The Omega 6/Omega 3 Ratio Simplified

Omega 6_3

In this article I want to stress the importance of the omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. This is a very confusing topic and I have yet to master understanding it but I want to pass on what I know. The confusing part is the science. There are a lot of acronyms and science-y words that confuse my poor uneducated brain. But, what I can gather is that the consumption of too many omega-6s compared to omega-3s is no bueno.

Please note the quote below from PubMed.gov.

“Excessive amounts of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and a very high omega-6/omega-3 ratio, as is found in today’s Western diets, promote the pathogenesis of many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, whereas increased levels of omega-3 PUFA (a low omega-6/omega-3 ratio) exert suppressive effects.”

What most people don’t know is that we, as Americans, are eating too many foods high in omega-6. Omega-6 is found in commercially raised and grain fed animals. Beef, pork, chicken, and fish that is not wild caught or pastured is throwing off your Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio. But, this is nothing compared to the amount of omega-6 we get from industrial seed and vegetable oil!

Notice the bottom five oils on the list below. They happen to also be the most commonly used oils for frying.

Type of oil Omega-3 Omega-6 Monounsaturated fat Saturated fat
Flaxseed oil 57 16 18 9
Rapeseed oil 10 22 62 6
Soybean oil 7 54 24 15
Walnut oil 5 51 28 16
Olive oil 1 8 77 14
Corn oil 1 61 25 13
Peanut oil 0 33 49 18
Safflower oil 0 77 13 10
Sesame oil 0 41 46 13
Sunflower oil 0 69 20 11
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture

So, let’s take a look at one of Americas favorite meals, burger and fries. The beef is high in omega-6s and leads to inflammation. The oil the fries are cooked are high in omega-6s and leads to inflammation. And don’t forget the bun itself, made of wheat, leads to inflammation. This is why so many of us are fat and why even more of us are sick.

One thing that sticks out to me is how good people feel when the start a juice cleanse or a vegetarian diet. The reason the feel so good is because they are drastically eliminating the amount of omega-6 they are consuming. These initial results are only temporary but we can address this another time.

Personally, I knew fried foods were bad for you but I thought it was because of the wheat in the batter or breading not because of the oil itself. This breaks my heart because I love french fries.

Besides eliminating fried foods, what is the best way to improve out omega-6/omega-3 ratio? By simply replacing the animal fat you consume, that’s high omega-6, with those high in omega-3. This is done my eating pasture raised or wild caught meat, fish, fowl, and eggs. Yes, replacing farm raised salmon with wild caught salmon means you are consuming fats high in omega-3 rather than omega-6. How can the same animal produce difference qualities of fat? Simple, one is fed GRAINS.

My suggestion: Stop consuming vegetable oils. If you are going to cook in oil use coconut oil. If you want to use oil as topping or for a salad dressing use olive oil. These are the only exceptions.

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  1. […] Fats to avoid: Soybean oil, canola oil, corn oil, industrial seed oils and, if possible, animal fat from conventionally (not pastured and not grass fed) raised cattle. To understand why this is important, check out my article on the Omega 3 – Omega 6 ratio. […]

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