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Omega-6 to Omega-3 Ratio in Obesity and Health

Is the modern day composition of food impacting our health?

  • Is our general health affected by the altered composition of our food brought about largely by agricultural and farming practices?
  • Is the growing epidemic of obesity not just a function of more calories in?
  • Is the failure to lose weight not as easy as just calorie restriction?

 

Are all calories equal?

Human beings have evolved on a diet with a ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids of 1-2 to 1. In contrast, the ratio in today’s diet is at least 20:1 or more. This is accordingly to Dr. Artemis Simopoulos, Center for Genetics, Nutrition and Health in Washington, D.C. and is summarized in a recent issue of the Endocrine News.

 

Since post World War II, there has been a drastic change in the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in our diet. This has resulted from the food industry’s drive on the use of oils from corn, safflower, sunflower and soya beans, all are high in omega 6.  An estimated 20% of the American diet comes from soybean oil alone.

 

  • The vast majority of animals do not eat grass but instead are fed grains. This markedly increases the omega 6 content in meat that we consume.
  • Non-grain fed chickens, on the other hand, have more balanced omega-6 to omega-3 ratios. But standard grain fed eggs have high ratio (20:1) of these fatty acids.
  • People in Crete have more balanced fatty acids intake in their diets (use of olive oil, plants rich in omega-3 fatty acids, non-grained fed livestock including chickens). They have lower mortality rates from heart disease and cancer and live longer.

 

Being mindful of what we eat will certainly impact our general health and weight and may influence fertility.

 

Indeed, not all calories are equal!