Why are too many omega 6 fatty acids a health problem?
The crucial question with too many omega 6 fatty acids is always the question of health: The latest research and the opinion of many scientists suggest that these fatty acids have health disadvantages in excess.
They are essential fatty acids and must be taken in through food; in practice, there is no omega 6 deficiency, but there is an insufficient supply of omega 3 fatty acids.
In addition, foods with plenty of omega 6 fats are in abundance, while typical foods with omega-3 fatty acids tend to be underused. This includes fish, algae, organic meat, organic eggs and flax seeds.
Are Omega 6 fatty acids unhealthy?
At this point, this question is very legitimate. Thus, I can summarize that modern human nutrition has an excessive amount of omega 6 fatty acids and that it is very advisable to reduce them in the diet.
If you use industrial cooking oils to prepare your foods, the risk of trans fatty acids and other oxidation products is accepted. Overall, a diet rich in omega 6 fatty acids promotes an inflammatory environment in the body.
Omega 6 fats are vital for the body, but as we know, they are present in excess and do not require any special attention (in contrast to the rare omega 3 fatty acids).
It is, therefore, a worthwhile health goal to reduce omega 6 fatty acids in the diet. As you will soon see, omitting omega 6 fatty acids and using healthy alternatives means that neither health nor quality of life gets lost.
Instead, you will experience an improvement in health. Because the alternatives mentioned contain more nutrients overall and are more stable than, for example, sunflower oil at high temperatures.
The influence of grain and factory farming
As you will see shortly, animal products from factory farming are an important source of omega 6 fatty acids. Let me explain this to you very briefly:
In factory farming everything should go as quickly as possible, the animals should grow as fast as possible and their products must be sold rapidly.
For this, farmers most commonly feed the livestock fattening grain, such as corn, soybeans and wheat as this is an important mainstay, which is cheap and very high calorific.
Cereals, however, contain an unfavorable balance of omega 6 to omega-3 fatty acids, and we can find traces of it in the later animal product (egg, milk product, meat).
Animal products from factory farming contain significantly more omega 6 fatty acids than comparable products from species-appropriate kept animals.
Therefore, avoiding animal products from factory farming plays an important role for you if you want to reduce omega 6 fatty acids in your diet.
These foods contain the most omega 6 fatty acids
If you want to reduce the amount of omega 6 acids in your diet for health reasons, here is a list of the foods that contain the most of these fats.
The gram refers to grams of omega 6 fatty acids per 100 grams of food and the ratio of omega 6 to omega 3:
Oil and fats
Grapeseed oil (70g / 100g)
Safflower oil (70g / 100g)
Sunflower oil (65g / 100g)
Soybean oil (51g / 100g)
Corn oil (53g / 100g)
Wheat germ oil (54g / 100g)
Peanut oil (32g / 100g)
Goose fat (9.8g / 100g)
Lard (9.3g / 100g)
Beef lard (factory farming): (3.35g / 100g) ratio omega-6 to omega-3: 17: 1
For comparison: organic beef lard: (1.2g / 100g) – ratio omega-6 to omega-3: 1.5: 1
Nuts and seeds
Walnuts (35g / 100g)
Poppy seeds (26g / 100g)
Sunflower seeds (22g / 100g)
Sesame seeds (20g / 100g)
Pecans (20g / 100g)
Hemp seeds (18g / 100g)
Almonds (10g / 100g)
Cashew nuts (8g / 100g)
Hazelnuts (7g / 100g)
Pumpkin seeds (5g / 100g)
The nuts and seeds listed above have been associated with better health in small quantities (a maximum of a handful a day). They contain high amounts of omega 6 fats, but also important nutrients and fiber. If you only consume small amounts and the nuts are not roasted or salted, you don’t have to expect a health disadvantage.
Oats (see About Oatmeal – Is The Once Beloved Cereal Really Bad For You?)
Animal products from factory farming
Chicken thighs (4.5g / 100g)
Butter (2.7g / 100g)
Pork (especially minced pork) (2.7g / 100g)
Beef (especially ground beef) (2.1g / 100g)
Eggs (1.1g / 100g)
Healthier alternatives for oils and fats
Coconut oil (see Coconut Oil & Inflammation – The Fragrant Agent For Chronic Disease)
Hemp oil (cold use)
Linseed oil (cold use)
Black cumin oil (cold use)
Possible consequences of too many omega 6 fatty acids in the diet
Excessive consumption of omega 6 creates an inflammatory environment in the body, which is favored by these fats directly (via inflammatory signal substances) or indirectly (via trans fats and oxidative stress).
What are the possible long-term health consequences when consuming too many omega 6 fatty acids?
Inflammatory bowel disease (Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s disease)
Immunodeficiency (imbalance of the immune cells)
Autoimmune diseases (IBD, systemic autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus erythematosus)
Cardiovascular diseases and Arteriosclerosis
Skin problems (including chronic skin diseases such as neurodermatitis)
Cancer (currently under discussion)
Inflammation is a major cause of numerous chronic health problems, omega 6 plays an important role in this.
It is, therefore, advisable to critically question your own eating habits and to reduce foods with many omega 6 rich fats.
Refraining from these foods and using healthy alternatives can lead to an overall improvement in your health in the long term.
This is the case because foods rich in omega 6 (with the exception of nuts) tend to be lower in nutrients than healthier alternatives.
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