Omega-6, Linoleic Acid (LA), Essential Fatty Acids, EFAs, Safflower Oil, Hemp Oil, Omega-3:6 Balance
What is Omega-6 fat and what foods will I find it in?
Omega-6 (along with omega-3) belongs to a family of fats called essential fatty acids. These EFAs are found in polyunsaturated fats.
Omega 6 – Linoleic Acid (LA) – is the essential fatty acid in ample supply. According to experts, our current consumption of this fatty acid has doubled from what it was in 1940. Excess intake of omega 6 can cause increased water retention, raised blood pressure and raised blood clotting.
By comparison, our intake of omega 3 fatty acids has shrunk to one sixth of 1850 levels.
We should REDUCE our consumption of omega-6 fatty acids and INCREASE our consumption of omega-3 fatty acids.
Food Sources of Omega-6 Essential Fatty Acids Include:
- Safflower oil – the richest natural source
- Sunflower oil
- Corn oil
- Sesame oil
- Hemp oil (best balance of omega 6:3)
- Pumpkin oil
- Soybean oil
- Walnut oil
- Wheatgerm oil
- Evening Primrose oil
- For details, see Table of Omega-3, Omega-6 Essential Fatty Acids
Omega 6:3 Balance
Omega 6 and Omega 3 essential fatty acids are best consumed in a ratio of about 3:1 – three omega 6 for one omega 3.
Most Western diets range between 10 and 20 to 1 in favor of omega 6, which is not good for health. We eat too much omega 6 fat and not enough omega 3 fat.
Essential Fatty Acids – Spoilage
Essential fatty acids turn rancid and go off very quickly. They should be kept away from light, heat and air – they last up to a week or so in the fridge once opened. Also, they are destroyed by commercial processing, so always buy FRESH COLD PRESSED. Finally, pesticides often gather in fats and oils, so buy ORGANIC whenever possible.
Weight Loss & Fats
From a calorie viewpoint, all oils are equally fattening. They contain 120 calories per tablespoon.
For optimum weight loss, reduce your overall fat/oil consumption to a sensible level: 25-30 percent of calories is very good; although 20-25 per cent is better; while fats expert Udo Erasmus advocates 15-20 per cent.