Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Omega 6, Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes

Omega 3 and Omega 6 are lipids... EFA's (essential fatty acids). We cannot manufacture them in our bodies; we must get both of them from foods. We hear a lot about Omega 3 from fish oils, but we seldom hear very much about Omega 6 in anything, whether food sources, news, or health warnings.

It is not only important that we get both Omega 3 and 6 in our foods, but it is very important that we get them in the correct ratios. Research scientists recommend ratios varying from 5:1 to 10:1 omega-6 to omega-3, but some experts suggest a ratio of between 1:1 and 4:1 as being optimal. The average in the US often is between 30:1 and 40:1!

ScienceDaily reports a study now linking excessive Omega 6 coupled with insufficient Omega 3 to increasing obesity in generations, and metabolic disorders like insulin resistance (which is the first step in developing Type 2 Diabetes). Over the last 40 years the amount of Omega 6 we consume has increased over 250%, while the amount of Omega 3 we consume has dropped by 40%, increasing the ratio dangerously.

When the intake of Omega 3 & 6 is unbalanced, it can have serious long-term effect on human health.

Where do we get Omega 6? Mainly from corn (maize) and wheat, which are themselves consumed in large quantities by the farmed (CAFO) animals eaten by humans. (Half our lipid intake comes from meat and dairy products.) We also get Omega 6 from food oils like palm, soybean, rapeseed (Canola), and sunflower.

Where do we get Omega 3? Omega 3's are mainly present in grass, so any grass-fed-only animal (including chickens, and their eggs) will be high in Omega 3. Other sources are fatty fish like salmon, sardines and mackerel.

I do not believe the Obesity Crisis is just due to eating too many calories, but due to eating too many of the wrong calories. Since I severely cut my Omega 6 intake several months ago to a better balance with Omega 3, I have lost well over 25 pounds even though my daily caloric intake is now higher. 

So I have to question why 'they' keep pushing 6-11 servings a day of grain products (Omega 6) on us? Why 'they' keep saying grain-fed beef and grain-fed chickens (mostly from CAFO's) are healthy for us? (Duh. They are cheaper to grow because they are heavily subsidized, and they are highly profitable.)


  1. I also hate the way grain-fed is highlighted on the meat labels as if it is a healthy option. Hmmm. I really enjoy your informative and thought provoking posts. Inspirational too.

  2. Thanks. I don't see anything BUT CAFO grain-fed meats in the aisles here, and seldom even in the health-food stores where they tout 'hormone and antibiotic free' but not grass-fed. Sigh.


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