Sardine Omega 3 Question
I have been doing paleo/primal nutrition for over 9 months now. I am at the stage of tinkering with the details for optimum health. I have been looking into my omega 3/6 ratio in the context of the foods which are available to me with limited access to quality foods. I eat a high-fat diet with the majority of my calories coming from lard, eggs, pork, beef, chicken, and ofal produced from the lowest-cost farming methods available, so I assume they are relatively high in omega 6's, antibiotics, etc. I started taking about 3 grams of fish body oil from a bottle I bought at GNC in the city. The supplements are very expensive on my income, so I try to eat as many vegetable and animal sources of omega 3's as possible. I thought I was doing the right thing by eating a small can of sardines about once a week fried with some eggs and then I saw this web page hosted by Tufts University:
My question relates to the importance of volume of omega 3's relative to the ratio of 3/6. Is it beneficial for me to consume more total omega 3's even if that means worsening my ratio? Or is the ratio truly the key and I should avoid eating sardines, canned tuna in oil, and olive oil which are available but have a bad ratio?
I have access to a fish market about once a week. They have dried shrimp, a variety of dried fish, fresh sea caught, and farmed fish. Are there certain types of fish or seafood I can look out for? Is there possibly some other significant source of omega 3 I could add to my diet? Is the fact that I eat a high-fat diet from poor quality animals that big of a deal? Mark suggests there wouldn't be a problem with high animal fat diets if it wasn't for poor farming practices.
Last edited by PeaceCorpsCaveMan; 08-15-2011 at 11:08 PM.
I don't know what brand they used in that chart; my tins of sardines are listed as having 1.5g omega 3, and 0.2g omega 6, in addition to be covered in tasty skin and filled with tasty bones. They probably picked sardines canned in soy oil or something to measure. Get them packed in olive oil or spring water and go to town.
Don't sweat the conventionally-raised animal meat too much. Avoiding wheat, excess sugar, and excess omega-6 from seed oils is 90% of the game in my opinion. See this from Kurt Harris: Archevore - Archevore Diet
Also, your total PUFA intake should be kept low. I don't think there is any benefit to increasing total omega-3 intake if you're getting even more omega-6 along with it.
Mark did a couple posts on seafood a few months ago:
Grocery Store Seafood: What to Eat and What to Avoid | Mark's Daily Apple
Healthy Farmed Fish and Seafood | Mark's Daily Apple
sardines at a $1.00 a can are about 13 times more expensive than my supplement.
I guess what concerns me is that my primary cooking oil is lard and secondary is butter. According to Self Nutrition Data, lard and butter have a 20:1 and 10:1 omega 6/3 ratio.
True, but the total amount of PUFA in lard and even more so in butter is very low.
Originally Posted by PeaceCorpsCaveMan
There are some very low cost fish oil supplements at vitacost.com.
fish oil softgels - Vitacost
If the lard you eat is from grass fed meat, and the butter from grass fed cows, I doubt if the figures on nutrition data will be relevant. They have almost certainly measured grain fed to get these ratios.
Originally Posted by PeaceCorpsCaveMan
Also, the sardine figures seem very dubious to me. They must have been canned in soy oil or something equally gross. Sardines have a high omega 3 content and negligible 6, so canning in water or olive oil is not going to upset that ratio.
It's going to be hard to find lard from a pastured pig. Grass feed beef tallow as a substitute is not expensive. Kerrygold butter from Ireland is certainly a premium quality product, and assumed to be superior to domestic butter in the U.S. Coconut is the most common third oil, I believe.
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