Fatty acid ratio in food

Only two essential fatty acids are known to be essential for humans: alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid) and linoleic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid).[1] The biological effects of the ω-3 and ω-6 fatty acids are mediated by their mutual interactions. Closely related, these fatty acids act as competing substrates for the same enzymes. The biological effects of the ω-3 and ω-6 fatty acids are largely mediated by essential fatty acid interactions. The proportion of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids in a diet may have metabolic consequences.[2] Unlike omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids, omega-9 fatty acids are not classed as essential fatty acids because they can be created by the human body from monounsaturated and saturated fatty acids, and are therefore not essential in the diet.

Omega-3 intake recommendationsEdit

The World Health Organization has made recommendations regarding omega-3 intake:[citation needed]

  • ALA: 0.8 g to 1.1 g / day
  • EPA + DHA: 0.3 g to 0.5 g / day

Ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in the diets of hunter-gatherersEdit

It has been claimed that among hunter-gatherer populations, omega-6 fats and omega-3 fats are typically consumed in roughly a 1:1 ratio.[3][better source needed] 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.[4]

Optimal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatsEdit

To date, "no one knows what the optimal ratio in the diet is for these two families of fats."[5] Science writer 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."[5][clarification needed]

In a study with rats, a dietary ratio of 4:1 showed significant favorable effects on learning performance and pain tolerance.[6]

Andrew Stoll, M.D., Director of the Psycho-pharmacology Research Laboratory at Harvard's McLean Hospital, 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."[7]

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[8] 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."[9]

According to a 2009 review by the American Heart Association, instead of avoiding ω-6 fats, the ω-6:ω-3 ratio should be decreased by consuming more ω-3 fats. The conversion rate of linolenic acid (LA) into arachidonic acid is very low with a diet high in linolenic acid.[10]

The maximum ω-6:ω-3 ratio allowed in dog food by the AAFCO is 30:1.[11]

FishEdit

Food Citation Serving size (g) Omega-6 fatty acids (mg) Omega-3 fatty acids (mg) Omega-6 : omega-3 ratio
Atlantic salmon, wild, raw [12] 100 172 2018 1 : 11.7
Atlantic sardines, canned in oil, drained [13] 1 can
(92 g)
3260 1362 2.4 : 1
Tuna, canned in water, drained [14] 1 can
(165 g)
14.8 460 1 : 31.1
Tuna, canned in oil, drained [15] 1 can
(171 g)
4588 345 13.3 : 1
Cod, fresh and frozen [citation needed] 4 oz
(113 g)
100 600 1 : 6
Mackerel, canned, drained [16] 1 can
(361 g)
357 4970 1 : 13.9
Swordfish, fresh and frozen, cooked [citation needed] 4 oz
(113 g)
300 1700 1 : 5.6
Crab, soft shell, cooked [citation needed] 4 oz
(113 g)
100 600 1 : 6
Lobster, cooked [citation needed] 4 oz
(113 g)
6 120 1 : 20
Bluefish, fresh and frozen, cooked [citation needed] 4 oz
(113 g)
300 1700 1 : 5.6
Salmon, canned, drained [citation needed] 4 oz
(113 g)
200 2200 1 : 11
Smelt, rainbow [citation needed] 4 oz
(113 g)
200 500 1 : 2.5
Scallops, Maine, fresh and frozen, cooked [citation needed] 4 oz
(113 g)
100 500 1 : 5
Pacific herring [17] 100 g 246 2418 1 : 9.8

Nuts and seedsEdit

Food Citation Serving size (g) Omega-6 (mg) Omega-3 (mg) Omega-6 : omega-3 ratio
Almonds, dry roasted [18] 100 12065 6 2010.8 : 1
Cashews [19] 100 7782 62 125.5 : 1
Chia seeds [20] 100 5785 17552 1 : 3
Coconut, raw [21] 100 366 - -
Flax seeds [22] 100 5911 22813 1 : 3.9
Hazelnuts, filberts [23] 100 7832 87 90 : 1
Hemp seeds, hulled [24] 100 27358 8684 3.2 : 1
Pecans [25] 100 20630 986 20.9 : 1
Pistachios, raw [26] 100 13200 254 52 : 1
Poppy seed [27] 100 28291 273 103.6 : 1
Pumpkin seeds, whole, roasted, without salt [28] 100 8759 77 113.8 : 1
Sesame seeds, whole, dried [29] 100 21372 376 56.8 : 1
Sunflower seeds, kernels, dried [30] 100 23048 74 311.5 : 1
Walnuts [31] 100 38093 9080 4.2 : 1
Sacha Inchi seeds [32] 1 oz
(28 g)
5486 4771 1.15 : 1
Lentils, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt [33] 100 137 37 3.7 : 1

OilsEdit

Properties of vegetable oils[34][35]
Type Processing
treatment[36]
Saturated
fatty acids
Monounsaturated
fatty acids
Polyunsaturated
fatty acids
Smoke point
Total[34] Oleic
acid
(ω-9)
Total[34] α-Linolenic
acid
(ω-3)
Linoleic
acid
(ω-6)
ω-6:3
ratio
Avocado[37] 11.6 70.6 52–66[38] 13.5 1 12.5 12.5:1 250 °C (482 °F)[39]
Brazil nut[40] 24.8 32.7 31.3 42.0 0.1 41.9 419:1 208 °C (406 °F)[41]
Canola[42] 7.4 63.3 61.8 28.1 9.1 18.6 2:1 238 °C (460 °F)[41]
Coconut[43] 82.5 6.3 6 1.7 175 °C (347 °F)[41]
Corn[44] 12.9 27.6 27.3 54.7 1 58 58:1 232 °C (450 °F)[45]
Cottonseed[46] 25.9 17.8 19 51.9 1 54 54:1 216 °C (420 °F)[45]
Flaxseed/linseed[47] 9.0 18.4 18 67.8 53 13 0.2:1 107 °C (225 °F)
Grape seed   10.5 14.3 14.3   74.7 74.7 very high 216 °C (421 °F)[48]
Hemp seed[49] 7.0 9.0 9.0 82.0 22.0 54.0 2.5:1 166 °C (330 °F)[50]
Olive[51] 13.8 73.0 71.3 10.5 0.7 9.8 14:1 193 °C (380 °F)[41]
Palm[52] 49.3 37.0 40 9.3 0.2 9.1 45.5:1 235 °C (455 °F)
Peanut[53] 16.2 57.1 55.4 19.9 0.318 19.6 very high 232 °C (450 °F)[45]
Rice bran oil 25 38.4 2.2 34.4[54] 15.6 232 °C (450 °F)[55]
High-oleic safflower oil[56] 7.5 75.2 75.2 12.8 0 12.8 very high 212 °C (414 °F)[41]
Sesame[57] ? 14.2 39.7 39.3 41.7 0.3 41.3 138:1
Soybean[58] partially hydrogenated 14.9 43.0 42.5 37.6 2.6 34.9 13.4:1
Soybean[59] 15.6 22.8 22.6 57.7 7 51 7.3:1 238 °C (460 °F)[45]
Walnut oil[60] unrefined 9.1 22.8 22.2 63.3 10.4 52.9 5:1 160 °C (320 °F)[61]
Sunflower[62] 8.99 63.4 62.9 20.7 0.16 20.5 very high 227 °C (440 °F)[45]
Cottonseed[63] hydrogenated 93.6 1.5 0.6 0.2 0.3 1.5:1
Palm[64] hydrogenated 88.2 5.7 0
The nutritional values are expressed as percent (%) by mass of total fat.

Grains and beansEdit

Food Citation Serving size (g) Omega-6 (mg) Omega-3 (mg) Omega-6 : omega-3 ratio
Matpe (Vigna mungo bean), boiled [65] 100 24 335 1 : 14
Peanut, All types, raw [66] 100 15691 3 5320.3 : 1
Soybeans, dried, cooked [67] 100 4466 598 7.5 : 1
Tofu, regular [68] 100 2380 319 7.5 : 1
Nattō, regular [69] 100 5476 734 7.5 : 1
Chickpeas, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt [70] 100 1113 43 25.9 : 1
Brown beans, boiled [71] 100 20 15 1.3:1
Pasta, whole wheat, boiled [72] 100 30 2 15:1

Green, leafy vegetablesEdit

Food Citation Serving size (g) Omega-6 (mg) Omega-3 (mg) Omega-6 : omega-3 ratio
Arugula raw [73] 1 cup 26 34 1 : 1.3
Green leaf lettuce, fresh, raw [74] 100 24 58 1 : 2.4
Red leaf lettuce, fresh, raw [75] 100 - - -
Boston lettuce or Bibb lettuce, fresh, raw [citation needed] 1 cup - - -
Brussels sprouts cooked [76] 100 79 173 1 : 2.2
Cabbage red, raw [77] 100 34 45 1 : 1.3
Chinese cabbage cooked, boiled, drained, without salt [78] 100 31 41 1 : 1.3
Chard, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt [79] 1 cup 43.7 5.3 8.2 : 1
Sauerkraut, canned, low sodium [80] 100 26 25 1 : 1
Spinach, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt [81] 100 17 92 1 : 5.4
Turnip greens, cooked [82] 100 28 64 1 : 2.3
Dandelion greens, cooked [citation needed] 1/2 cup - 0.1 -
Kale, cooked [citation needed] 1/2 cup 0.1 0.1 1 : 1
Kohlrabi raw [83] 1 cup 27 35 1 : 1.7
Beet greens, cooked [84] 100 65 6 10.8 : 1
Collard greens, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt [85] 1 cup 133 177 1 : 1.3
Mustard greens, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt [86] 100 24 22 1.1 : 1

Root vegetablesEdit

Food Citation Serving size (g) Omega-6 (mg) Omega-3 (mg) Omega-6 : omega-3 ratio
Carrots, raw [87] 100 115 2 57.5 : 1
Beets, raw [88] 100 55 5 11 : 1
Parsley, raw [89] 100 115 8 14.4 : 1
Turnips, raw [90] 100 12 40 1 : 3.3

Pumpkins and squashesEdit

Food Citation Serving size (g) Omega-6 (mg) Omega-3 (mg) Omega-6 : omega-3 ratio
Butternut squash, Squash, winter, butternut, cooked, baked, without salt [91] 100 14 24 1 : 1.7
Zucchini, Squash, summer, zucchini, includes skin, raw [92] 100 14 24 1 : 1.7
Acorn squash, Squash, winter, acorn, cooked, baked, without salt [93] 100 22 37 1 : 1.7
Tomatoes, Tomatoes, red, ripe, raw [94] 100 80 3 26.7 : 1

MeatEdit

Food Citation Serving size Omega-6 (%) Omega-3 (%) Omega-6 : omega-3 ratio
Kangaroo, average of all cuts and species. Measured on raw cut weight. % of total fat 27.4 10.7 2.5 : 1
Beef, Angus cattle, grass-fed [95] % of total fatty acids 5.00 2.95 1.72 : 1
Beef, Angus cattle, grain-fed [95] % of total fatty acids 8.05 0.86 10.38 : 1

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

ReferencesEdit

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