Home World News Excessive Intake of Omega 6 and Deficiencies in Omega 3 Induce Obesity Down the Generations
Excessive Intake of Omega 6 and Deficiencies in Omega 3 Induce Obesity Down the Generations PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 29 July 2010 12:19
Chronic excess of linoleic acid (omega 6), coupled with a deficiency in alpha-linoleic acid (omega 3), can increase obesity down the generations. This has been demonstrated for the first time by Gérard Ailhaud (Université de Nice-Sophia Antipolis) working in collaboration with three CNRS laboratories and one INRA laboratory. The researchers exposed several generations of male and female adult and young mice to a "Western-like" diet of this type, and then assessed the consequences of such a lipid environment in the human diet.

These findings are published on the website of the Journal of Lipid Research.

Omegas 6 and 3 are essential polyunsaturated fatty acids: they are indispensable to the human body, which cannot produce them itself and must therefore source them from food. Omega 6 are normally found in maize, which is itself consumed in large quantities by the farmed animals eaten by humans (half of our lipid intake comes from meat and dairy products). As for omega 3, they are mainly present in grass, linseed, rapeseed and fatty fish such as salmon, sardine or mackerel (which contain very high levels of alpha-linoleic acid). In the past forty years, there has been a steady rise in obesity over the generations in Western societies. During the same period, the diet in industrialized countries has seen a quantitative increase in the calories ingested (lipids account for 35 to 40% of food intake), high levels of linoleic acid (omega 6) and low levels of alpha-linoleic acid (omega 3). Indeed, the amount of omega 6 consumed during the past forty years has rocketed (+250%) while that of omega 3 has fallen by 40%, thus destabilizing the omega 6/omega 3 ratio when compared with the recommended intakes. While the French Food Safety Agency (AFSSA) recommends an omega 6/omega 3 ratio of 5/1, actual consumption is 15 omega 6 for 1 omega 3. In the USA, this ratio can even reach 40 omega 6 for 1 omega 3.

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