Omega 6 Content of Common Foods

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By Matt Stone

I’ve created quite a fuss lately about reducing the amount of omega 6 fatty acid in our diets.

When I first came across information about increased tissue concentration of omega 6 fatty acids I had my doubts that it was really “so simple.” As I’ve learned with other systems of the body, it’s rarely a simple matter of “put x into the tank” and “y happens.” There are many variables involved in how two people process what they ingest, and the final outcome is unpredictable.

But then David Brown nudged me about omega 6, mentioned that many of his own personal health problems have vanished since he made the minor adjustment of deleting peanut butter from his diet, and I listened to Dr. William Lands present on the predictability of omega 6 tissue concentration with various intakes. It is so predictable that Lands has created a mathematical model that predicts changes in tissue concentration based on the amount of omega 6 and omega 3 (which helps to displace and deactivate some of the omega 6, but ain’t no cure all) in the diet.

It is now fairly well-known, if not widely reported, that Westerners, particularly Americans, have a very high tissue concentration of omega 6 fatty acids – estimated as being 8 to 12 times what some consider “optimal.” This is due to the big switch from animal fats to margarines and solvent-extracted corn and soy oils that have progressed to make up a considerably larger portion of the American fat intake. Consumption of omega 6 nuts and seeds has risen dramatically as well, and the intake of poultry, the richest source of omega 6 of any animal food, has risen nearly 300% over the last 100 years.

How significant is this? I do not know, but the circumstantial evidence stacked up against omega 6 doesn’t look good.

My point is that we simply need to ignore the banter about what is and is not a healthy food, and instead focus on what we need to do to actually make some progress in overturning this high omega 6 imbalance. It takes more than just cutting out vegetable oil. It takes a concentrated effort to keep omega 6 at levels low enough that omega 6 tissue concentration falls substantially.

Will lowering omega 6 save you? Will it save humanity? I don’t know. What I do know is that the vast majority of disease inflicting modern man is inflammatory at the core, and the inflammatory molecules that inflict the most collateral damage during any kind of inflammatory reaction are the cytokines. Cytokines are manufactured from omega 6 fatty acids. So the circumstantial evidence is huge, especially when we’re seeing a widespread increase in illnesses that are characterized by an inappropriately aggressive immune response (autoimmunity, autism, allergies, food allergies, asthma, arthritis, etc.).

And what matters most in taking simple steps in pursuing a low omega 6 diet, is the overall percentage of calories as omega 6 in the foods you are eating in greatest abundance. The most relevant and substantial contributors are fats, meats, nuts, and starches. I’ve left vegetables and fruits off the list because neither contributes a significant amount to the total omega 6 we ingest.

As you will quickly realize, the higher your diet is in total fat content, the more important it is that you are diligent about keeping omega 6 intake under control. It is certainly of interest that the highest fat intakes of any diets on record are those by the Eskimo and Masai. The Eskimo consumed much of their fat from seal oil, whale oil, and fish. Seal oil in particular just about has the lowest omega 6 concentration of any fat source on earth (1.1% omega 6). Following it closely is half and half, a close approximation to the uber-fatty milk consumed by the Masai in Kenya 1.8%) – which in their case is grassfed and perhaps even lower in omega 6 than the baseline used for http://www.nutritiondata.com/, which is the source of info. I used to make the following calculations.

This chart is by no means exhaustive, but it does include most of the major calorie contributors to modern diets:

Omega 666 – the most Evil omega 6 powerhouses (over 50%)

Grapeseed oil 70.6%!!!
Corn Oil 54.5%
Walnuts 52.5% (oil is 53.9%)
Cottonseed oil 52.4%
Soybean oil 51.4%

Very High Omega 6 sources (20-50%)

Sesame oil 42.0%
Pepitas 34.5%
Margarine 27.9%
Pecans 26.9%
Peanut Butter 22.5%
Pistachios 21.3%

High Omega 6 Sources (10-20%)

Chicken Fat 19.5%
Almonds 19.1%
Canola oil 19.0%
Flaxseed oil 12.9%
Cashews 12.6%
Duck Fat 12.2%
Bacon Grease 10.2%
Lard 10.2%

Moderate Omega 6 Sources (5-10%)

Olive oil 9.9%
Goose Fat 9.8%
Avocado 9.4%
Chicken with skin 9.0%
Olives 7.4%
Bacon 7.0%
Eggs 6.8%
Pork chops 6.2%
Popcorn (Air Popped) 5.8%
Oats 5.6%

Low Omega 6 Sources (2-5%)

Corn 4.7%
Chicken Liver 3.7%
Sunflower Oil 3.7% (High oleic variety – others are very high in omega 6)
Butter 3.4%
Beef Tallow 3.1%
Cocoa Butter 2.8%
Macadamia Nut oil ~2.5%
Cream 2.2%
Beef liver 2.1%
Grassfed Beef 2.0%
Whole wheat flour 2.0%

Extremely low Omega 6 Sources (Less than 2%)

Coconut oil 1.9%
Prime rib 1.8%
Whole milk 1.8%
Half and Half 1.8%
Ground Beef 1.6%
Macadamia Nuts 1.6%
Chicken without skin 1.4%
Lamb 1.4%
Cheese/Brie 1.3%
Coconut Milk 1.1%
Seal Oil 1.1%
Foie gras 1.1%
Palm Kernel Oil 0.8%
Sockeye Salmon 0.5%
Yams 0.4%
Potatoes 0.3%
Halibut 0.2%
Shrimp 0.2%
Clams 0.2%
Canned tuna 0.1%
Blue crab 0.1%
Lobster 0.1%

When you look at how much tastier the bottom of the omega 6 chart looks than the top, is it really a problem to redefine the term “healthy fats” and load up on great seafood, macadamia nuts, lamb, brie, half and half, prime rib, and potatoes fried in coconut oil?

I assure you I have no problem (non-fiscally-related) trading those foods for peanut butter and grapeseed oil.

I hope this serves as a great reference for years to come for those interested in lowering their cellular levels of omega 6 polyunsaturated fat.

And keep in mind that this says nothing of the free radical damage done to our bodies by omega 6 fats, which is a whole other problem with rich omega 6 sources like solvent-extracted vegetable oil that this doesn’t even address.

You can read more about omega 6 and its potentially causal role in obesity in several of my books, including 180 Degree Metabolism, Diet Recovery, and Diet Recovery 2 – available in an affordable bundle HERE.

Clarification:
Dr. Stephan Guyenet (pr: Ghee-ya-Nay) of http://www.wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/ informs me that cytokines aren’t exactly manufactured from omega 6 as described by Barry Sears and myself in recent posts and podcasts on the topic.  Instead, “Cytokines are one of the factors that promotes the release of eicosanoids [which ARE derived from omega 6, and are associated with various inflammatory illnesses].”  Either way, omega 6 fatty acid overload is intimately tied to inflammatory reactions and subsequent tissue damage.  Thanks Stephan. 

123 Comments

  1. You're missing a biggie. Cottonseed oil has a ratio of 6:3 that is an astonishing 259:1

    You could gargle with gallons of fish or flaxseed oil and you'd never even out the playing field!

    Cottonseed oil is found in all the GS cookies and many many packaged foods.

    Susan Allport's Queen of Fats book tells the tale well.

    Reply
    • Cottonseed oil is in the highest percentage group, so I don’t see your point as you said it was missed?

      Reply
  2. Wow. The bottom of that list looks extremely tasty. I wonder if anyone has made a specific low omega-6 cookbook?

    Scott

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  3. The bottom of the list I could eat exclusively with no problem (except seal oil…). Actually, I gravitate to those foods almost instinctually. I really don't like chicken or pork, they taste "greasy", even though I eat half a pound of butter a day.

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  4. So, what IS the ideal tissue concentration?

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  5. How can one test tissue concentration?

    Reply
  6. Cottonseed oil gives me the skitters…I definitely try to stay away from it.

    Funny that mainstream tells us all to eat walnuts and almonds over all nuts, I never hear them recommending macadamia nuts. I think Brazil nuts are similar to macadamias.

    Would eating chicken thighs without the skin ok?

    Reply
  7. haha… i just threw some walnuts in my pesto sauce i made tonight!!! i wonder what mac nuts would taste like in pesto sauce… hmmmmm….

    troy

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  8. I found this info while looking up Seal Oil on a Canadian anti-seal killing website:
    It is illegal to sell Seal Oil (and pelts)in the U.S. due to the Marine Mammal Protection Act. All marine mammals now have high levels of mercury and other pollutants (from man-made pollution) in their bodies, mostly concentrated in the fatty tissue. This has resulted in high levels of mercury in the tissues of the Inuit people of Newfoundland, who consume seals, whales, and other marine mammals in their traditional diet

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  9. Dr Susan Rubin said,

    "You're missing a biggie. Cottonseed oil has a ratio of 6:3 that is an astonishing 259:1"

    Wouldn't a ratio of 6:3 be equivalent to 2:1 instead of 259:1?

    I looked up cottonseed oil on nutrition data, and Dr. Susan is right: cottonseed oil is a biggie. It is approximately 51.5% omega 6. The omega 6 omega 3 ratio is roughly 515:2 or, rounding up slightly, 258:1, which is where I think Dr. Susan got her 259:1 figure. (I am not trying to critique peoples math, it just that I am a math/physics double major, and sometimes my "nerdiness" gets the better of me).

    Reply
    • She meant omega 6:omega 3..

      Reply
  10. I think you have an error for sunflower oil. A quick googling around and I see 63% omega 6. Not the most authoritative source, but it jibes with what I recall from better sources.

    Reply
    • Did you search for the high oleic oil?

      Reply
  11. Great Post! Oxidized fats are the major cause of many diseases. Especially Poly-unsaturated fats!

    Reply
  12. Not that nutritiondata.com is the final authority on all this but after reading Carl M's comment I looked up the info on said site. The number I get after a quick calculation based on their data is roughly 28.9% for sunflower oil.

    Reply
  13. Thanks for posting this list of omega 6-rich foods. I was astonished to see that corn itself is very low in omega 6 content at 4.7%, but corn oil is very high at 54.5%!

    I'm a big believer in the use of fish oils and virgin coconut oil in my diet. I look at the omega 3 and omega 6 ratio the same as the HDL and LDL ratio. I think both need to be within healthy ratios in order to have a lower risk for disease. I think that a person having excessively high omega 6 levels may still be at risk for inflammation even if they increase their omega 3 levels within a healthier ratio. I wonder if decreasing the omega 6 levels alone will achieve more health benefits than simply increasing the omega 3 without reducing the omega 6 intake? Definitely some food for thought and it will be interesting to see what further research brings up in this area.

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  14. I think there is a difference between sunflower oil and high oleic sunflower oil. The high oleic would have more monounsaturates and therefore probably less polyunsaturates.

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  15. I wonder if decreasing the omega 6 levels alone will achieve more health benefits than simply increasing the omega 3 without reducing the omega 6 intake?

    No question. The gold standard on PUFA's right now is Chris Masterjohn's Special Report.

    http://bit.ly/ceKsZj

    It costs money but it is well worth the read. He is coming out with part 2 soon.

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  16. It is pretty mainstream nutrition advices to avoid omega 6, and eat omega 3s to balance out the ratios.

    I like Ray Peat's advice better, which is to avoid all polyunsaturated fats as much as possible, because omega 3s can be just as bad. He advises a fairly low fat diet in general as being the best way to really reduce the concentration of polyunsaturated fats in the body and thus reduce inflamation.

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  17. I wasn't trying to complete the whole list, but I will add cottonseed.

    Thanks Vida. I used High-oleic sunflower oil for that calculation. Was going to add that in parentheses but just forgot. I'll go change it.

    JT-

    I'm all about Peat on this issue. And yes, cutting fat from say 250 grams per day (my diet from 2007-2009) to 125 per day (starting in 2010) cut back my omega 6 intake by 50% even without paying attention to how many nuts, seeds, or chicken with skin I eat. However, I've gone the extra mile over the last month by being pretty diligent, knowing that it really takes an honest effort to actually reduce omega 6 tissue concentration substantially. My average omega 6 intake of late has been just 2-3 grams. On low-carb it was at least 15 grams. On HED without paying much attention it was about 9 grams. Seems to be making a difference.

    Yes, corn, by percentage of calories, has far less omega 6 by percentage than corn oil. That's why I did the chart the way that I did – to see where the real contributors to the problem are.

    I included seal oil to show just how low the Eskimo diet was in omega 6. You don't have to eat it.

    Omega 3 ain't nothin'. The primary reason it even has health benefits attributed to it is due to the high omega 6 levels of the diet.

    DML-
    Dr. Rubin meant omega 6 to omega 3 ratio. Not a ratio of 6:3…. dumbass! Ha ha ha!

    Mac nuts are great in pesto.

    And yep, I better get on that low omega 6 cookbook.

    Mike-
    There are tests for tissue concentration. Go the Dr. Davis's heart scan blog for more details.

    Brock-
    Ideal is considered to be 1:1 to 3:1, but like I said, I'm on board with Peat. He's not about the ratio, but the quantity of all tissue PUFA, and the lower you go the more Mead Acid you produce in its stead, which serves the same purpose but with less inflammatory collateral damage (like using a needle to remove a splinter instead of a machete).

    Reply
  18. Okey dokey. Changes made.

    I also added foie gras. To my relief, it shows up on the list precisely where I wanted it to.

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  19. So how much of this stuff is damaging? Out of the list the only "High" Omega 6 foods I enjoy are the occasional natural PB or freshly roasted peanuts which I make once a week and have a handful daily. Otherwise I don't eat many nuts and steer well clear of the veggie oils. I do however use olive il in salads daily.

    Also I know it is a bit off topic, but I got my results of my Thyroid tests yesterday and wanted to know if anyone could shed some light. They all seem to be in normal ranges but I suffer from a pretty whacked metabolism and adrenal burnout thanks to Paleo etc…

    TSH Level: 0.86 mU/L
    Free T4 Level 12.4 pmol/L

    Thats all I got so if anyone knows about thyroid readings that would be great.

    Otherwise I am doing good on the HED eating lots of startch and saturated fat, digestion is improving and anxiety symptoms are easing all be it slowly. Its been about a month now so I am not expecting miracles. As for weight gain there have been a couple initial LBS which I suspect are more to do with water after being so deprived of glycogen while low carbing for years….

    Keep up the great blogging Matt!

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  20. would pastured soy free chicken eggs be lower in omega-6? i raise my own chickens for eggs and they are outside all day and eat a mix of organic grains and seeds, minus the soy.

    thanks so much for this informative entry!

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  21. "Dr. Rubin meant omega 6 to omega 3 ratio. Not a ratio of 6:3…. dumbass! Ha ha ha!"

    Oops, you're right! My bad.

    Dumbass, huh? Thanks, dipshit.

    Reply
  22. This is one of those lists I'm going to want to keep handy for a while. I think my worst dietary offenders are peanut butter and pecans. But frankly I noticed none of us have been eating these lately–maybe our natural tastes are telling us something?

    I love using coconut oil as a cooking fat. Looks like I'll need to replace chicken fat and bacon grease with it according to this list…

    Question: Although foods like popcorn and oats fall into the moderate category due to percentages, isn't their actual omega-6 content pretty low because their overall fat content is low?

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  23. Grrr, I guess I'll have to restrict my egg intake at least a little more. What to eat for breakfast now?

    @Elizabeth: I think the percentages already are the percentages of the overall calorie content. That's at least how I understood it. So Pop Corn would have 5,8% of the calories in Omega 6 and not 5,8% of the fat. That's at least my interpretation of the list.

    Regarding Brie and other cheeses: Do you guys think it's okay to mainly eat cheese from pastuerized milk? I'm still having a little trouble finding a good and not too expensive source of raw cheese. It's really a shame how almost everything is pasteurized nowadays.

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  24. Damn, still some real favorites on the high Omega6 lists – pecans, almonds, cashews, chicken fat, duck fat, bacon grease, lard… .

    Oh well, lots of things I love on the low omega6 list too. What's not to like about coconut oil, macadamia nuts, yams, shrimp, cheese, etc.

    I still have too many days where I feel it's impossible to eat a decent diet. Everything you can eat is bad for you in different ways, but if you don't eat you starve to death. :-)

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  25. Hee hee DML. Gotcha. Funny stuff.

    Chris-
    You'll have to wait for our endocrinologists to return to tell you more about your thyroid panels. As for the omega 6, the point of this post was simply to point out what it would really take to reduce omega 6 tissue concentration if it were high. The only way to tell if you actually need this is through blood tests, but the probability is high – especially for those who have embraced high fat diets without any regard to omega 6 and have gone crazy on nuts, seeds, peanuts, olive oil, and chicken fat (as a low-carber, I was definitely guilty of this – no wonder my asthma came back with a vengeance). Try switching out mac nuts and mac nut butter for peanuts.

    Lisa-

    Pastured chicken and eggs may be somewhat lower in omega 6, but have more omega 3. All in all omega 3 seems like a positive for a high omega 6 diet. There's no guarantee that pastured = low omega 6 though. But if eggs are your only large source of PUFA you've got nothing to worry about whatsoever. You can still eat a few eggs for breakfast every day and hit 4 to 5 grams of omega 6 per day (which is enough to make progress and far less than the national average of 15 grams +). 3 eggs have about 1.6 grams omega 6. Not exactly a killer.

    Elizabeth-
    This list is done according to overall calories. If you ate a 2,000 per day diet and were to eat 50% of your calories in the form of oats, then you'd get a total of 6.2 grams of omega 6 just from the oats. Of course, a bowl of oats in the morning with butter probably has 200 calories from oats, or just 1.24 grams of omega 6 from the oats. Hardly something to stress over.

    It would only undermine your ability to turn the omega 6 tides if you truly got most of your calories from oats and corn – but you won't, so it's kind of a non-issue really. What matters is the overall quantity.

    As a general rule you can probably hit very low omega 6 levels comprising your diet of the bottom 2 levels exclusively. But you can certainly have a few items off the moderate list as long as those foods aren't making up a large percentage of your dietary calories. Anything on the list above Moderate probably shouldn't be a daily menu item if you're seeking to try this omega 6-lowering thing out.

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  26. Oh thanks for the list Matt, you have just added another level of neurosis to my eating behavior. hah hah..

    I don't think that it is a coincidence that many people including myself have commented that the further down the list you go the more delicious the foods.

    The one that bums me out is the lard. I use lard often in my cooking as my neighbors pastured pigs are a wonderful source.

    medMUHHH I don't know about you but I ain't givin' up my eggs.

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  27. Eggs, popcorn, and oats are the worst offenders in my staples, so no worries there.

    This is way better then the shot of flax oil, PB with soybean oil added, strawberry jam with added sugar, bread with canola oil – breakfast that I used to eat to be heart healthy! blargh!!

    What are everyone thoughts on 100% pure whey protein, with say oats, to skip eggs for breakfasts once in awhile? too refined?

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  28. I must confess to having a great deal of cognitive dissonance about omega-6. Kinda the like I used to have back in the days when I was convinced by all the "scientific sounding" arguments about the evils of carbs.

    I actually emailed Walter Willet of The Harvard Nurse's Health Study about this issue about a week ago, since his research seems to indicate an INVERSE relationship between nut consumption (Lots of omega-6 in those nuts) and ill health.

    Here's what he emailed back to me.

    " The anti omega-6 people are the nuts. There is a huge body of evidence of benefits for these fatty acids…you might find my book, Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy useful on this point. – WW"

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  29. Undertow are you trying to significantly increase muscle mass, with high doses of dietary protein?

    If not I would just suggest adding say a whole fat yogurt to the morning routine, or some young cheeses. I always think it its better to eat it in the package it came in.

    This list has inspired me to render all of that suet I have frozen in the basement.

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  30. For years I ate a low carb high fat diet. 6 months ago I dropped my fat intake and increased my carbs and I look and feel better on this type of diet. I would never have thought it was possible, but I function better on higher carb, moderate protein, low fat diet.

    maybe the typical bodybuilder diet of keeping fat low and protein and carbs high might be sensible advice for someone with inflamation diet.

    Chicken fat has always made me feel extremely nauseous after eating. In my low carb days I used to force myself to eat the skin because I thought it was more "healthy" even though it made me sick. Same thing with coconut oil, I used to force myself to eat it because I thought it was healthy, even though it always gave me severe stomach pains.

    Now the only fat I use is Ghee and my stomach and body are much happier for it. It also tastes much better than other fats, and is the ultimate superfood in Ayurveda.

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  31. @Nathan: Yeah, Matt's comment put it into perspective for me. If I eat 3 eggs, that'd mean 1,6g of O6. I usually eat 3 eggs for breakfast and have them maybe 5 days a week. That would add up to 8g of Omega6 from eggs per week. Sounds decent.

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  32. Deb,

    You bring up a good point. People jump from one bandwagon to the next. First fat is evil, then carbs, omega 6, or sugars, or fructose, or protein, etc…

    I did a lot of damage to my body by avoiding carbs for so many years because of the "science" that proved they were bad.

    I bet most people would feel a lot better if they would just listen to their own bodies and pay attention to how different foods effect them. What is "healthy" for one person may be poison to another. But, of course most people are unwilling to do this because diet is a lot like religion, and people would rather follow a guru than figure out what their individual path should be.

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  33. Hey Nathan, actually my protein intake is very low right now. Its mainly eggs, cheeses, raw milk, yogurt, grassfed beef, and sockeye salmon. And even though I haven't worked out in 5months now, my lean mass is still growing

    MadMUHHH and Matt have good points though, 20 eggs per week, doesn't add up to much O6, around ~12g per week.

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  34. Thanks for this list, Matt, and for the link to look these up. I tried the USDA database, but it didn't list 3's and 6's — or it called them something I didn't recognize.

    It would be interesting to put these on a graph, because dividing them into groups like this with smaller ranges at the bottom than at the top may make some seem higher than they are. Some in the second group, "Very High", like peanut butter, have less than a third of the Omega-6 of some in the first group, and barely more than the third group. (Not complaining; just observing. Maybe I'll graph them later to show there's a curve here with some real outliers.) If you simply cut out soybean oil and corn oil by cutting out processed foods, you'll probably be getting less than half the Omega-6 that most people get, even if you continue to eat "high" sources like pecans and peanut butter.

    Something to wonder about: say you cut out the vegetable oils a long time ago, but you've still been eating a lot of nuts and chicken and the like, so your Omega-6 percentage is something like 20%, while the average person's is more like 40% (just a guess). I wonder if that would be enough to significantly reduce your tissue concentration of Omega-6 over a few years, or whether you'd have to go lower than that to affect it after years of building it up.

    For now, I'm setting my limit at 12.5%. That way I can still use lard, bacon grease, and chicken with the skin; but I'll be cutting out the pecans and peanut butter that I was scarfing down in large quantities. I'll also be eating lots of stuff in the <2% range, which should put my average around 5% or so.

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  35. Fail. The numbers I posted were total PUFAs. Still bad enough but misleading. Deleted my previous post.

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  36. If you are going to obsess over reducing omega 6s in the body you will probably only be able to do it if you reduce the total amount of body fat that you are currently carrying.

    You would probably also need to go on a fairly low fat diet as well.

    You could go on a high carb/sugar/fructose/protein diet like ray peat reccomends if you are really serious about it.

    All 3 of these things that you need to do to reduce tissue concentration of omega 6 will be hard to do on the HED.

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  37. i use to eat peanut butter with celery quite often… i have had a unopened jar in my cupboard now for almost two months… it doesn't look appealing to me… what a waste of five bucks… haha. Chicken has disgusted me ever since i hopped off the low carb/paleo bandwagon… i never eat it anymore.

    I also feel better with more carbs, and less fat, the fat being coconut oil, butter, and ghee.

    I had some popcorn at the regal cinemas the other night… i looked up there nutritional info. and there one of the only theater companies that still use coconut oil to make there popcorn in. Its still probably deoderizeed and what not… and the popcorn is GM i am sure.. but oh well… fuck it.. i wanted some popcorn!!!

    nice list…

    troy

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  38. @Aaron

    I think you're on to something about cutting out the oils. I have made a huge effort to eat none of the high omega-6 vegetable oils listed here, and my skin inflammation cleared up within a few months. Other than that, I still eat all the various meats without worrying about how much omega-6 they have, and so far no problems have surfaced. It might be that omega-6 themselves are not harmful, but the overall process of refining vegetable oils and then cooking in them at high temperatures (especially when used in fryers) creates rancid and oxidized fats which wreak havoc in the body. Once those oils are extracted and exposed to air or heat, they begin to oxidize. Even the bottle you buy at the store is in a clear container and who knows how long it has been there. Omega-6 in meats and nuts is still in the cells and more protected against oxidation. This would suggest that whole nuts are preferable to nut butters.

    Scott

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  39. So I was reading the ingredients list on El Paso hard toco shells and it said something like corn flour, palm oil, lime, salt.

    Now I don't think that this a good choice of calories or anything, but was just surprised to see palm oil instead of corn or safflower.

    I do remember someone saying that their is a difference in palm oils. So I guess what I am saying is how do you tell if they are using "refined bleached deodorized palm oil"? Or do you just assume they are?

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  40. Deb,
    I have had cognitive dissonance about this issue for years myself. All of the observations of past observers suggest that the refining of carbohydrates and the massive increase in sugar was the primary culprit behind modern disease. To a large extent, I still agree, and I think that there really is such a thing as "a perfect nutritional storm" in which hyperinsulinemia collides with a high omega 6 diet to overproduce Arachidonic Acid out of the omega 6 we ingest.

    Without the insulin trigger, the omega 6 does not become AA per se.

    Walter Willett is what he eats I guess. You guys are welcome to read his book. Don't think you'll be particularly intrigued by this man's lack of ingenuity or intellectual prowess though.

    JT-
    I'm totally open and have noticed the same thing myself. The more carbs I eat the better I feel and overeating fat doesn't do much for me. I spent 3 years trying to get as much fat down as possible (200-300 grams per day). Probably a mistake, especially when making no differentation between high and low omega 6 sources. Nothing against fat, but I don't see any reason whatsoever to go overboard with it from a health standpoint.

    You guys are also right to suspect that rancid vegetable oils and intact, fresh, vitamin E rich nuts should not be on the same playing field. They are clearly in leagues of their own.

    And regardless of body fat levels, PUFA tissue concentration can be greatly altered. That's the whole point of Bill Lands's computer model. It predicts what tissue concentrations will be with x number of grams of omega 6 and x grams of omega 3 over x amount of time.

    But new dietary phobia or not, I think the reasons to pursue a low omega 6 diet greatly outweigh the short list of reasons not to. For the most part, it eliminates junk foods and replaces them with much tastier alternatives. Plus, with the potential it has for reducing allergy, food allergy, autoimmunity, etc. it could lead to having far LESS dietary phobias, not more – especially if it is able to bring the metabolic rate up without accompanying weight gain over time – giving us the best of both worlds (being hypermetabolic AND lean without any transient weight gain which would obviously be much more appealing to a much greater number of people).

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  41. What's the best brand for Coconut oil? Amazon seems to like Nutiva, which I remember using when I was on an anti-candida diet and I remembered that while it did work it also tasted very crappy and made me nauseous.

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  42. I no longer use extra virgin coconut oil at all. Just expeller pressed Tropical Traditions. Spectrum "refined" coconut oil is also an excellent choice and more widely available. Most health food stores carry it.

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  43. Matt,

    Are you against all polyunsaturated fats, or just omega 6? I am not sure what you are promoting, please clarify.

    Fresh polyunsaturated fats are just as dangerous as rancid fats, because once they are injested they will go rancid quickly at body temperature. According to Peat.

    The biggest problem with the polyunsaturated fats is their thyroid supressive effects.

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  44. I find it hard to believe that David Brown got that much of a benefit from the simple removal of peanut butter unless he was eating like twenty PBJ sandwiches a day or something. Unless, of course, he was eating regular store bought peanut butter that has a bunch of soy oil and such added to it in which case he'd be removing a lot more omega 6 than with peanut butter alone.

    Something I think needs to be said again is that you guys dont have to cut everything omega 6 out completely, which judging by some of the comments some of you seem to be aiming to do now, just dont eat so much of it or at the very least dont eat the vegetable oils. Matt has said on a few occasions that these omega 6 posts are giving advice on how to lower your omega 6 to the max but that its not necessarily required. Also, if you do go all out minimizing omega 6, you can lower your omega 6 concentrations and once you have you can start eating some more (not tons!) omega 6s now that the body has been healed. But eating a small amount of nuts and such isnt going to destroy you so if you want almonds or walnuts in your whatever, then use them!

    And to the person that uses lard, you are probably just fine if the lard is from pastured pigs instead of grain fed pigs. Lard is just fine unless the pigs are fed all the soy and grains.

    Reply
  45. if you starve yourself, would your body use up all the omega 6 fat stores in your body? Not that you want to starve yourself, better just to eat a low omega 6 diet.. but would that get rid of all your omega 6 stores?

    troy

    Reply
  46. yes, the body would use up all the omega 6 fat stores if you starved yourself. The body would use up all the other fat stores as well, because you are starving.

    It is a good idea for most people to keep a fairly low bodyfat level, but you might notice some negative side effects when the polyunsaturated fats and other toxins stored in fat are released into the blood stream when your body uses it for energy.

    Reply
  47. I find Ray Peat's ideas interesting but in the few books I have read of his he is not exactly specific about what his dietary recommendations are. Perhaps I am missing something … Does anyone know of a website/link/book where these are clearly outlined?

    Reply
  48. JT,

    "the body would use up all the omega 6 fat stores if you starved"

    Are cell membranes fat stores for you?

    Reply
  49. Mel–

    http://raypeat.com/articles/

    i think it goes something like this:

    milk, juice (especially orange), fruit, beef liver, beef with gelatin, gelatin, broth, potatoes, coffee, cream (without carageenan), butter, coconut oil (probably refined), white sugar, shellfish,

    looks a lot like the bottom of the omega 6 list

    i would check out this http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/vegetables.shtml
    article in particular

    also, the books are great, but you can probably get all the practical info you need from the articles

    Reply
  50. Ray peat is clear on his dietary recommendation. High carb (prefer sugar and fruits over starch), high protein, but not too much muscle meat and no whey protein, likes cheese, milk gelatin. Low fat, and no polyunsaturated fats, like coconut oil.

    I am not an expert on fat fuel metabolism, but I assume under extreme starvation the body will catabolize whatever it can in order to survive. I have heard that the fat cells never disapear, only expand and shrink, but I don't know if this is true.

    Reply
  51. Matt and madMUHHH–Thanks for clearing that up. It makes sense now (that was totally a blonde moment, lol). Yeah, we don't eat a lot of popcorn or oats–maybe a few servings a week–so that's really not a big deal at all.

    Reply
  52. Something else I thought of was that exercise really could be used as a means to decrease omega 6 and all polyunsaturated fat concentration in the body. If you just eat a lot of food with less omega 6, you are not going to eliminate the omega 6 that is already stored in the body, you would just add extra fat on top of the bad fats, and maybe even make things worse.

    If this is true, then short term calorie restriction and exercise would be a way to correct this damage. It would be like an oil change!

    Reply
  53. Matt,
    Thanks for this post!

    I have a question from my husband. He is 26 years old, thin, with decent energy and poor muscle tone. He is in the army and he just barely passed the physical-training test at the end of basic training. This summer he has to go to advanced training and must pass a more strenuous test. To prepare for an intense few weeks of workouts, should he be going heavier on the carbs, protein or fat? Also, how often should he be working out?

    Reply
  54. JT

    Even without exercise, fat stores and cells are constantly turning over. Going low omega-6 would lead to less tissue concentration even without exercising. Anyone trying to pass a drug test who has smoked marijuana knows this: the metabolites are stored in fat tissue, but after about a month or so the entire bodyfat has been used and replaced, so the marijuana use is longer detectable. This happens even in the absence of a change in weight or body composition.

    Scott

    Reply
  55. Swede,

    Good point, I was just speculating on some possibilities.

    So if you were contaminated with large amounts any sort of toxin they would all be completely out of your system within 1 month max? Even if this exposure was constant for 30 years?

    Reply
  56. Da'roo, regular peanut butter like Jif or Peter Pan has partially hydrogenated soy oil AND sugar or high fructose corn syrup. So those two things alone eaten on a regular basis would be really bad, so the omega 6 in the mix would make it even worse. Reduced fat peanut butter has all that plus soy protein….yuck!
    After eating all natural peanut butter I can't stand the non natural stuff.

    Reply
  57. JT–

    "Low fat, and no polyunsaturated fats, like coconut oil." Peat likes coconut oil. Is that what you meant?

    Also, I don't think he's necessarily low fat. He'd like most of his fats to be saturated, for sure, though. He said somewhere that we don't yet know the ideal ratio of fats to sugars, but that he suspects it lies more on the side of sugars. Keep in mind that this doesn't mean the diet is necessarily anywhere near low fat. If you're drinking 2 quarts of regular milk a day, plus a pint of ice cream, 2 eggs, butter, and coconut oil, I don't think you could consider your diet low fat.

    I'm curious, how did you come across his books if you haven't seen his articles?

    Reply
  58. D,

    Yeah, I know he isn't extremely low fat, but the ratio of sugars to fat would be greater in the favor of sugars. It is difficult to get the PUFAs down low enough unless you keep fats a little lower in comparison to carbs overall. He also mentions the protective effects of extremely low fat diets.

    Reply
  59. D,

    And yes, I meant to say that he loves coconut oil.

    I have tried to force myself to eat it many times because of his advice, but I just can't tolerate it. I do like it on my skin though.

    Reply
  60. JT,

    I've started using the refined Spectrum product. The virgin oil starts to taste terrible after a while.

    Have you had good results with a Peat diet? I'm finally starting to make things like OxTail soup instead of steaks, and I think I'm noticing the difference.

    Reply
  61. Thanks for this. I'd been wondering about this for a while. There is such a misconception in the general public about Omega 6. They just think all Omega fatty acids are good for you, without bothering to know what they really are and how the effect you.

    Reply
  62. Droo-
    The point once again is what it would take to overturn high tissue concentrations of omega 6. David Brown says he's been eating 5 peanut butter sandwiches per week since 1972. That's enough to tilt the balance big time and full removal for 3 months was probably enough to make significant progress in the other direction – enough for pressing health problems like muscle pain, joint pain, and gingivitis subside. It can take up to a couple years to rid the entire body of excess omega 6. And it's on the cellular level that AA PUFA accumulates. Sure dropping some weight would probably help, but you'd probably be better off lowering omega 6 to lose weight, not losing weight to lower omega 6. Debatable though and thanks for the thought.

    And JT-
    Omega 3 is probably just as bad as omega 6, but it's not really a dietary concern. We already get very little of it unless we take supplements. The American diet is already very low in omega 3, which is fine if omega 6 is low too.

    April-
    I'd tell him to eat lots of food and rest up. Sure, being in shape prior to it would make the training portion easier, but from a health standpoint – doing lots of exercise to get ready for more exercise when you are already very thin and lacking energy is one hell of a poor strategy.

    Reply
  63. It's good and refreshing that Omega 3's aren't promoted by Matt. So easy to mix up cause and effect regarding O-6 and O-3. Just because O-3 will reduce some adverse symptoms caused by O-6. That's the reason why it's hard to see that O-3 is backstabbing you while you are temporarily feeling/measuring better.

    Reply
  64. Valley Mom I think the general public is just terrified of anything with saturated fat or cholesterol. They have been led to believe that anything polyunsaturated will prevent them from ever getting high cholesterol and heart disease…oh how wrong they are! I even saw at the vitamin shop polyunsaturated oil supplements, so basically capsules filled with soy oil or some other junk oil, and this was being sold to promote heart health.

    Reply
  65. once again when i think i am done with reading your stuff matt, you convince me yet again to be convinced by your arguement… i am a bit confused however…ill spare most my questions for google

    if your dont need a "high fat" diet then whats the point of macadamia oil…shouldnt you eat the macadamia nuts instead?

    are we now back to a moderate fat, high carb, and necessary protein "way of eating?"…sounding like the food pyramid…

    yams? i have never actually seen a YAM at the store…sweet potatoes i see galore but not yams. where does one get a YAM?

    arent yams high in fructose?

    been wanting to try beef liver..now i have a reason to!

    what is foie gras??

    Reply
  66. Vida, it's not about the amount of calories you eat, just following your hunger, if you are hungry: eat! This whole calorie thing needs to go away.

    malpaz, Foie Gras is fatty duck liver :) I have yet to try it, never seen it in a store… boooo!

    Reply
  67. Don't eat foie gras! It will ruin your life if you do. Every time you sit down to a meal thereafter you'll be pissed that what you're eating ISN'T foie gras. Nothing compares to it.

    Malpaz-
    I'm not trying to convince you of any argument, just exploring theoretical possibilities that are of interest. If you aren't confused, then you haven't studied nutrition and health info. long enough.

    I don't think macronutrient ratios are the be all end all. 50% fat. 30% fat, 30% carb, 60% carb – who cares. I just think that it is totally plausible that the higher you go in fat, the more important it is to eat really low omega 6 sources. High fat polynesians ate low omega 6, Masai warriors ate low omega 6, eskimos ate low omega 6.

    I remember no native diet in Price's book talking about eating lots of nuts, seed oils, lard, and chicken fat. But hey, if you follow the WAPF you'd think nuts and, lard, and chicken skin were 3 of the 5 food groups.

    Reply
  68. The coconut oil that reaches the retails store shelves is rotgut quality, even the Spectrum brand. I did some vendor research a few years ago, and came up with two vendors who kept track of the chain of custody to ensure quality:

    .Tropical Traditions
    .Wilderness Family Naturals

    WFN offers a centrifuged-produced oil, which is the mildest tasting I've ever had; I can taste some of the smoke residues from the traditionally-made Tropical Traditions brand.

    Reply
  69. oh believe me i am ALWAYS confused… but thank you what you commented makes sense…

    duck liver?? hmm we dont have that in Mississippi lol…we do not have A LOT of stuff here which is prolly accounting for the incredible obesity epidemic the people here suffer from

    Reply
  70. oh one more thing- what is macadamia oil best used for? whats it's high point cooking temp? i was gonna try it to replace the ollive oil in my coconut/olive mayo… any advice?

    Reply
  71. Malpaz-

    There are plenty of fatty livers in Miz-Zippy. They're all in the humans though.

    Mac nut oil is good for those who want a liquid oil but not much omega 6. High smoke point is good for some sauteeing, although Tropical Traditions expeller pressed oil is my choice. As for mayo, mac nut oil is okay. Kinda strong tasting for it. I've been steering people towards making sour cream spreads to replace mayo – even homemade, but olive oil as you can see isn't the worst on the list. A tablespoon here and there is pretty insignificant if you're avoiding veggie oil and nuts.

    Reply
  72. Thanks JT and d for the Ray Peat comments. I have now looked at his articles and one does have to wade through a lot of commentary to get to what exactly he thinks we should be eating. Does he think milk needs to be raw … as far as I can tell he seems ok with pasteurization … AND he seems to think ice cream is ok … sounds good to me?! Matt, I think you should do an ezine commentary on his writings for those of us struggling to interpret his interesting ideas. I like him because he is one of the very very few who isn't trying to sell stuff … as far as I can see.

    Reply
  73. Dinosaur, maybe what you're looking for are the radio interviews. There's one on eluv that's available right off google. Also, it doesn't make sense to just follow his food list blindly. It also doesn't make much sense to take other people's opinions on Peat's recommendations seriously. Mary Enig has an article on Peat. She basically says, well, he's wrong because he's wrong, but also because he's an endocrinologist. You won't see very much science invoked in any Peat attacks.

    Reply
  74. I should also point you to http://diet-fucked.blogspot.com/

    There are some really great comments off of the last few posts. A lot of people, myself included, trying to figure Peat out. Hopefully they'll put a new post up in the next few days.

    Reply
  75. I hope to review Peat's work in greater depth and then report back. I was planning a quick blog post on Peat while embedding the Eluv podcast if possible. It's kinda awesome.

    Actually, I hope to contact him later in the year for a podcast or something of the likes.

    D-
    Enig's attack on Peat was pretty dumb. I commented there a couple of times. It's weird how the WAPF peeps are mad veggie oil haters but seem to think there is no omega 6 in other foods unless it comes to grassfed beef, in which they'll make a huge fuss over a drop of CLA and omega 3 in grassfed vs. grain fed beef, as if that has some kind of life and death significance.

    I hope to address some of this in my Cheeseslave interview which is being recoreded tomorrow.

    Reply
  76. D-
    Enig's attack on Peat was pretty dumb. I commented there a couple of times.

    Very dumb. I noted that years ago in a WAP (not WAPF) oriented yahoo group. No one said anything likely because everyone was pretty anti-Ray Peat at the time, but no one disagreed either.

    It's weird how the WAPF peeps are mad veggie oil haters but seem to think there is no omega 6 in other foods unless it comes to grassfed beef, in which they'll make a huge fuss over a drop of CLA and omega 3 in grassfed vs. grain fed beef, as if that has some kind of life and death significance.

    Are you sure this is indicative of WAPF or just some people in WAPF? Unless something has changed I am pretty sure Sally Fallon doesn't think this way and I know Chris Masterjohn doesn't think this way.

    I'm seem to recall a pretty intense dispute (relatively speaking) on the Chapter Leaders list between Sally and another guy touting the benefits of his EFA enhanced beef.

    Reply
  77. I remember no native diet in Price's book talking about eating lots of nuts, seed oils, lard, and chicken fat. But hey, if you follow the WAPF you'd think nuts and, lard, and chicken skin were 3 of the 5 food groups.

    Now that is something that would be well worth pointing out in your cheeseslave podcast. Many of her readers seem to be big into these items as large parts of their diet.

    There are certain emphases that seem to have developed among some of the WAPF followers that don't necessarily reflect the WAPF's official position (or WAP's teachings) but people have glommed onto them for whatever reason. My guess is that the demographic that follows Ann Marie is made up of many mothers who find nuts a handy and tasty snack for children, as just one example.

    There are some official WAPF positions that in my opinion don't reflect WAP, but I won't stir the pot in someone else's combox. :-)

    Reply
  78. Matt, that'd be awesome if you did an interview with Peat.

    I've been reading his stuff for a while. He's got all your standard info on saturated fat being health, etc., but when it came to his views on sugar, I basically put my fingers in my ears and sang. I was picking and choosing what I liked about his research. Then I kept reading it and eventually said, what the fuck, and started eating a lot of sugar. I was near zero carb for a while, and had avoided sugar for years before this. Turns out I didn't die! Nothing close. I'm fine.

    Reply
  79. Yes, I'm coming around to Peat. It takes a while. And yes, sugar is better than zero carb as far as I'm concerned. The first thing I ate after 30 days of zero carbing was 2 quarts of fresh carrot and orange juice (from Jamba) and about 5 Andrew Weil date bars :)

    I do think that his carbohydate info. is less well-researched and thought out than his lipid research. His support for sucrose is built on the fact that it contains 50% fructose and doesn't raise insulin as high. That's actually the problem, not the reason to endorse it. You want the carbs you eat to raise insulin (and leptin) or else they won't satiate you to the same degree. Plus, what raises insulin after a meal for an hour or two is not significant. What matters is chronic high insulin levels as a result of insulin resistance, and fructose appears to have a much stronger link to insulin resistance than glucose could ever dream of.

    Michael-
    Seems the WAPF are big supporters of grass fed beef, as it is part of their ethical traditional-farming mindset. That's all well and good, but they use the omega 3 and CLA tidbits of research to support its vast superiority over factory beef, giving followers the idea that CLA will prevent cancer and promote weight loss and omega 3 is the Almighty himself. It's a stretch. Grassfed beef is expensive. Grassfed beef is usually frozen for months. And grassfed beef is often quite gross. Maybe grassfed beef in Argentina is good. It's not bad in Maui either. But in Colorado it is funky-tasting shoe leather.

    I'll take a fresh slab of uber-tender, fatty, marbled, supermarket ribeye over that any day.

    Reply
  80. The problem is we have the two extremes of beef now. Most cattle are raised on feed floors and fed almost nothing but grain, so they need constant antibiotics to stay alive, and the diet and focus on speed to market makes the meat fairly tasteless and with a worse Omega-6/3 ratio.

    Then there's the over-reaction: cattle that eat nothing but grass right up to slaughter, so they're super lean, which tends to mean tough and tasteless too.

    The best way is the way everyone used to grow beef: put them on pasture for most of their life, and then finish them for the last month or so by adding grain. Life on pasture makes them healthy, and the grain at the end fattens them up. My parents still do it that way, and the flavor and tenderness is incredible.

    Reply
  81. That's difintely the method homeboy. Omega 6 to 3 ratios in beef are irrelevant though. If ratios are the thing, adding 1 drop of fish oil will counter balance any imbalance with feedlot beef. If you eat a cup of walnuts every day as a snack, you'll need to eat 3 pounds of salmon to reach a 1:1 ratio. That's the point of this post, and my argument for why the omega 6 to 3 ratio in beef is an irrelevant in the big scheme of things.

    Reply
  82. The small amount of reading I've done on Omega 6 certainly points in the direction of this post. However, my inquiring mind wonders if it is possible that singling out the Omega 6 content of food may be a bit simplistic? As an earlier comment said, there may be an inverse relationship between eating nuts and ill health. Perhaps Omega 6 found in whole foods does not have nearly the detrimental effect of those found in processed foods since it is present in conjunction with all the other cofactors in that food. It is a bit like trying to convince people Fruit Loops are good for you because they have 3 grams of fiber/serving (yes, this was on a commercial I saw yesterday). Just a thought. I didn't get to read every comment so forgive me if someone already brought this up.

    Reply
  83. The thing is, nuts may have quite a bit of Omega 6, but they also have some nutrients that may help counter the ill effects, like antioxidants to protect those fragile fats. But the average fat and unhealthy Westerner isn't getting most of his Omega 6s from pecans; he's getting them from corn and soybean oil, which are far higher in Omega 6s and have no redeeming qualities to balance them.

    There's also a big difference between having a handful of nuts as a snack now and then, which might raise your Omega 6 load a couple percentage points, and using nut flours to replace grain flours in all your baked goods, which could multiply it several times over. Nuts are also expensive, so a correlation between nuts and good health may not say anything about the nuts at all, but could instead be because people who eat nuts can afford better food in general — olive oil rather than hydrogenated corn oil, for instance.

    Matt, absolutely, the 6/3 ratio in pastured livestock is probably more of a marketing tool than anything meaningful to health. All meat is so much lower in Omega 6s than vegetable oils that trying to squeeze a few more percentage points out of your meat with growing practices that lessen the palatability doesn't seem worth it.

    Reply
  84. What's the O-6 percentage of the Sikhs' apricot oil? How about Quinoa, "the mother grain of the Incas"? That might shed some light on the fresh vs. processed O-6 debate.

    Reply
  85. Good points. I too assumed that because nuts contained lots of vitamin E and the fats were intact that they were fine. That may be the case. It may not be, which is why we're bringing it up.

    If Americans have tissue levels that are really high in omega 6, and that is as harmful as some authors and researchers believe, then you won't make progress towards reducing that unless you eat a low omega 6 diet as Bill Lands has clearly shown with his uber reliable computer program that predicts tissue concentration. That's the idea being explored, and I don't see any major reason not to when the potential benefits are so huge.

    Sikhs apricot oil is high omega 6, and so was their wheat, but overall they ate a low-fat diet and were not hyperinsunlemic (which triggers the formation of AA out of the omega 6 we ingest – the point of Barry Sears's Zone theory).

    Once again, the whole point is counterbalancing a cumulative imbalance. Perhaps nuts are healthy for someone with a low PUFA tissue concentration, and harmful for someone with a high omega 6 level. That seems like a reasonable argument to me.

    Reply
  86. Matt, you say you prefer the taste of corn fed supermarket beef well I am struggling with the raw milk thing – I don't like it. I bought some raw butter and it just didn't taste as good as pasteurized butter to me. Raw cheese is good but the non fermented dairy products just don't taste so good to me. Does Peat think pasteurized dairy is ok?

    And personally corn fed or grass fed, good for me or bad for me, I wouldn't eat a dead animal that had been treated as cruelly as factory farmed cows are … supermarket ribeye may taste great but what kind of life did the cow lead. It amazes and depresses me that more people don't care about the cruelty issue … I'm not a big animal lover – I'd run a mile if I saw a cow face to face (City girl that I am) but I would never want to eat an animal that had led such a miserable unnatural life, whatever it tasted like … sorry, I know this isn't an animal welfare site .. I just couldn't help myself …

    Reply
  87. Dinosaur, maybe you're just getting lousy milk? You want to confirm two variables:
    1. Pasture raised, not feedlot.
    2. A non-Holstein breed of cattle. Holsteins have been bred for quantity of milk production, not quality. Jersey and Guersey cows are two common breeds with better quality milk, but they're not the only ones.

    Do you have another source you can try? I get grassfed raw milk from a nice Amish fellow and it's frickin' amazing; to say nothing of the heavy cream (drool).

    I buy grassfed butter at Whole Foods. It's pasteurized, but the problem with pasteurization is its effects on the milk proteins, not the fats.

    Reply
  88. MATT STONE said:If you eat a cup of walnuts every day as a snack, you'll need to eat 3 pounds of salmon to reach a 1:1 ratio. That's the point of this post, and my argument for why the omega 6 to 3 ratio in beef is an irrelevant in the big scheme of things.

    Well said Matt.Its like when I did this unnamed diet a few yrs back.The inventor had said that he was striving for a ratio of Omega3 to 6 of 1:1.I became so inflammed on this diet and my joints were killing me that I went and looked up all the foods I was eating and found that I was getting more like 10:1 in favor of Omega6.But the BIG issue here was that he pushed peanut butter as fat and so the PUFA amounts where just plain higher than on a different type diet.

    Reply
  89. Well that's just, ahem, NUTS!

    Maybe he should recommend Brazil nuts. They have an omega 6 to omega 3 ratio of…

    1,144 to 1

    And to think this would fit the perfect definition in mainstream nutrition of a "healthy fat." It certainly could be a tragic mistake.

    Reply
  90. Sorry Dinosaur, forgot to reply to your comment.

    Sounds like you're getting unwashed or cultured raw butter, such as that sold by organic pastures. I refer to this as tasting like cheese that has fermented in a well-worn jock strap.

    Like anything (grass fed beef as well), the quality is highly variable. Some raw cream, raw milk, and raw butter if super funky. Some of it is spectacular. I still consume pasteurized cream and butter most of the time though.

    As for feedlot beef, I treat the issue like I do with foie gras (which is 10X more unethical). Humans find ways of making things superior to their senses. It comes with being on the top of the food chain. We do lots of damage. Harm a lot of creatures. There's hardly anything that we do for our own benefit – drive cars, use electricity, take showers, build houses, eat nonlocal food, wear clothes made from crops sprayed with pesticides and shipped halfway across the world, etc. that's not unethical.

    This kind of crap used to run my life. Now it doesn't. When it comes to what we eat, in particular, creating moral issues around our food choices usually ends in disaster (see vegans/breathatarians).

    Pass the foie gras.

    Reply
  91. @Matt Stone

    Michael-
    Seems the WAPF are big supporters of grass fed beef, as it is part of their ethical traditional-farming mindset. That's all well and good, but they use the omega 3 and CLA tidbits of research to support its vast superiority over factory beef, giving followers the idea that CLA will prevent cancer and promote weight loss and omega 3 is the Almighty himself. It's a stretch.

    I know for a fact that internally the shakers and movers within the WAPF don't believe the omega 3/CLA research is what makes grass fed superior. It is considered a non-starter. Of course that doesn't mean many of the followers, on their own accord, don't believe this, but that is a different thing. Many of them are also strict paleo/low carb devotees as well.

    As I pointed out in a previous comment, there is often a disconnect between official WAPF and WAPF members/followers, just as on occasion there is a disconnect between official WAPF and WAP (Weston A Price – the man) on some issues.

    Grassfed beef is expensive. Grassfed beef is usually frozen for months. And grassfed beef is often quite gross. Maybe grassfed beef in Argentina is good. It's not bad in Maui either. But in Colorado it is funky-tasting shoe leather.

    Sounds like you have been grass-fed slumming, LOL!

    As you know, there is a huge discrepancy in grass-fed meat just as there is in conventional raised meats. I once cooked two steaks, one from Whole Foods and the other from another high end grocer in the area. Both were the same grade and grain-finished, but the steak from WF was infinitely more delicious. Even my junk food eating neighbors who I was grilling for noticed the difference.

    So yeah what you say about grass-finished beef is largely true, mostly because those folks have for the most part bought into the lean beef hype. Ugh! Also because grass-fed beef can't be cooked like conventional beef (unless you want the shoe leather effect).

    But if you ever have longhorn beef (Longhorn are de-facto grass-fed because they don't thrive on grains) or a properly cooked steak from Northstar Bison (low and slow, baby!) which cuts like butter even when raw, you will be a fan for life.

    I'll take a fresh slab of uber-tender, fatty, marbled, supermarket ribeye over that any day.

    LOL! You will get no argument from me (or Sally Fallon) on that one.

    @Aaron

    Then there's the over-reaction: cattle that eat nothing but grass right up to slaughter, so they're super lean, which tends to mean tough and tasteless too.

    That is not a function of grass but rather of bringing the beef to the market too soon. Left to pasture longer the animal will get quite fatty, but the current market doesn't allow for that.

    On the other hand it is true that even at pasture cattle would consume naturally occurring grains during certain times of the year. This has long been an argument put forth by Sally Fallon for years.

    Reply
  92. In their "official material" they certainly sound like they are overhyping CLA to me, but you're right about their claim that omega 6 and 3 is pretty much a non-issue with grass/grain fed beef:

    "Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is another nutrient found in the fat of ruminant animals that feed on green grass. CLA has been found to be highly protective against cancer when added to the diets of laboratory animals.3 In addition, CLA promotes the deposition of muscle rather than fat. In a double-blind study with human volunteers, those given CLA had a significant 15 to 20 percent decline in body fat compared to those given a placebo.4 In another study, men enrolled in a bodybuilding program were given either CLA or a placebo. After 28 days, the placebo group could lift nine more pounds; but the CLA group could bench-press 30 pounds more than they had at the beginning of the program.5

    It's no accident that the New Zealand All Blacks, the national rugby team composed of players who grew up on pasture-fed New Zealand butter, is so hard to beat, even though most of the teams they play come from countries with a much larger population base."

    That is intended to make someone feel like eating grassfed beef will make them stronger and leaner, while significantly reducing their chances of getting cancer. The amount of CLA in grassfed meat is not substantial to notice the same effects as supplementing pharmacological doses. My point is that the tiny amount of CLA is insignificant from an overall standpoint on all of those factors.

    Reply
  93. Was that in the grassfed beef section? Looks to me like they are talking about butter which indeed they are fanatical about.

    No matter though. Just a confirmation of the official/unofficial dichotomy that sometimes exist over there. You read the site long enough/deep enough (which I haven't read since the new site recently came online) and you can get the idea they are low carbers as well, which they are not.

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  94. Hey Matt ! … I am revisiting this post to read again about cytokines … I have recently read several places that excessive cytokines prevent T4 conversion to T3 … things that make ya go "hmmmm" … any thoughts on this ??
    :)

    Reply
  95. Lots of thoughts about it!

    You might have noticed that recently I, with the leads of leptin-oriented authors Jon Gabriel and Leo Galland, did some research into the fact that cytokines cause a counter-inflammatory protein to be released called SOCS-3. This substance interferes with leptin and could presumably be the reason why the thyroid slows down and body temperature drops.

    Reply
  96. Matt, thanks for this list! It is really accessible, and also feels instinctual, for the most part. I'm curious about lard, though. I had thought that it was a healthy fat. Is the omega-6 content you've listed from hydrogenated lard we'd find on our grocery shelves? Or is that the content we'd end up with after rendering our own from grass-fed sources?

    Reply
  97. Teal,

    Pigs (like humans) vary their O-6 content with their diet. Matt can correct me if need be, but I believe the listed numbers are for factory-farm raised lard on a diet rich in soy feed. Pastured pork will be much lower in 0-6.

    Reply
  98. You'd be hard-pressed to find grass-fed pigs, as pigs don't really eat grass. I know what you mean though. I would think that the best pork fat would come from milk-fed pigs. Often, near dairy farms, milk is skimmed for butter and cream and what's left over is given to pigs. Probably makes great piggy body fat. Otherwise, they do tend to have higher polyunsaturated body fat. Even pastured pigs still tpyically get lots of corn. If they don't, they forage for nuts and acorns. Either way, they will always have more omega 6 body fat than cows and other ruminants. Not the best choice perhaps, but much better than poultry fat and in a totally different league than seed oils.

    Reply
  99. Thanks! That was a great expansion. I'm still new at the whole non-CW nutrition thing, and it's so exciting to me, but there's just so much to learn. Your site (especially all the give-and-take in the comments) is a treasure trove of information.

    Reply
  100. I only eat egg whites and would like to know if egg whites are significantly different as an Omega 6 source than egg yolks or whole eggs. I enjoyed reading the post and the comments. Thanks

    Reply
  101. Whites have negligible amounts of all fats, including omega 6.

    Reply
  102. I have a daughter with mitochondrial disorders and possibly a form of Autism. She is supposed to be on Gaps or SCD, but I don't like how they rely so much on nuts and fruit. It's hard to get a 4 year to eat a lot of squash or veggies instead! What's your take on these diets for gut healing.
    Amy

    Reply
  103. Anyone reading this without reading Brian Peskin’s work on omega 6 is far removed from the truth. His research has brought to light the importance of omega 6 oils. It”s not the amount of omega 6 but the processing that destroys the omega 6 that are to blame for diseases like cancer and heart problems. He bases his research on science and little known but valid studies.
    Omega 6 builds the bodies most potent anti-inflammatory as well as the most potent blood thinner. Omega 3 is found in only small quantities in the body while omega 6 is found in much larger quantities. Consuming unheated unadulterated omega 6 according to Peskin is the key to preventing cancer and keeping arteries clear as well as lowering the desire for carbohydrates which is the reason behind the diabetes epidemic.

    Reply
    • Brian Peskin’s work is not the truth. Carbohydrates are not the reason for the diabetes epidemic. Peskin’s research is like that of most – too small in scope and vision to have a more mature comprehensive vision, overly sure of itself, and taken out of context. I wouldn’t get too overly seduced by any one researcher’s ideas, and overly zealous going around on websites telling everyone of some secret Messiah that has unlocked “the truth.” Most people find their way here after giving up on all the inside “truths” and ready to have a more open, balanced discussion. Hope to see you back when you’re ready.

      Reply
      • Hi Matt, is this a novel aspect of refining fat, body fat: Bears shot and eaten in the autumn are said to taste fishy while specimens from spring are “the best”. We would guess the opposite as the spring fat has survived the winter sleep which means not so “fresh” any more. But assume it is as said, it could well mean that bear bodies consume the fat with the shortest lifespan (until rancidity) first and leave the longer lasting saturates and monounsaturated.
        Also that our bodies are likely as clever. If this would be correct it means:
        1/ Omega 6 (all PUFA) tissue percentage can be lowered by intermittent fasting.
        2/ Without intermittent fasting our PUFA levels stay high and the omega 6 will eventually go past its “use by date” and become rancid…
        3/ Deselecting omega-6 alone as you suggest may be enough if young enough.

        Add to the equation the enormous increase in omega 6 consumption and the scale of the problem can be better grasped.

        Reply
    • The key points in peskin,s omega 6 recommendations are both quality and quantity. He suggests only a few grams a day of very high quality omega 6 and a bit less of alpha linoleic acid. Maybe 3 or 4 grams of them together at the most. The restricting all the other crap pufa and eating a good amount of saturated fat.

      It’s the quantity and quality thing that is lost on most people including ray peat.

      Reply
  104. This is very helpful for figuring out which foods are high or low in omega 6 fatty acids, thanks. I wish I could find a site with the actual mg of omega 6 per ounce of food so I can calculate how much omega 3 I need to take.

    Reply
  105. BrianPeskin.com for science based information re: Omega 3 and 6. Go read abd listen. Information is based on science, not opinion, so go!

    Reply
  106. Walnuts are very high in Omega3 and registered dieticians consider them one of the healthiest fat sources available. Don’t take my word for it. Search the scientific literature yourself.

    Reply
  107. Ok, so what about babies who cannot tolerate dairy? My little one is breastfed, and any time I consume even the smallest amount of dairy he gets way mucousy and bloated for three sleepless days and nights. Is coconut milk ice cream comparable in nutritional value?

    And as for the unexplained disease and sickness in our society, has anyone heard of gmos and pharmaceuticals? I, for one, believe that gmos were in our food supply way before the general public had knowledge of them…

    Reply
    • The coconut milk ice cream sounds reasonable to me.

      Reply
  108. Ive noticed this last year that every time I eat something that I know has some Omega 6 oils in it I get leg and feet muscle pain and weakness. That crap is in almost everything Any one eles ever get symptoms of any kind from eating omega 6 oils? Symptoms are getting so bad Im going to have to be vigilent Started eating eggs and almonds not knowing they have some in them as well and worse ANYONE???

    Reply
  109. This might be a dumb question, but where does rice land in the grand scheme of things?

    Reply
    • Very very low in Omega 6 fat content. Brown rice is around 2.5%, white rice 0.7%. Most starches, especially refined starched like white rice, are great foods when it comes to PUFAs.

      Reply
      • Thanks Rob!

        Reply
  110. As to the palm oil – i usually buy palm fruit oil instead of kernel, as it’s easier to obtain. I did a little digging & found dr weill quoting some guy saying the kernel oil can’t be extracted organically…as it requires chemicals in the extraction process. I wonder if this is really true? Do ya’ll know of any sources to read up on the processing of palm kernel oil? here’s the link to dr weill’s post about the palm oils – http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/id/QAA118473

    Reply
  111. I don’t think this is the whole story. Chicken is like 20% pufa, so it’s close to peanuts, would you consider chicken an inflammatory food? I noticed a lot more ill effects from eating deep fried foods like fries and chips. And even if you eat only rapeseed fat doesn’t mean your fat tissues will be 80% pufa? I mean the body can synthesize fatty acids and cholesterol right? I suspect gluten and most processed meats to be more inflammatory than roasted peanuts

    Reply
    • I consider chicken, the skin and organ meats in particular, to be extremely inflammatory. I have an immediate inflammatory reaction to rich sources of AA. Much more so than rich sources of LA which is what this post is about. My post about Floyd Chilton’s book Inflammation Nation goes into detail about this if you seek further reading.

      Reply
      • Hi Matt, did you miss my question from September 20th 2013 ?
        Looking forward to your reply. Sten,

        Reply

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