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Omega 3s and Polyunsaturated fats

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  • Omega 3s and Polyunsaturated fats

    Ok so I have been trying to read up on Mark's articles about omega 3 fats and then about fats in general. What I didn't understand and still have an issue with is that there are transfats, saturated fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Ok great, got that down I think. Trans are awful.

    I am confused where omega 3s fall under all this? I though poly were bad as well, yet some quick research online said omega 3s come from the poly fats. I guess I just don't have a basic understanding of how you can determine if foods have more or less omega 3s in them.

    Also which fats are the best? I'm still slightly confused even after reading the fats articles. Are Polys actually good? I know saturated is the best... but I'm still confused about the unsaturated stuff. Any help would be appreciated, thank you.

  • #2
    The thing with omega 3 is you want to balance omega 3 and omega 6. You should have a balance of around 1 omega 3 to 4 omega 6 or less. Most people get way too much omega 6 compared to omega 3 in their diet. Oily fish is the best source of omega 3s and if you eat it once a day you should be fine, regarding omega 3/omega 6.
    Karin

    A joyful heart is good medicine

    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. - Jim Elliot

    Mmmmm. Real food is good.

    My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread29685.html

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    • #3
      Read this: Primal Wisdom: The Practically Primal Guide to Conventional Beef, Part 3: Nutritional composition
      It should help a bit.

      You do want to keep polys to 4% of total calories or less. I try to keep it that low but it doesn't always work. I supplement with fish oil (5g/day) and that usually pushes me over the top because I eat chicken and/or pork.

      As JKC indicated, the ratio of n-6:n-3 is what you want to focus on as well. I believe the SAD has people in the 20:1 range. Where you want to be is at 4:1 (or less).

      Since you are already Primal, you have removed most n-6 sources like vegetable fats. Eating leaner parts of chicken (like the breast) will give you less of the n-6 fats. I am not saying eat less fat, not at all. If I eat chicken breast, I will cook it in heavy whipping cream with dijon mustard, or just eat a couple Tbsp of coconut butter/oil. Macadamias are the best nuts to eat as they have a very low poly count.
      People too weak to follow their own dreams will always try to discourage others.

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      • #4
        What if you only eat fatty fish? Isn't that too much omega-3, what happens then?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by mwok86 View Post
          What if you only eat fatty fish? Isn't that too much omega-3, what happens then?
          The only thing that I know would be a detrimental "side effect" of too much omega-3 is a lot more free radicals being released. Taking in more anti oxidants would help take care of that though (like vit E). I am not an expert though, so there could be more.

          That is a question I NEVER though I would see. LOL.
          People too weak to follow their own dreams will always try to discourage others.

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          • #6
            Is there an online calculator or ipod app that calculates O3:O6 balance?

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            • #7
              CRON-O-Meter does it. But it makes no distinction between pasture raised v grain fed animal meats. This will skew the results but it will give you a good idea of what you are eating.
              People too weak to follow their own dreams will always try to discourage others.

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              • #8
                Thank you guys for trying to help out. I knew that the 6:3 ratio needs to be lower, but what I'm trying to ask is it seems omega 3s come from polyunsaturated fat, but polys are bad right? I'm still confused about the saturated vs unsaturated stuff, more than the omega 3 vs omega 6 issue.

                Thank you both Icarian and JKC so far, but hopefully you can answer those questions as well.

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                • #9
                  Trans fats are bad
                  Seed oils are bad
                  6:3 ratio needs to be balanced
                  Sat fat is ok for you
                  There is no need to get exact ratios of everything

                  My general approach to fats
                  - eat fatty fish every day
                  - use coconut oil or butter for cooking, olive oil for salads
                  - I don't trim the fat, but don't feel the need to add extra so my meal is swimming in it - I want enough to feel satisfied but not grossed out.

                  I hope that helps - there is no need for absolute perfection here - just have the general trends right and your body will notice the difference.
                  Karin

                  A joyful heart is good medicine

                  He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. - Jim Elliot

                  Mmmmm. Real food is good.

                  My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread29685.html

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The hunter gatherers probably had feasts when they caught an animal and would probably get a very large amount of omega 6. I doubt they cared about omega 3/6 balances and studies show that these animals have the same fat ratios today (like bison). Maybe the polyunsaturated fats that we need to worry about are the man-made artificial ones like vegetable oils and such (which appear to be unstable). Like trans fat, maybe the artificial kind is bad, the natural occurring one is good. Hunter gatherers didn't use oils (even the good ones like olive oil) which I think contains "most" of the polyunsaturated fat. To get the oil from an olive, you'd have to put it through a process: It would take 30lbs of olives to make 5 gallon of olive oil.....that isn't supposed to exist in nature so maybe using olive oil (and all oils) is bad.

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                    • #11
                      Yes, they're both PUFAs. But when people talk of PUFA, they're mostly talking about O-6 driven PUFA, since O-3 is hard to get. Now, if the ratio was lopsided in favor of O-3, could that result in the same inflammation problem? I believe that is the case but I'm not certain. Both O-6 and O-3 chase after the same enzymes. So if the ratio becomes lopsided in both direction, then you won't utilize certain enzymes and end up with inflammation.

                      I am not certain, however. Someone clarify. Also, you can't say that saturated fats are the best. All we can say at this point is saturated fats do not seem to cause CVD. Perhaps MUFA is better, who knows? Yes, Trans Fats are bad (except for naturally-occurring, endogenous trans fats), PUFA is bad but mostly because of the fatty acid imbalance -- the only good PUFA is O-3 but that's because there are very few O-3 sources (fish, fish oil, flax seeds) to take advantage of.

                      Originally posted by koden View Post
                      Thank you guys for trying to help out. I knew that the 6:3 ratio needs to be lower, but what I'm trying to ask is it seems omega 3s come from polyunsaturated fat, but polys are bad right? I'm still confused about the saturated vs unsaturated stuff, more than the omega 3 vs omega 6 issue.

                      Thank you both Icarian and JKC so far, but hopefully you can answer those questions as well.
                      Last edited by choppedliver; 04-25-2011, 11:42 AM.

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                      • #12
                        @mwok86 - I think you're making some incorrect assumptions about the fatty acid profile of meat. It's true that bison is a good proxy for the meat that humans used to consume, so I'll use that. The vast majority of the fat in bison muscle meat is monounsaturated and saturated - polyunsaturated fats only make up a small percentage of the total fat. And while the omega 6:3 ratio of that fat is fairly high, hunger-gatherer societies would have also been eating the offal - including the brain which is extremely high in omega-3s - so it likely would have balanced out.

                        @koden - Basically, polyunsaturated fats are essential, but you only need a tiny quantity of them. So, try to keep them to less than 4% of total calories and keep your ratios balanced. You can do this by avoiding oils derived from plants (with a few exceptions like olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil), and focusing your diet on the meat of grass-fed ruminants and regularly eating fatty fish.
                        The Primal Holla! Eating fat. Getting lean. Being awesome.

                        You were sick, but now you're well, and there's work to do. - Kilgore Trout

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by choppedliver View Post
                          Yes, they're both PUFAs. But when people talk of PUFA, they're mostly talking about O-6 driven PUFA, since O-3 is hard to get. Now, if the ratio was lopsided in favor of O-3, could that result in the same inflammation problem? I believe that is the case but I'm not certain. Both O-6 and O-3 chase after the same enzymes. So if the ratio becomes lopsided in both direction, then you won't utilize certain enzymes and end up with inflammation.

                          I am not certain, however. Someone clarify. Also, you can't say that saturated fats are the best. All we can say at this point is saturated fats do not seem to cause CVD. Perhaps MUFA is better, who knows? Yes, Trans Fats are bad (except for naturally-occurring, endogenous trans fats), PUFA is bad but mostly because of the fatty acid imbalance -- the only good PUFA is O-3 but that's because there are very few O-3 sources (fish, fish oil, flax seeds) to take advantage of.

                          Since hunter gatherers did not have refrigeration, when they hunted an animal...they'd have to consume it pretty fast....that's a ton of saturated fat and PUFAs. Maybe natural PUFA is good but what doesn't exist in nature (the oils) is what's really bad. Sort of like carrot juice. Eating a carrot is fine but to equal 1 cup of carrot juice, you'd need a lot of carrots = high insulin response and it doesn't exist in nature, you'd have to "process" it.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mwok86 View Post
                            Since hunter gatherers did not have refrigeration, when they hunted an animal...they'd have to consume it pretty fast....that's a ton of saturated fat and PUFAs. Maybe natural PUFA is good but what doesn't exist in nature (the oils) is what's really bad. Sort of like carrot juice. Eating a carrot is fine but to equal 1 cup of carrot juice, you'd need a lot of carrots = high insulin response and it doesn't really exist in nature, you'd have to "process" it.
                            Did you read what I wrote? The animals that our ancestors consumed are very low in PUFAs.
                            The Primal Holla! Eating fat. Getting lean. Being awesome.

                            You were sick, but now you're well, and there's work to do. - Kilgore Trout

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by IcarianVX View Post
                              CRON-O-Meter does it. But it makes no distinction between pasture raised v grain fed animal meats. This will skew the results but it will give you a good idea of what you are eating.
                              Thanks!!

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