Ratio of fatty acids in different foods

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Replacing dietary saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats is controversial, and it is unclear whether the dietary ratio of omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids is important for human health.[1]

Ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in the diets of hunter-gatherers[edit]

It has been claimed that among hunter-gatherer populations, omega-3 fats and omega-6 fats are typically consumed in roughly a 1:1 ratio.[2] At one extreme of the spectrum of hunter-gatherer diets, the Greenland Inuit, prior to the late Twentieth Century, consumed a diet in which omega-6s and omega-3s were consumed in a 1:2 ratio, thanks to a diet rich in cold-water fish (which are a rich source of omega-3s) and completely devoid of omega-6-rich seed oils.[3]

Optimal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats[edit]

To date, "no one knows what the optimal ratio in the diet is for these two families of fats."[4] Susan Allport writes that the current ratio in Japan is associated with a very low incidence of heart and other diseases. A dietary ratio of 4:1 produces almost a 1:1 ratio of highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFAs) in cell membranes."[4]

Andrew Stoll, who advocates the consumption of the two fats in a 1:1 ratio, states, "Once in the body, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids follow parallel pathways, continually competing with each other for chemical conversion to various structures and molecules inside and outside the cells. Given this mechanism, it makes sense that the two fats might be required in approximately equal amounts."[5]

Both Stoll and Allport assert that present-day diets in the developed world have departed dramatically from this ratio. It has been estimated that in developed countries, the ratio of Omega-6s to Omega-3s is closer to 15:1[6] Another estimate is that "[t]he diet consumed by the typical American tends to contain 14 - 25 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids."[7]

Fish[edit]

Food Citation Serving Size Omega-6 fatty acids (g) Omega-3 fatty acids (g) Omega-6 : Omega-3 ratio
Salmon, wild, raw [8] 4 oz (113g) 0.2 2.3 1 : 12
Sardines, canned in oil, drained [9] 4 oz 4.0 1.8 2.2 : 1
Tuna, canned in water, drained [9] 4 oz 0.01 0.3 1 : 30
Tuna, canned in oil, drained [9] 4 oz 3.0 0.2 15 : 1
Cod, fresh and frozen [9] 4 oz 0.1 0.6 1 : 6
Mackerel, canned, drained [9] 4 oz 0.2 2.2 1 : 11
Swordfish, fresh and frozen, cooked [9] 4 oz 0.3 1.7 1 : 5.6
Crab, soft shell, cooked [9] 4 oz 0.1 0.6 1 : 6
Lobster, cooked [9] 4 oz 0.006 0.12 1 : 20
Bluefish, fresh and frozen, cooked [9] 4 oz 0.3 1.7 1 : 5.6
Salmon, canned, drained [9] 4 oz 0.2 2.2 1 : 11
Smelt, rainbow [9] 4 oz 0.2 0.5 1 : 2.5
Scallops, Maine, fresh and frozen, cooked [9] 4 oz 0.1 0.5 1 : 5

Nuts and seeds[edit]

Food Citation Serving Size Omega-6 (g) Omega-3 (g) Omega-6 : Omega-3 ratio
Almonds, dry roasted [10] 1 oz 3.378 0.002 1987 : 1
Cashews [11] 1 oz 2.179 0.017 125 : 1
Chia seeds [12] 1 oz 1.620 4.915 1 : 3
Coconut, raw [13] 1 oz 0.102 trace
Flax seeds [14] 1 oz 1.655 6.388 1 : 4
Hazelnuts, filberts [15] 1 oz 2.193 0.024 90 : 1
Pecans [16] 1 oz 5.777 0.276 21 : 1
Pistachios, raw [17] 1 oz 3.696 0.071 52 : 1
Poppy seed [18] 1 oz 7.921 0.076 104 : 1
Pumpkin seeds, whole, roasted, without salt [19] 1 oz 2.452 0.021 114 : 1
Sesame seeds, whole, dried [20] 1 oz 5.984 0.105 57 : 1
Sunflower seeds, kernels, dried [21] 1 oz 6.454 0.021 312 : 1
Walnuts [22] 1 oz 10.666 2.542 4.2 : 1
Sacha Inchi seeds [23] 1 oz 5.486 4.771 1.15 : 1
Lentils, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt [24] 1 oz 38.4 10.4 3.7 : 1

Oils[edit]

Food Citation Serving Size Omega-6 (g) Omega-3 (g) Omega-6 : Omega-3 ratio
Avocado Oil 1.82 0.14 13:1
Butter
Canola oil [9] 1 Tbsp 2.8 1.3 2.2 : 1
Coconut oil
Cod liver oil [9] 1 Tbsp 0.3 2.8 1 : 9.3
Corn oil 46 : 1[25]
Cotton seed
Flax seed oil [9] 1 Tbsp 2.0 6.9 1 : 3.5
Ghee
Grape seed
Lard
Olive oil [9] 1 Tbsp 1.1 0.1 11 : 1
Palm oil (Hydrogenated)
Peanut oil [26] 1 Tbsp 4.95 Trace 1 : 0.0
Sardine oil [9] 1 Tbsp 0.5 3.7 1 : 7.4
Soybean oil (Hydrogenated)
Soybean oil, (Unhydrogenated) [9] 1 Tbsp 7.0 0.9 7.8 : 1
Tallow (Grain Fed) [27] 3.35% 0.200% 16.8 : 1
Tallow (Grass Fed) [27] 1.2% 0.8% 1.5 : 1
Walnut oil [9] 1 Tbsp (15 g) 7.2 1.4 5.1 : 1
Hemp seed oil [28] ? ? ? ? [note 1]

Grains and beans[edit]

Food Citation Serving Size Omega-6 (g) Omega-3 (g) Omega-6 : Omega-3 ratio
Matpe (Vigna mungo bean), boiled [29] 1 cup 0.04 0.6 1 : 15
Peanut, All types,raw [30] 1/2 cup 11.5 Trace 1 : 0
Soybeans, dried, cooked [9] 1/2 cup 3.8 0.5 7.6 : 1
Tofu, regular [9] 4 oz 2.1 0.3 7 : 1
Nattō, regular [31] 1 cup 9.6 1.3 7.4 : 1
Chickpeas, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt [32] 1 cup 1.825 0.07 25.9 : 1

Green, leafy vegetables[edit]

Food Citation Serving Size Omega-6 (mg) Omega-3 (mg) Omega-6 : Omega-3 ratio
Arugula raw [33] 1 cup 26 34 1 : 1.3
Green leaf lettuce, fresh, raw [9] 1 cup Trace Trace Trace
Red leaf lettuce, fresh, raw [9] 1 cup Trace Trace Trace
Boston lettuce or Bibb lettuce, fresh, raw [9] 1 cup Trace Trace Trace
Brussels sprouts cooked [34] 1 cup 123 270 1 : 2.2
Cabbage red, raw [35] 1 cup 30 40 1 : 1.3
Chinese cabbage cooked, boiled, drained, without salt [36] 1 cup 52.7 69.7 1 : 1.3
Chard, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt [37] 1 cup 43.7 5.3 8.2 : 1
Sauerkraut, canned, low sodium [38] 1 cup 37 36 1 : 1
Spinach, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt [39] 1 cup 30.6 166 1 : 5.4
Turnip greens, cooked [9] 1/2 cup Trace Trace Trace
Dandelion greens, cooked [9] 1/2 cup Trace 0.1 0 : 1
Kale, cooked [9] 1/2 cup 0.1 0.1 1 : 1
Kohlrabi raw [40] 1 cup 27 35 1 : 1.7
Beet greens, cooked [9] 1/2 cup Trace Trace Trace
Collard greens, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt [41] 1 cup 133 177 1 : 1.3
Mustard greens, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt [42] 1 cup 33.6 30.8 1 : 1

Root vegetables[edit]

Food Citation Serving Size Omega-6 (g) Omega-3 (g) Omega-6 : Omega-3 ratio
Carrots, raw [43] 1 cup 0.147 0.0026 57 : 1
Beets, raw [44] 1 cup 0.0748 0.0068 11 : 1
Parsley, raw [45] 1 cup 0.069 0.0048 14 : 1
Turnips, raw [46] 1 cup 0.0156 0.052 1 : 3.3

Pumpkins and squashes[edit]

Food Citation Serving Size Omega-6 (g) Omega-3 (g) Omega-6 : Omega-3 ratio
Butternut squash, Squash, winter, butternut, cooked, baked, without salt [47] 1 cup 0.0287 0.0492 1 : 1.7
Zucchini, Squash, summer, zucchini, includes skin, raw [48] 1 cup 0.0347 0.0583 1 : 1.7
Acorn squash, Squash, winter, acorn, cooked, baked, without salt [49] 1 cup 0.0451 0.0759 1 : 1.7
Tomatoes, Tomatoes, red, ripe, raw [50] 1 cup 0.119 0.045 2.7 : 1

Meat[edit]

Food Citation Serving Size Omega-6 (g) Omega-3 (g) Omega-6 : Omega-3 ratio
Kangaroo, average of all cuts and species. Measured on raw cut weight. [51] 100 g raw cut 27.4 10.7 2.5 : 1

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The authors state the ratio as Omega-6:Omega-3 and that it lies "between 2:1 and 3:1".

References[edit]

  1. ^ Marventano, S; Kolacz, P; Castellano, S; Galvano, F; Buscemi, S; Mistretta, A; Grosso, G (2015). "A review of recent evidence in human studies of n-3 and n-6 PUFA intake on cardiovascular disease, cancer, and depressive disorders: does the ratio really matter?". International journal of food sciences and nutrition. 66 (6): 611–22. PMID 26307560. doi:10.3109/09637486.2015.1077790. 
  2. ^ "Populations maintaining historic omega-6 to omega-3 ratios (approximately 1 to 1) are protected from many of the scourges of the modern age." Source: Andrew Stoll, The Omega-3 Connection. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2001, p. 43.
  3. ^ William Lands, Fish, Omega-3 and Human Health. Urbana, Illinois: APCS Press, 2005, p. 10.
  4. ^ a b Susan Allport, The Queen of Fats: Why Omega-3 Fats Were Removed From the Western Diet and What We Can Do to Replace Them. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007, p. 115.
  5. ^ Andrew Stoll, The Omega-3 Connection. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2001, p. 40.
  6. ^ Simopoulos, AP (2002). "The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids". Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy. 56 (8): 365–79. PMID 12442909. doi:10.1016/S0753-3322(02)00253-6. 
  7. ^ http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/omega6-fatty-acids
  8. ^ "Fish, Salmon". 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab "NutritionData". 
  10. ^ "Almonds, dry roasted". 
  11. ^ "Seeds, cashew nuts, raw". 
  12. ^ "Seeds, chia seeds, dried". 
  13. ^ "Nuts, coconut meat, raw". 
  14. ^ "Seeds, flax seeds, dried". 
  15. ^ "Nuts, hazelnuts or filberts". 
  16. ^ "Nuts, pecans". 
  17. ^ "Nuts, pistachio nuts, raw". 
  18. ^ "Spices, poppy seed". 
  19. ^ "Seeds, pumpkin and squash seeds, whole, roasted, without salt". 
  20. ^ "Seeds, sesame seeds, whole, dried". 
  21. ^ "Seeds, sunflower seed kernels, dried". 
  22. ^ "Sacha Inchi Omega 3:6 Ratio". 
  23. ^ "Sacha Inchi Seeds: Perfect for Paleo". sachainchisociety.com. Retrieved 2017-01-05. 
  24. ^ "Lentils, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt Nutrition Facts & Calories". nutritiondata.self.com. Retrieved 2017-05-01. 
  25. ^ http://omega6.wellwise.org/omega-6-omega-3-ratio
  26. ^ "USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference". Nutrient Data Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 3 August 2011. 
  27. ^ a b "Fatty Acid Analysis of Grass-fed and Grain-fed Beef Tallow". Archived from the original on 10 March 2014. 
  28. ^ Martina Bavec; Franc Bavec (2006). Organic Production and Use of Alternative Crops. London: Taylor & Francis Ltd. p. 178. ISBN 1-4200-1742-X. Retrieved Feb 18, 2013. 
  29. ^ "Mungo bean, NutritionData". Nutritiondata.self.com with info from USDA SR-21. Retrieved 14 September 2016. 
  30. ^ "NutritionData". Nutritiondata.self.com with info from USDA SR-21. Retrieved 14 September 2016. 
  31. ^ "Nutrition Data". 
  32. ^ "Chickpeas (garbanzo beans, bengal gram), mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt Nutrition Facts & Calories". nutritiondata.self.com. Retrieved 2017-05-01. 
  33. ^ "Arugula, raw". 
  34. ^ "Brussels sprouts, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt". 
  35. ^ "Cabbage, red, raw". 
  36. ^ "Cabbage, chinese (pak-choi), cooked, boiled, drained, without salt". 
  37. ^ "Chard, swiss, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt". 
  38. ^ "Sauerkraut, canned, low sodium". 
  39. ^ "Spinach, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt Nutrition Facts & Calories". nutritiondata.self.com. Retrieved 2017-04-30. 
  40. ^ "Kohlrabi, raw". 
  41. ^ "Collards, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt". 
  42. ^ "Mustard greens, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt". 
  43. ^ "Carrots, raw". 
  44. ^ "Beets, raw". 
  45. ^ "Parsley, raw". 
  46. ^ "Turnips, raw". 
  47. ^ "Squash, winter, butternut, cooked, baked, without salt". 
  48. ^ "Squash, summer, zucchini, includes skin, raw". 
  49. ^ "Squash, winter, acorn, cooked, baked, without salt". 
  50. ^ "Tomatoes, red, ripe, raw". 
  51. ^ "Nutritional Composition of Kangaroo Meat". p. 13.