Omega 6 fatty acids are so abundant in our western diet, that we must make every effort to avoid them. Omega 6 oils cause inflammation, resulting in diseases like coronary heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and arthritis. It is extremely beneficial to our health to avoid omega 6 and wherever possible replace them with omega 3 and omega 9 rich oils.
Unfortunately politics have played a major role in the explosive use of omega 6 oils. Originally (and that’s on the evolutionary scale not so long ago) we were roaming the plains and forests, gathering seeds and hunting animals. Our hunter/gatherer diet was fully balanced between omega 3 and omega 6. Seeds, nuts, fruits, and grasses contain mostly healthy oils, and the hunter/gatherer had to make a huge effort to collect them. Furthermore, the hunted animals were lean and consumed the same healthy vegetable oils as the humans of those days.
Radical shift from omega 3 to omega 6 foods
That changed with the agricultural policies of the 1970s. When small family farms made place for mass production of soy and corn, the balance of omega 3 to omega 6 consumption shifted radically. If you think that you still consume the same foods as your parents did, then you’re fooling yourself. Today the omega 6 to omega 3 ratio is estimated to be around 35:1. The omega 6 to omega 3 ratio for the hunter/gatherer was 1:1.
Besides the availability of cheap mass produced oils, food manufacturers also switched to omega 6 oils because the more complex omega 3 oils are less stable; products made with these omega 3 oils oxidize (go rancid) more quickly. The food industry however favors long shelf life, and encourages farmers and large seed companies to breed plant strains that contain more bad fats and less of the – unstable – healthy fats.
Omega 6 oil flood is killing us
Thirdly, as hunter/gatherers it was hard to find fat (how many nuts do you need to crack?). In addition, animals were lean, because a fat animal was an easy prey and thus a dead animal. Because fats were so hard to find, we established a taste for fats and oils. They taste gooood. Being programmed to like fat is to our detriment now that we’ve stashed supermarkets with gallons of corn oil, shortening and filled freezers with bacon.
The 10 worst omega 6 food oils are:
contains 78% omega 6
Grape seed oil
contains 73% omega 6
Poppy seed oil
contains 70% omega 6
contains 68% omega 6
contains 60% omega 6
contains 59% omega 6
contains 54% omega 6
contains 51% omega 6
contains 51% omega 6
contains 45% omega 6
All ten oils contain more than 45% omega 6 in the form of linoleic acid. It is most often very difficult to figure out what’s in a processed food. It’s noteworthy that all oils are vegetable oils. These are really good as bio diesel.