Should We Eighty-six Omega-6s?


It would be nice not be concerned or "bogged down" about omega-6 fats, but they inundate the food we eat, including the so-called heart-healthy foods ["The Right Way to Get Your Omega-3s and -6s,"].

Most omega-6 fats come from vegetable oils: cottonseed oil, corn oil, and soybean oil. Check the ingredients in your margarine, mayonnaise and salad dressing and you'll likely find one of those oils. Oils low in omega-6 fat are olive oil, flax oil and canola oil. Recently, there has been a great deal of attention on the Japanese diet and the health benefits of their high omega-3 fat intake. But just as important, the Japanese diet is low in omega-6 fats, a significant point not usually mentioned. You need a balance of these two fats for optimal health. The omega-6 fat issue is especially important in the USA, because the great majority of Americans do not eat enough of the right kinds of omega-3 fats, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which are found in fish. Americans average an intake of 85 milligrams of these omegas, which meets only 13% of the international recommended intake of 650 milligrams per day. Notably, omega-6 fats compete with omega-3 fats, which have a negative impact on our health. Yes, we need to be concerned about omega-6 fats.

Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD

Ultimate Omega-3 Diet