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How much to worry about Omega-6 in beef, arachidonic acid in egg, etc.

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  • How much to worry about Omega-6 in beef, arachidonic acid in egg, etc.

    Hi. I'm at least pre-diabetic and have pretty much cut out all grains, legumes and dairy since I went Primal last month. I've been buying grass-fed beef to get the better fats, i.e. less omega-6 and more omega-3. I get the impression not too many members here eat grass-fed exclusively, and maybe I should not worry about it so much? Or maybe I have the wrong impression (I see people mention "steak" but not grass-fed steak, etc.).

    Is it enough to cut out grains and veg oils to reduce Omega-6, or does the grass-fed beef route (and pasture chickens, pork) make a significant further difference? I can get grass-fed ground beef for $5/lb but a pasture-raised chicken in my area costs around $19-$23, while I can get a conventional one at Safeway for about 1/4 that.

    Also, should I worry about arachidonic acid in egg yolks? I read that is pro-inflammatory. I usually just eat the whites and would eat the yolks too now since I'm not so concerned about saturated fats (I'm learning) if it wasn't for the AA.

    Thanks to anyone who can advise.

    **EDIT**
    I just read that the Omega-6 is about the same in grass fed/grain-fed, but omega-3 is way higher in grass-fed. So the benefit is more omega-3, not less 6. My question stands though.
    Last edited by Viking; 08-06-2010, 08:15 PM. Reason: Correction.

  • #2
    No, the amount of omega's in beef is pretty insignificant (net accumulation) in the big picture. Plus, I've seen better omega balance in grain fed bison than grass fed, so it isn't that cut and dry.

    Your cherry picking nutritional data or CW that funnels a philosophy that inhibits rational thought. AA (arachidonic acid) is an omega 6, and primal conventional wisdom dictates that AA (arachidonic acid) is bad, which is what your worried about, and because egg has AA, you've come to question whether eggs are a food that you should consider eating.

    Arachidonic acid is vital for the repair of skeletal muscle and it is also the body's principal building block for the production of prostaglandins which involve inflammation that is necessary for growth. If your trying to build muscle and reduce body fat then AA is your friend. To vilify AA is not very sensible considering it's an essential fat and vital to the brain as much as DHA as far as life is concerned. Basically, building a platform that renders eggs nutritional "BAD GUYS" is not seeing the big picture. I have to admit I'm seeing some pretty biased, one sided primal CW that is building with alarming frequency. in my opinion of course.
    Last edited by Chefgerry; 08-06-2010, 09:45 PM.
    Whether you think you can..... or you think you can't..... your 100 % correct.

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    • #3
      You have to look at the big picture. Keep omega-6 pufas to below 4% of your daily fat intake. Have enough omega-3 to maintain a healthy 6:3 ratio. There's room for grain fed meat and whole eggs in such a diet, especially if you supplement with fish oil
      Four years Primal with influences from Jaminet & Shanahan and a focus on being anti-inflammatory. Using Primal to treat CVD and prevent stents from blocking free of drugs.

      Eat creatures nose-to-tail (animal, fowl, fish, crustacea, molluscs), a large variety of vegetables (raw, cooked and fermented, including safe starches), dairy (cheese & yoghurt), occasional fruit, cocoa, turmeric & red wine

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      • #4
        Thanks Chefgerry and Peril for your replys.

        Chefgerry, my question about AA was more about balance than trying to vilify AA.

        Peril, can you tell me how you calculate how much omega-6 is in foods; what's your source of that data? Thanks!

        I found this article by Mark. I wish I had seen it before posting! I searched the forum on the AA topic but failed to search the rest of the site. My bad.
        http://www.marksdailyapple.com/arachidonic-acid/

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        • #5
          Sorry Viking, but I've never counted or calculated anything about my food, except to measure quantities when cooking. I just avoid the worst sources of omega-6 and trust that will keep me under 4%
          Four years Primal with influences from Jaminet & Shanahan and a focus on being anti-inflammatory. Using Primal to treat CVD and prevent stents from blocking free of drugs.

          Eat creatures nose-to-tail (animal, fowl, fish, crustacea, molluscs), a large variety of vegetables (raw, cooked and fermented, including safe starches), dairy (cheese & yoghurt), occasional fruit, cocoa, turmeric & red wine

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          • #6
            I try to avoid the AA in both grain-fed beef and egg yolks because I have severe osteoarthritis, and I try to control inflammation and pain with my WOE. I've been able to get off all meds (after 20 years!) as a result.

            I eat exclusively grass fed (bison usually rather than beef), and I also try to limit myself to egg whites to avoid the AA.

            It might not make any difference to someone without inflammatory issues, but I definitely feel pain if I eat whole eggs (which I prefer and would love to be able to eat all the time).

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            • #7
              Can you afford grass-fed meats? If so, then I can't see any reason to *not* eat them. I think most people have difficulty coming up with that much cash each month for food. You can make a lot of progress on supermarket brand meats, chicken, fish, and eggs, and doing whatever else your preferred version of paleo/primal/neanderthin/MLB/etc recommends. Whether or not meats are organic/grass-fed is one of the last variables to tune, IMO.

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              • #8
                I remember looking at the numbers of omega 6 in most of my meats early on, and it was a pretty insignificant amount, enough to be balanced out by the salmon pills I take anyway.

                I think buying grass fed has a little more to do with the fact that ranchers who are grass feeding and finishing, like organic farmers, are smaller operations and generally more committed to putting out a healthy product. I feel safer eating rendered fat from game and grass fed than I would factory raised, simply because all of those "toxins of convenience (the meds/hormones pumped into the livestock in liue of giving them proper living conditions) are generally not present in pastured animals provided by health conscious ranchers.

                I'm not sure about this, but I *think* that a lot of the toxins present in grains are fat soluble as well.

                Overall, I'd say the 3:6 balance is low on the list of reasons in favour of eating pastured beef.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by emmie View Post
                  I've been able to get off all meds (after 20 years!) as a result.
                  That is so fantastic congratulations!

                  OP I wouldn't worry too much about it, personally I try to balance things out by upping my fish intake and taking fish oil capsules. I have a little rule now that if I eat pork or bacon or too many nuts I have to have oily fish as the basis of one of my other meals that day. I don't calculate exact amounts of anything but I like to think that my simply little strategy keeps my ratios in a healthy place. However as a pre-diabetic you need to be more careful than most and you're doing the right thing by looking into it. I think you are already going to make progress in leaps and bounds just by cutting out the cereals, dairy, veg oils etc. Have you any inflammatory symptoms that you could use as a guide to how well you're getting on with your fat intake? My mum jmodulates her diet based on her arthritis, if she has a flare up she knows she's doing something wrong. She figured out that she needed to cut out wheat, sugar and dairy just by doing that which I think it kinda cool.
                  My primal adventures:
                  http://foodfloraandfelines.blogspot.com/
                  Cooking, nutrition, gardening, foraging, preserving, photography

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                  • #10
                    There is more omega 6 in 12 almonds than a 32oz steak.

                    There is also more omega 6 in grass fed than conventional beef for the exact same reason there is more omega 3.
                    Don't be a paleotard...

                    http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/nut...oxidation.html

                    http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/nut...torage-qa.html

                    http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/fat...rn-fat-qa.html

                    http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/nut...-you-need.html

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                    • #11
                      There is more omega 3 in gress fed beef. There is about .02 g of omega 3 in 100g of conventional beef. Pastured beef has 10X times that amount or .2g per 100g... or still nothing.

                      Worrying about omegas in beef is not worth the effort.

                      There are important issues regarding pastured vs. conventional animal products but omega content is not one of them.
                      Last edited by chima_p; 08-07-2010, 10:38 AM.
                      Don't be a paleotard...

                      http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/nut...oxidation.html

                      http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/nut...torage-qa.html

                      http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/fat...rn-fat-qa.html

                      http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/nut...-you-need.html

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks everyone for your excellent feedback. I'm re-thinking the grass-fed beef thing some. There is a lot of propaganda out there.

                        chima_p: Thanks for the info. Actually conventional beef has much more Omega-6 than grass fed, but I see from your point about the total Omega fats that it may be less significant than I was imagining.

                        Khrystyna: good idea about eating fish/fish oil when taking in Omega-6 sources. It seems so obvious now....

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                        • #13
                          As mentioned by others, there is little Ω6 in grain fed beef.....but there is more saturated fat overall. Grassfed animals are leaner.

                          ITA with Khrystyna on the fish oil. I take enough to balance the Ω6 in any given meal....and it's usually not a lot. nutritiondata.com is a great tracker for EFA ratios.



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