4

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Is Omega-6 the dividing line?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 15, 2011 at 6:00 PM

Is the issue of vegetables oils and excess omega-6 to omega-3 ratio the issue that separates Paleo/Primal/WAPF/Ancestral from other whole food or other ways of eating?

Is there another issue that you think fills this role better?

It also seems like to me that the omega-6 issue is the one where the most progress could be made. People have heard that too much sugar or too much HFCS can be a problem and have heard about gluten issues, but the omega-6 issue hasn't seemed to make its way as well into the mainstream.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on December 16, 2011
at 01:10 PM

Land whales are paleo! Seriously, those Wal-mart land-whales are usually people who don't give much thought to what they eat beyond its entertainment value. When people start to care about health and nutrition, that's when the fear sets in, because the MSM is very good at fear propaganda. Until they do deep reseaarch, its a difficult obstacle for many. In spite of Atkins allowing me to lose weight and go off meds over 10 years ago, the fear of fat/cholesterol/heart disease constantly bombarding me, made me quit. It took 10 years of getting fatter and sicker to motivate me to look deeper.

7d64d3988de1b0e493aacf37843c5596

(2861)

on December 16, 2011
at 03:12 AM

Another thought I had is that I think technically SAD is considered high in meat and saturated fat. A lot of those land-whales you see stumbling around in Wal-mart eat a lot of meat and saturated fat. Would you put them on "our" side of the Paleo/Ancestral line?

3bad4b0b105bf44d7650e7fdfbe15cbd

(860)

on December 16, 2011
at 02:51 AM

It's quite possible that saturated fat and meat intake is a minor piece of the puzzle. Beyond a small amount that provides nutrients like B12, more amounts may be negligibly beneficial/harmful. The elimination of NADs, as you state, may very well confer most of the benefits. E.g. the most important points that Dr. Harris lists when he summarizes his version of the diet (http://www.archevore.com/get-started/) almost entirely deal with elimination. His argument that homo sapiens evolved in such a vast array of biomes that we likely don't require any single specific food is compelling.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on December 15, 2011
at 10:43 PM

This ain't your daddy's paleo!

7d64d3988de1b0e493aacf37843c5596

(2861)

on December 15, 2011
at 07:29 PM

A potential problem I could see with that (saturated fat) is that it would kinda leave people like Cordain and Devany completely on the other side. While I don’t agree with many of their views, they do seem to be kind of Paleo/Ancestral and they would probably agree about avoiding the NADs and that sort of thing.

76f3ead3aa977d876bcf3331d35a36e9

(4620)

on December 15, 2011
at 07:04 PM

Change "10x worse" to "100x worse" and I agree with you fully.

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5 Answers

6
A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on December 15, 2011
at 06:10 PM

I think the difference is the lack of fear of meat and saturated fat. Sure n3/n6 balance, avoiding sugar and cereal grains are really important. But what keeps people away from paleo is the fear of meat and fat.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on December 15, 2011
at 10:43 PM

This ain't your daddy's paleo!

7d64d3988de1b0e493aacf37843c5596

(2861)

on December 16, 2011
at 03:12 AM

Another thought I had is that I think technically SAD is considered high in meat and saturated fat. A lot of those land-whales you see stumbling around in Wal-mart eat a lot of meat and saturated fat. Would you put them on "our" side of the Paleo/Ancestral line?

7d64d3988de1b0e493aacf37843c5596

(2861)

on December 15, 2011
at 07:29 PM

A potential problem I could see with that (saturated fat) is that it would kinda leave people like Cordain and Devany completely on the other side. While I don’t agree with many of their views, they do seem to be kind of Paleo/Ancestral and they would probably agree about avoiding the NADs and that sort of thing.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on December 16, 2011
at 01:10 PM

Land whales are paleo! Seriously, those Wal-mart land-whales are usually people who don't give much thought to what they eat beyond its entertainment value. When people start to care about health and nutrition, that's when the fear sets in, because the MSM is very good at fear propaganda. Until they do deep reseaarch, its a difficult obstacle for many. In spite of Atkins allowing me to lose weight and go off meds over 10 years ago, the fear of fat/cholesterol/heart disease constantly bombarding me, made me quit. It took 10 years of getting fatter and sicker to motivate me to look deeper.

3bad4b0b105bf44d7650e7fdfbe15cbd

(860)

on December 16, 2011
at 02:51 AM

It's quite possible that saturated fat and meat intake is a minor piece of the puzzle. Beyond a small amount that provides nutrients like B12, more amounts may be negligibly beneficial/harmful. The elimination of NADs, as you state, may very well confer most of the benefits. E.g. the most important points that Dr. Harris lists when he summarizes his version of the diet (http://www.archevore.com/get-started/) almost entirely deal with elimination. His argument that homo sapiens evolved in such a vast array of biomes that we likely don't require any single specific food is compelling.

4
724ba4f39f7bbea7f74b45c0a79615f2

on December 15, 2011
at 06:25 PM

I totally agree, I think that avoiding Omega-6 is huge and is something most people understand the least. Some paleo/wafp writers talk about how people think that vegetable oil is "healthy." I'm not sure that's true, I just think people don't think about it. They know olive oil is good, and that's about as far as it goes. And like Knarf said, people know to supplement Omega-3s, but that's not going to make up for a massive OD of Omega-6.

So yes, I think that's the thing that, when pushed into the mainstream, will do way more good than we realize. Currently we have people choosing calamari over fries because they're afraid of carbs (don't even mock, this totally used to be me). The killer oils in both are 10x worse for you than a dose of potatoes.

76f3ead3aa977d876bcf3331d35a36e9

(4620)

on December 15, 2011
at 07:04 PM

Change "10x worse" to "100x worse" and I agree with you fully.

4
Bfa1c9eacfc94a1b62f3a39b574480c6

(3700)

on December 15, 2011
at 06:13 PM

I would have to respectfully disagree and say that the omega debate has made its way into the mainstream.

For most folks I have the sense that it's hands down, omega-3's are (in some way, whether they've read the research or not) beneficial to overall health and well being. What may not be as apparent is the quality/form of omega-3 supplementation or ingestion, and also overall intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids. That I feel is number one with the masses- people generally think omega-3's are beneficial.

Number two- I sense that people are somewhat misguided in the percentage intake of 3's vs. 6's. Supplementation with 3's does give space for more 6 consumption, but it's not a free-for-all. Polyunsaturated fats are necessary, but it shouldn't take up the majority of our fat calories. You can tote having a 1:1 ratio, but if your fat composition is 90% polyunsaturated, you'd be asking for a higher dose of inflammation. Ratio matters, but total amount matters as well.

Number three- I also feel the public still hasn't gotten over vegetable oils. They also may be misinformed or ignorant about the omega-6 content of vegetable oils and the processing methods they go through. It's not a beautiful process by any means.

Number four- Hidden crap in processed foods. You can read all you want about omega-3's and supplement, but if one is unaware of how foods are made (especially processed stuff), one might just be pissing in the wind with supplementation.

Conclusion- I think the issue is out there, but the way folks are addressing it may not be completely correct. I'm no expert, but that's my general sense of things. Hope this helps.

1
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on December 16, 2011
at 03:01 AM

Well, sort of. CW says you shouldn't eat fats, and it says you should eat fish, but then it scares you away from fish with stories of mercury (which is true, but fish also contains enough selenium to flush out most of the mercury.)

So in that sense, (and I'm not pushing Conventional [un]Wisdom), at face value if you stay away from saturated fats, and eats fish, then your n6:n3 ratio goes down. Except that it's still something like 10:1 or 6:1 in practice, and they push crap like canola and carbs, and they used to push margarine.

The only thing grains, industrial oils, and crap-in-a-box are healthy for is the wallets of their respective industry.

So forget'em and do what's right for you.

0
Medium avatar

on December 16, 2011
at 03:15 AM

I like your smart and well phrased question.

I would hope to nudge the discussion away from "Which single thing is the worst?"

Omega 6/Omega 3 balance is a big issue, for sure. Concerning which, this comment addressed to those who advocate ultra-high Omega 3 dosages: Cut back on Omega 6 wherever you can. Cut back on those big time. Doing so requires less Omega 3.

Sugar? Reduce it, remove it, stop it. Wherever you can.

In the bigger picture, there are at least a thousand things worth not doing. Would anyone agree that avoiding bad stuff is only part of the picture? That focus misses the importance of those affirmative things that sane, healthy mammals do to affirm their very nature.

Which of course is a much bigger conversation. Let's have that conversation here.

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