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Heart Health

Fast Food & Fish Oil

written by Vin Kutty

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fish oil fast food

How much Omega-3 you need depends on what you eat.

Ideally, you need equal parts Omega-3 to Omega-6.

OK – that’s easier said than done.

How does this translate to real life?

Let’s go back to my college days when I ate what was nearest to me.

It wasn’t unusual for me (or the kids around me) to eat fast food or pizza three times a day.


Balanced Diet: A Quarter Pounder in Each Hand?

Here’s a sampling of what I may have eaten and the amount of Omega-6 in my meals:

High Omega-6 diets require fish oil supplements

Data source: Omega-6 Content in Food by Evelyn Tribole.

That’s over 22 grams of Omega-6 in just those three meals. Not to mention whatever came with the bag of Doritos and Snickers bars I snuck into lecture halls.

If we’re looking for a 1 to 1 ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6, then I’d need 22 grams of Omega-3.

I’m sure there was a smidgen of Omega-3 in the hamburgers, but nowhere near enough.

I’d have to eat 4 lbs of salmon to balance all that Omega-6! Or over 60 regular (Walmart-brand) fish oil pills.

Where does a college kid get that kind of Omega-3?

Fish Oil? Gross!

Salmon? Get real!

4 lbs of Salmon is more than what the entire town of West Lafayette, Indiana probably had for sale. And besides, it would have cost me half of my rent, which was $180 a month.

So what did this diet do to my 19-year old body? Well, mostly it gave me acne and a smallish ‘beer belly’, even though I was too young to drink beer. Not pretty.

What do YOU eat?

May be you don’t eat at McDonald’s twice a day. Thank goodness!

But there’s Omega-6 lurking in all kinds of food. In places you would never guess:

  • Peanuts
  • Salad dressing (tons of Omega-6, unless it’s olive oil)
  • Mayonnaise
  • Dark meat and chicken skin
  • Chicken thigh with skin has 10 times as much Omega-6 as pork or beef chuck. Surprisingly, beef has relatively little Omega-6 when compared to chicken. Source: USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory
  • Anything that’s been fried, cooked with or come near Corn oil, Vegetable (soybean) oil, Sunflower oil or Safflower oil.

These cooking oils are extremely high in Omega-6.

Olive oil is relatively harmless. So are Coconut oil, Palm oil, Avocado oil and butter from grass-fed cows.

Beef from grass-fed cows has a lot more Omega-3 than regular beef.

Beef from corn-fed cattle (unfortunately, most of what’s sold in America is corn-fed beef) has 1 to 2 grams of Omega-6 per pound.

You can easily offset that by eating a couple of fish oil pills or a serving of salmon.

Why You Should Care About Omega-6:

A high-Omega-6 diet can cause a laundry list of health issues.*

May be you don’t eat like I did while I was a freshman. But that doesn’t mean you’re off the Omega-6 hook.

1:1 Ratio…with a Catch!

OK, you say, if all I need is 1 to 1 ratio of Omega-3 and 6, then I can have my corn-oil-drippin’ burgers-n-fries as long as I gulp down a bunch of fish oil.


Not quite.

There is a upper limit to how much combined Omega-3 and Omega-6 your body can ideally have. Ideally, both Omegas combined should be about 3 or 4 percent of your total calories.

But we already get almost 8% of calories from Omega-6. So you can’t make up for Omega-6 indulgences by increasing your Omega-3 consumption.

The solution has to start with getting rid of Omega-6.

First step: Toss out the vegetable oil in the kitchen.
Second step: When eating out, ask for olive oil on the side.
Third step: Don’t eat fried foods at restaurants.

Just these three steps will go a long way towards reducing your Omega-6 intake and undoing the damage from eating like a college freshman.


* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

  1. I cant believe there are no comments about this important topic (although i know the post is a few years old). I have began eating a more paleo diet and when choosing a brand of plantain chips I can rest easier knowing that i can now pick the one that uses palm oil versus sunflower oil.

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