How Omega-6 Fats Fit in The Zone

Fats are an important part of the Zone diet. The question is, which fats are preferred and how much of each is recommended? This article will help dispel some of these concerns.

The typical Western diet contains a ratio of 20:1 Omega-6 oils to Omega-3 oils. The ideal diet should consist of a ratio of 4-6:1. The Zone advocates the use of Omega-9 and Omega-3 oils to help reduce this ratio and bring it into the ideal ratio. Omega-6 oils are readily available.

Omega-9 oils are monounsaturated. Olive oil, olives, avocados and nuts are good sources of Omega-9. Omega-6 and Omega-3 oils are polyunsaturated and are the building blocks of essential fatty acids. The diet must provide these because the body does not produce them.

Omega-6 oils produce the essential fatty acid, Linoleic Acid. Linoleic Acid is found everywhere. It is contained in grains, vegetable oil and vegetables. Omega-3 oils produce Alpha-Linoleic Acid. This is found in grasses and certain cold water plankton and algae.

The functions of these essential fatty acids produce different metabolic effects on the body. Omega-3’s and Omega-6’s act differently upon serum lipids, inflammation, thrombus (blood clot) formation, tumor development, and immune function. Some have negative effects and some have positive effects.

Some people wish to supplement their diets with essential fatty acids.

The Zone recommends supplementation with Omega-3 in the form of fish oil or flaxseed oil. It does not recommend supplementation with Omega-6 oils because these oils are readily available in our diets.

A question arose regarding the use of CLA (Conjugated Lineoleic Acid).

CLA can be found naturally in certain food sources. Milk and meat from free range beef and meat from free range poultry are common sources.

CLA is also manufactured under the trade name of Tonalin. Linoleic Acid, as explained above, is derived from Omega-6 oils. The makers of Tonalin use the language that it “appears” to, and that it has been “proposed” that, and “studies are currently underway” to claim its benefits.

Proponents of CLA claim that it reduces the risk of cancers. Aracadonic acid is a derivative of Linoleic acid. PGE2 Eicosanoids are metabolized from Aracadonic acid. These “bad” eicosanoids cause inflammation, suppress “natural killer” immune cells, promote fever and pain, promote vasoconstriction, elevate blood pressure, promote allergic reactions, increase platelet clumping and cause vasoconstriction.

The bottom line is that Linoleic Acid is Linoleic Acid is Linoleic Acid, which is derived from Omega-6 oils. A certain amount of Linoleic Acid is necessary in the diet, but an excess can lead to Excessive Linoleic Acid Syndrome, which can increase cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, increase allergic hyperactivity, increase skin disorders, increase respiratory disease, increased incidence of Western-type cancers such as lung, breast, colorectal, prostate, and esophageal, and an alarming increase in Type 2 diabetes in both adults and children.

The body needs Linoleic acid… in the right ratio. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with Omega-6, we need it, we can’t manufacture it ourselves, so we must rely upon our diet to provide it. Eating it naturally would be the better choice. But what proponents of the Zone advocate is that we have an abundance of it…it’s all around and easily available, so there really is no need to supplement with it. If we did, then we’d just have to add more Omega-9 and Omega-3 to drop the ratio to acceptable.

In summary, be wary of claims made by promoters of dietary supplements, learn about how each component of the formula works in harmony to provide optimal health, and ask many questions until you are satisfied. It’s not just a diet, it is a prescription for life!

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