Apple wedges dipped in peanut or almond butter (great with a little freshly grated ginger)
-Chopped avocado over black bean soup
-Sliced pears tossed with field greens and chopped walnuts

Ooooh, I’m getting hungry, and that almost empty jar is calling my name….
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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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