I went to my first movie premiere last month: a film treatment of Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food, in which I had a small cameo. I spoke, of course, about Omega-3s and their competition with Omega-6s for positions in cell membranes. The book -- and film -- acknowledge the importance of Omega-3s but spend more time on the lowest hanging "fruit" in America's troublesome diet: the tremendous amount of extra sugars and calories in the form of soft drinks and overly-sweetened processed foods. I couldn't agree more. Soft drinks should be the first thing to go in any household's diet. That, indeed, is the lowest hanging fruit and the first and most important step towards a healthier future.
But even after all the soft drinks and overly-processed foods are eliminated, individuals can still experience problems with weight, heart disease, diabetes, cancers, and many other illnesses -- depending -- in no small part -- on the oils and fats they choose to use. Corn, peanut, sunflower, safflower, cottonseed and grape oil are all so high in Omega-6s that they promote an Omega-3 deficiency, which is linked -- by well-defined causal mechanisms -- to all these conditions. Canola oil and butter (especially grass-fed butter) have a good balance of Omega-3s and Omega-6s and promote optimal levels of Omega-3s -- and overall health. Olive oil is great in the context of the Mediterranean diet (lots of greens and fish) but if you're eating more of a Western diet, mix it with canola to give yourself some added Omega-3s. (See my websites; www.susanallport.com and www.susiesmartcookie.com for more tips on adding Omega-3s to your diet).
See In Defense of Food on PBS on December 30th and let me know what you think. It features Maira Kalman's very whimsical illustrations.