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FAT FACTS- are your omega-6:3- ratios causing weight gain and inflammation?

Obesity is an ongoing and complex battle that is not easily won. It is certainly not just a question of eating less, but involves the dysfunction of multiple organ systems and pathways.

FATTY ACIDS play a major role in human cellular function and are divided into:


Animal fats and coconut, palm oil UNSATURATED FATS

Fish and vegetable oils





In 1929, the biochemists Evans and Burr discovered essential fatty acids. They showed that humans do not possess the necessary enzymes needed for breaking down the double bonds found in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and that they have to be obtained from diet.

PUFA metabolism influences immune function and inflammation, infant growth and neural development

During the Paleolithic age, we humans consumed an equal ratio between omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids and omega 3's were found in many food sources especially meat, fish, wild berries, plants, seeds and nuts.

With the increase in food manufacturing particularly after World War 2, the balance in omega fatty acids in the human diet began changing.

More recently changes in farming and animal feed have reduced the amount of omega 3's in food such as chicken, eggs and meat. Farmed fish have much lower levels of omega 3 fatty acids than wild-caught fish.

The Modern Western Diet and the cost-effectiveness of food production have turned the subtle omega-6 to omega-3 ratio upside down.

A high consumption of vegetable oils such as sunflower oil, corn oil, safflower oil, cottonseed and soybean oils widely used in food production has been associated with an increase in obesity in many countries.

Because a high omega-6 : omega-3 ratio is associated with weight gain, obesity and inflammatory markers, its important to regain some balance and get those ratios back in line.

''Recent human studies show that in addition to absolute amounts of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acid intake, the omega-6/omega-3 ratios play an important role in increasing obesity via both AA eicosanoid metabolites and hyperactivity of the cannabinoid system, which can be reversed with increased intake of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). A balanced omega-6/omega-3 ratio is important for health and the prevention of obesity'' Artemis P Simopoulos -An Increase in the Omega-6/Omega-3 Fatty Acid Ratio Increases Risk for Obesity (MDPI Nutrients 2016,8,128; doi:10.3390/nu8030128)


FADS1 and FADS2 genes are known as delta 5 and delta 6 desaturase enzymes. These essential enzymes are key to metabolising omega 3 and omega 6 PUFAs. We are all different, and some of us may need to alter the balance in this ratio of fats due to variations in FADS1 or FADS2 genes.


PUFA metabolism-

Delta 5 and delta 6 desaturases, encoded by the FADS1 and FADS2 genes catalyze the conversion of linoleic acid (LA) into arachidonic acid (AA) as well as alpha linolenic acid (ALA) into eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).

SNP's (single nucleotide polymorphisms) in the FADS genes have been associated with a greater risk of inflammation and inflammatory weight gain when there is an imbalance in the omega 6: omega 3 ratio. If you are sensitive to these fats, this imbalance may contribute to chronic diseases. This is especially relevant when it comes to processed vegetable oils used for fast food and convenience food production. Even a 'healthy' salad at the deli counter, using too much sunflower oil, may add to a sensitive person's inflammatory load.

HIGH RISK INDIVIDUALS should increase their intake of OMEGA 3 fatty acids and reduce their intake of processed foods.


Fish, 2-3 times per week, especially oily fish such as wild-caught salmon, herring, sardines, mackerel

Plants- walnuts, almonds, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, spirulina, chlorella, seaweed, perilla, hemp seeds, edamame beans, kidney beans and of course, the monounsaturated, high oleic acid-containing cold processed virgin olive oil!

Supplementation of EPA and DHA is often recommended.

Eat less processed and convenience foods and try and avoid or reduce the use of sunflower oil and corn oil in cooking.

Show some self-care and love the life you have.


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