Have you ever heard the term “essential fatty acids”? These are fats that we must consume in our diet to survive, we cannot manufacture these essential fats ourselves. Let’s take a brief look at two fatty acids that you have probably heard about in the news, omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids.
Omega 6 fatty acids are inflammatory where omega 3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory. We need both components in our bodies to be healthy. The important thing to research is the ratio of these two types of fatty acids in our diet. Currently the average american diet is around 20 to 1 (20:1), that is 20 omega 6 fatty acids consumed to every 1 omega 3. It appears for best health the ratio should be somewhere around 1:1 to 5:1, if you pick the middle of this range, the optimum would be say 3:1 or three omega 6 fatty acids consumed for every one omega 3 consumed. WOW, we need to cut down on those inflammatory omega 6 fatty acids.
The 2004 Times Magazine article, “The Fires Within”, brought awareness to the problem with the American diet over consumption of omega 6 fatty acids (inflammatory). A benefit of consuming pasture raised animals is not in the omega 3 levels found in the meat, but note that pasture grazed beef will test around 2:1 versus grain-fed beef at 14:1 (omega 6 to omega 3 ratio). Why is this? Omega 6 fatty acids are from vegetable fat (oils). Conventional beef are eating grain, where much of the vegetable fat is stored by the plant. Consuming pasture grazed animals will help balance your diet’s omega 6 to 3 ratio, but the greatest gains in helping our diet on this issue would come from reducing consumption of omega 6 foods (vegetable oils), lard anyone?
Speaking of omega, the end of the greek alphabet, I think this post will end our discussion about FAT. Hopefully you will continue your own research into the facts about consuming animal fats, especially the benefits of consuming great tasting pasture grazed meat, dairy and eggs.