Tag: omega 3s

Why the Omega-3/Omega-6 Ratio May Not Matter After All

When it comes to omega-6 fats, the quick and dirty soundbite resonating throughout the ancestral health community has been “omega-6 fats are inflammatory, omega-3s are anti-inflammatory.” Years ago, I wrote a post saying essentially the same thing – that an excessive intake of omega-6s and inadequate intake of omega-3s predispose us to an exaggerated inflammatory response. This sounds right. And the huge discrepancy between the estimated ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats in ancestral human diets – 1:3, 1:2, or even 1:1 – and the ratio in modern diets – ranging from 1:25 to 1:10 – just looks pathological. Then, bringing up the rear, you’ve got Bill Lands’ work showing that human populations with low levels of omega-3s and higher levels of omega-6s in their tissues are at greater risk for many diseases like heart disease. It all seems clear cut, no?

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We Don’t Know What Constitutes a True Paleo Diet

Critics often lambast the Primal Blueprint and other ancestral/paleo ways of eating for what they see as fatal flaws:

First, that we don’t know what our ancestors were truly eating.

Second, that there wasn’t just one paleo diet.

Third, that even if we could know exactly what our ancestors were eating, it doesn’t mean those foods were the ideal foods; they were trying to eat whatever was available, not whatever was most nutritious or synergistic with their genome.

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Dear Mark: Salmon and Mercury, Fruit and Sugar, plus Seniors Gaining Muscle

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’ll be covering three topics. First, salmon and mercury. We’re often told to watch out for mercury in wild fish, but the story is actually more complicated than that. Learn how to tell if wild fish is safe to eat and whether wild salmon should be limited. Next, I discuss the differences between fruit sugar and sugar, or, rather, fruit and sugar. Can fruit be a part of a healthy Primal way of eating despite the sugar content? And finally, I give a few tips to an older woman who’s interested in gaining muscle and strength. I go over exercise, protein intake, as well as the ulterior benefits of resistance training.

Let’s go:

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Dear Mark: Calorie Intake While Nursing, Tom Hanks and Type 2 Diabetes, and DHA Bad for Adults?

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, we’ve got a three question roundup. First, I hear from a nursing, weight-lifting, child-chasing mother of four who’s concerned about the amount of food she’s craving – even though she’s already at her pre-baby weight. I (hopefully) allay her concerns in my response. Next, I discuss the ridiculous nature of the conventional dietary advice we give to type 2 diabetics, as well as how there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. I also issue a formal invitation to Tom Hanks, who’s just been diagnosed with the disease. Finally, I explore whether or not DHA truly is bad for adults. Should we only give it to our kids after all?

Let’s go:

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Dear Mark: Salmon Pouches, Ray Peat, and Our Inherent Desire for Crispy Food

Ah, it’s good to be back with a regular old Dear Mark. Today we’re discussing the nutritional value of canned salmon, and whether the canning process negates some or much of the impressive nutrient profile of fresh salmon. After that, I discuss the dietary views of Ray Peat, an increasingly popular topic in the MDA forums and a seemingly wildly divergent way of eating. Is there any reconciliation to be made between Peat and Primal? I think so, actually. Finally, I explore why we might be inherently drawn to crispy, crunchy food despite the lack of potato chips, Fritos, and Pringles during the most formative years of our evolution.

Let’s go:

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Dear Mark: HIIT, Omega-3s and Cooking, and Gluten-Free Baked Goods

It’s time, yet again, for another edition of Dear Mark. As per usual, I’m doing a roundup of reader questions. First, I cover high intensity interval training, also known as HIIT. It’s the subject of an ongoing study that’s been getting a lot of play in the media, and, while we don’t have access to the as-yet-unpublished research, we do know a little something about HIIT from numerous other studies. Next, a reader asks about the effect of cooking on the omega-3 content and stability of salmon. I provide a bit of research and attempt to assuage his despondency about what he sees as a lack of reliable seafood. Finally, I give my take on the gluten-free baked goods phenomenon. Sure, it’s gluten-free, but does it belong in a Primal eating plan? Read on to see what I think.

Let’s get to it:

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Dear Mark: Mysterious Omegas and a Beginner’s Exercise Routine

Today’s installment of Dear Mark covers two questions. In the first, a reader wonders whether or not all those mysterious omegas popping up lately are worth taking. Are omega-3s enough, or should we be supplementing with omega-5s, omega-7s, and omega-9s as well? Read on to find out. Then, I take on a question about exercise for a mostly sedentary 40-something whose only source of activity is a weekly jog. I give him a few pointers and direct him to some relevant literature. I expect if he follows my advice he’ll start putting on significant amounts of lean mass.

Let’s go.

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Dear Mark: O6:O3 Ratio, Green Drinks, and Shin Splints

It’s Monday, and that means it’s time for another series of Dear Mark questions and answers. I think you’ll find today’s choices pretty interesting. First, I field a question from an apparently healthy reader who’s doing everything right, losing weight, and controlling the quality of his fat intake – but he can’t seem to avoid a 20:1 omega-6:omega-3 ratio. Next, I answer a question about green drinks, those vegan canisters of powdered, dehydrated, raw leafy vegetables that one mixes into juice or water for an instant daily dose of greens. They sounded silly, and I’ve dismissed them in the past, but as I did a bit more research my thinking began to change. Ideal? No. A fair compromise for some people? Maybe. Finally, I cover shin splints for a reader suffering from them, and I offer a bit of advice on how to avoid and treat the nasty things.

Let’s get it going.

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Dear Mark: Hempseed, Too Much Omega-3, and Vitamin D’s Halflife

It’s a lovely summer morning here in Malibu. The cool sea breeze keeps the coming warmth at bay, for now, and makes me glad for the hot mug of coffee I’m clutching. I’ve still got a couple hours before heading into the office, so I’m hoping that I can get this post wrapped up and edited in time to hit the water for a bit of paddle boarding. We’ll see. I’ll try not to rush things too much. Today we’ve got a quick round of questions on a diverse set of topics: the suitability of hempseed in the Primal way of eating, whether you can get too much omega-3, and how long vitamin D lingers in the body before you need to replenish your stocks. As always, feel free to keep the questions coming and I’ll do my best to get to them!

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Human Interference Factor

Have you ever had wagyu beef? Wagyu is the breed of cattle from which the infamous kobe beef is derived: highly marbled, impossibly tender. I mean, this stuff is ridiculous. I’ve had wagyu steak that you could cut with your fork, no knife required. It can actually be too melt-in-your-mouth tender for me. I’m not saying I like meat tough and stringy, but I like to know I’m actually eating something’s muscle tissue. At PrimalCon 2011, the wagyu steaks were grass-fed, grilled perfectly, and not overly tender or excessively marbled. Just great. I suspect they were a wagyu-angus crossbreed, which is true for most wagyu raised in the US. I can get behind wagyu like that.

So why am I talking about wagyu beef (why not?) and what does all have to do with “human interference factor”? Well, last week I happened across an interesting science story in a newspaper. It was your typical science reporting – kind of vague and prone to make broad proclamations based on limited evidence – but the study being referenced got my attention. In it, Australian researchers compared the postprandial inflammatory markers of patients after eating either 100 grams of wild kangaroo meat or 100 grams of Australian wagyu beef.

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