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Omega 3 vs Omega 6 and Evolution

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  • Omega 3 vs Omega 6 and Evolution

    My (admittedly limited) understanding of the theory behind much of the paleo and primal diet is that going back to what our ancestors ate over millions of years will result in positive changes for people because that is what we evolved on and our bodies are best at processing that kind of diet.

    If that is the case and meat based Omega 3 fats are found primarily (exclusively?) in seafood, did most societies evolve on the coasts and eat primarily seafood? Seems to me that most of the protein consumed over the ages would have come from pigs and chickens and deer and antelope, etc which contain primarily Omega 6 type fat.

    Wouldn't that cause humans to adapt to Omega 6 type fat better than we apparently have? and if so why do we have to stress over the ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 we are consuming?
    "But the question is, are you going to die sitting on the sofa - or doing something interesting?"
    - Robert Ward

    "Kharma means I can rest easy at night, knowing all those people I treated badly today really had it coming!"

  • #2
    my understanding is that animals that ate grass, kelp and algae had more omega 3 in their bodies. Meat based Omega 3 fats are not found exclusively in seafood AFAIK. It's not the absence of Omega 6 but the ratio/balance between the two that is important. We are adapted to consuming them both and both are essential but the balance between the two are thrown off because we are consuming a lot more omega 6 than we used to primarily through industrial oils. Industrial oils have replaced animal fats to enhance shelf life and improve texture. At least that's what I've been reading so far.
    Last edited by pacificBeef; 10-10-2011, 08:06 PM.
    Currently dabbling in: IF, leangains, Starting Strength, 5/3/1


    • #3
      you must understand, seafood is also in the rivers. settlements, generally, they pop up next to water sources.

      ocean, no ocean, lake, river. the fish, they swim in all the waters.


      • #4
        Hominids began by scavenging - eating brains, marrow and extras. Brains are extremely rich in DHA. Wild animals have a pretty good ratio

        Shellfish and fishing is kind of recent
        History of fishing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
        40,000 years ago aparently


        • #5
          Grass-fed, pasture raised non-bird meats contain O3-O6 in the range of 1:2 to 1:4. More than optimal for awesome homo sapiens health, you'll get an even better ratio if you eat the stomachs (contents and all) which can have up to 60% of the fat as O3. This is actually completely ignoring the very likely possibility of gator/croc or hippo consumption which has fat absolutely loaded with O3! Considering these options along with an occasional nut harvest, you'd absolutely never have to so much as see a fish in your lifetime to still maintain great omega balance.
          "You can demonstrate the purpose and limits of human digestion with a simple experiment: eat a steak with some whole corn kernels, and see what comes out the other end. It won’t be the steak."


          • #6
            I recall reading that first Nations tribes in this area traditionally collected tons of small fatty fish and their extracted fat was fermented and stored in jars to eat over the winter, highly valued as food and for trade with other tribes without access to the coast

            As for meat, I'd say the biggest issue is the diet of the animals we're eating. Animals fed feed (IE: grains) high in o6 fats have higher levels of o6 in their fat than animals eating grass & plants (rich in ALA) hence why many people focus on free range/grass fed animals (beef, lamb, goat, etc....)