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Can you even get too much Omega 6 if you don't eat vegetable oils ?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 05, 2010 at 4:18 PM

If presumed that meat 6:3 isn't that problematic and if you don't use any vegetable oil* (just olive) how can you go over the magical 4% ?

It might be obvious to some but I just don't see it.

EDIT: *Or any other "nonpaleo" food.

15d23403fb836f2b506f4f3ad2c03356

(1219)

on April 06, 2010
at 02:56 PM

If you don't trust the surrogate marker of blood lipids, that's fine but that should be your point. You would than have to explain why you think industrial trans fats are bad (since the principal evidence that they are bad is their effect on blood lipids).

15d23403fb836f2b506f4f3ad2c03356

(1219)

on April 06, 2010
at 02:56 PM

This is not true. There were two research trials published in 2009 and a review by Willet that concluded the opposite of what you are saying. A small amount of CLA may indeed be good, as I said. but, in higher doses, natural trans fats have the same effect on lipids and industrial trans fats. Also, grass-fed meat and dairy has much more trans fat than regular meat and dairy. If you are low-carb and low-PUFA, you might be tempted to get about 1000 calories, if not much more, from these sources. If so, you will be well into the danger zone for nautral trans fats.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on April 06, 2010
at 03:08 AM

Natural trans-fats occur in small amounts and are actually good for you.* So I don't see a problem in basing one's diet on ruminant fats, and the other low-PUFA fats you mentioned. *See for example: http://www.tfx.org.uk/page62.html http://nutrition.suite101.com/article.cfm/natural_trans_fats http://www.kalimaharomatherapist.com/inspiration/Natural%20Trans%20Fats%20Actually%20Have%20Health%20Benefits.doc

C53665c3f012fa1ede91033b08a8a6e7

(2269)

on April 06, 2010
at 01:12 AM

Holy smokes, I had no idea pork was so high in omega-6. Would it matter if the porkers were wild or pastured/free-ranging?

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on April 05, 2010
at 05:11 PM

I don't eat seeds and yeah I forgot to mention nuts :)

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3 Answers

2
E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on April 05, 2010
at 07:00 PM

It's pretty easy to get more than 4% of calories from omega 6. Assuming you eat 2500 calories, 4% is 100 calories, which equals about 11g of fat. It doesn't matter how much omega 3 you're eating, 11g will still be 4% of calories. Of course, if you are eating more omega 3, then your tissue won't reach saturation of omega 6 at 4% of calories, but if you're getting minimal amount of o-3, then that's the point where you can't get any worse in terms of inflammatory action (the excess omega-6 will still cause more oxidation though).

Meat 6:3 is definitely worth attending to. Grassfed meats might be balanced (not sure about chicken), but conventional animals certainly aren't. A pound of pork will give you more than 5g omega 6 easily (of course if you go for a fattier cut, as lots of paleos do, it'll be even more). If you cooked it in (conventional) lard, then that's 10% fat as well).

Assuming you are eating grassfed meat then you're, of course, a lot safer, but if you're eating any nuts or seeds, then breaking 4% calories from omega 6 is a doddle (1oz almond = 3.4g o-6). Pointedly olive oil is almost 10% omega 6, so if you're using that liberally it'll soon add up (2 tablespoons is 2.6g). Another common paleo food that is rather omega-6 heavy is avocado (one is about 3.7g omega 6). Tbh whatever you do you're going to get a decent amount of omega-6, every 700 calories I get from (100g) butter I take in about 2.7g, another two teaspoons of fish oil... (I can't afford grass-fed).

Of course, such amounts might leave you short of 4%, but if you're assuming that a balanced ratio is optimal, then you'd still be substantially short of omega 3. To balance out 6g of omega 6 from meat and some olive oil, you'd need a good 9oz of salmon or 4-5 teaspoons of high strength fish oil.

C53665c3f012fa1ede91033b08a8a6e7

(2269)

on April 06, 2010
at 01:12 AM

Holy smokes, I had no idea pork was so high in omega-6. Would it matter if the porkers were wild or pastured/free-ranging?

1
15d23403fb836f2b506f4f3ad2c03356

(1219)

on April 05, 2010
at 05:29 PM

Practically every source of fat, except fat from ruminants (like cows, goats, sheep), coconut oil, and macadamia nut oil consists of more than 4% omega 6 PUFA.

However, it's not clear that there is any magic to 4%. It's important to retain some semblance of balance between omega 6 and omega 3. It's very hard (and maybe unwise) to do that if you have 10-15 grams of omega 6 per day.

If you eat a higher carb diet, you can eat higher omega 6 foods without consuming too much in absolute terms. This will enable you to correct any imbalance with just a few fish oil pills -- this is a happy place.

If you have a high fat diet, on the other hand, you have to be very careful to avoid over-consuming omega 6s. Low PUFA fats include coconut oil, fat from ruminants, and macadamia nut oil. It's hard to base a diet on these foods though. Also, once at over a thousand calories from dairy, you're getting into high vitamin A territory. Same for eggs. Also, beef fat, dairy, and eggs (especially pasture raised products) all contain a lot of natural trans fat. This type of trans fat is actually good for you at low doses. However, if you're basing a diet on these foods, you will likeley have too much natural trans fat. At high doses, it seems to have results similar to industrial trans fat. Thus, it's very hard to go low-PUFA and low-carb at the same time without running into other problems.

I thread the needle by making sure to get about half my calories each day from starch and half from dairy, eggs, protein, fruits, and vegetables. I am low-PUFA without consuming too much retinol, CLA, or sugar. I also take 1.5-2 grams of fish oil per day.

15d23403fb836f2b506f4f3ad2c03356

(1219)

on April 06, 2010
at 02:56 PM

If you don't trust the surrogate marker of blood lipids, that's fine but that should be your point. You would than have to explain why you think industrial trans fats are bad (since the principal evidence that they are bad is their effect on blood lipids).

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on April 06, 2010
at 03:08 AM

Natural trans-fats occur in small amounts and are actually good for you.* So I don't see a problem in basing one's diet on ruminant fats, and the other low-PUFA fats you mentioned. *See for example: http://www.tfx.org.uk/page62.html http://nutrition.suite101.com/article.cfm/natural_trans_fats http://www.kalimaharomatherapist.com/inspiration/Natural%20Trans%20Fats%20Actually%20Have%20Health%20Benefits.doc

15d23403fb836f2b506f4f3ad2c03356

(1219)

on April 06, 2010
at 02:56 PM

This is not true. There were two research trials published in 2009 and a review by Willet that concluded the opposite of what you are saying. A small amount of CLA may indeed be good, as I said. but, in higher doses, natural trans fats have the same effect on lipids and industrial trans fats. Also, grass-fed meat and dairy has much more trans fat than regular meat and dairy. If you are low-carb and low-PUFA, you might be tempted to get about 1000 calories, if not much more, from these sources. If so, you will be well into the danger zone for nautral trans fats.

1
0637289bb4a0ab314d80fa4de627d395

(1015)

on April 05, 2010
at 05:10 PM

Nuts and seeds of all types are high in Omega 6. If you avoid all the neolithic foods, you will probably have a pretty good ratio.

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on April 05, 2010
at 05:11 PM

I don't eat seeds and yeah I forgot to mention nuts :)

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