Here’s an interesting (albeit diconcerting) fact: Several sources of information suggest that human beings evolved on a diet with a balanced ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 essential fatty acids of approximately 1:1. However, in today’s typical Western diet the ratio is 15:1 or higher!
That means the average Australian is not only deficient in omega-3 fatty acids, but also consumes excessive amounts of omega-6 fatty acids, when compared to the diet on which human beings evolved and our genetic patterns were established.
Excessive amounts of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) leads to an unbalanced omega-6:3 ratio, promoting the pathogenesis of many diseases. Whereas, increased levels of omega-3 PUFA leads to a balanced omega-6:3 ratio, which exerts protective effects.
How did we get here?
Not only have we decreased our omega-3 intake, we have also drastically increased our omega-6 intake. In fact, from 1909 to 1999 the consumption of soybean oil has increased by over 1000% – we now consume over 14 kg per person per year! Soybean oil is one of the main contributors of Omega-6 and one of the reasons the omega-6 to omega-3 balance is out in most Australians.
What can we do?
Nix the 6 and Eat the 3 – meaning those living on the current Western diet should INCREASE their omega-3 intake, as well as DECREASE their omega-6 intake in order to achieve a balanced omega-6:3 ratio. Easy, hey?