The Rise and Mainstream Acceptance of Omega 3
By Brendan Brazier • September 15th, 2009 • 4371 Views
Omega-3 has moved to the upper level of awareness, even for the average consumer. In fact, it’s become “mainstream”. Recently I saw a generic brand of knock-off Oreos. Not surprisingly, their first ingredient was refined sugar and the second was bleached white flour. However, across the front of the box in a font larger than the name of the cookies it said “Omega-3!” If there were any doubt that Omega-3 was hot, this should lay it to rest. And while Omega-3 is vastly important — essential even — its usage and the way in which it’s being promoted has become somewhat misguided. As with many healthy foods or nutrients — once grabbed by the mainstream, they tend to be slightly misunderstood.
An upswing in awareness of Omega-3 consumption began to develop soon after a World Health Organization (WHO) report was released that suggested the average North American eats a vastly out-of-balance ration of Omega-6 to Omega-3. And that this was linked to serious health problems. Consumers of the Standard American Diet (SAD) commonly ingest a ratio that is in the realm of 20:1, the report states. That means that 20 times more Omega-6 is being consumed than Omega-3.
This was of great concern since the WHO determined in their extensive study that the ideal ratio for optimal health is 4:1. This was assuming, of course, that both Omega-6 and Omega-3 sources were of high quality and in their natural, unrefined form. But, of course this finding suggested that those who subsisted on a SAD were consuming 5 times more Omega-6 than what was ideal. A significantly out-of-balance ratio such as this was being blamed for a broad spectrum of ailments. Inflammation, contributing to joint pain, was one of the chief concerns, but the list was long and varied. Difficulty sleeping, general mental and physical fatigue, sugar cravings, the inability to effectively burn body fat, dry skin and even poor memory were all suspected of being a result of this off-kilter ratio. Serious implications indeed....