Are All Healthy Fats The Same?

There was a time when we thought all fats were bad. Watch our video to find out the differences between Omega 3 fats, which suppress inflammation, and Omega 6 fats, which may increase inflammation. Learn about what fats to eat more of and which to reduce and avoid!

Video Transcript

Hi, I am Dr. Robert Sheeler. Today's topic is dietary fats. There was a time that we thought all fats were bad, so everything in the grocery store from salad dressing to cookies had a low-fat version. However, all that did was replace fat with simple carbohydrates, which in turn made us more overweight and less healthy.

There are many types of fat in the diet, but the two of the main groups of fats are Omega 3 and Omega 6.

Omega 3s, known as healthy fats, come from fish and marine animals like krill and plant sources like flax, hemp and chia. People who eat fatty fish like salmon, trout or sardines 2-3 times a week have lower rates of heart disease. The majority of Omega 6 fats come from oils such as soybean, cottonseed, corn and sunflower.

Omega 3s from fish and marine animals go directly into the body's metabolic pathways. However, while Omega 3s from plant sources are healthier than their Omega 6 cousins, only about 10% are converted to usable forms.

For centuries, ratios of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fats in the diet ranged from 1-3 grams of Omega 6 to every gram of Omega 3. Today, that ratio has increased to 10:1 or even 20:1.

Functional Medicine doctors, like myself, believe these high ratios of Omega 6 to Omega 3 increase inflammation in the body.

The best way to reduce this ratio is to eat more Omega 3s. Avoid products that list sources of Omega 6, like soybean and cottonseed oil, on the label.

You can also ask your medical provider to check the ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 with a blood test. If you're unable to get enough Omega 3 in your diet, you might want to consider food products that are fortified with Omega 3s or taking an Omega 3 supplement.


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Dr. Robert Sheeler

About Dr. Robert Sheeler

Robert Sheeler, M.D. is Board Certified in Family Medicine, Integrative Medicine, Holistic Medicine and Urgent Care. He is certified in Functional Medicine by the Institute for Functional Medicine and as a Headache Specialist through the United Council of Neurologic Subspecialists.

His special interests include food and nutrition, Functional Medicine, headache care and Integrative Medicine. In addition, Dr. Sheeler is a certified teacher of Evidence Based T’ai Chi and Qi Gong and has studied numerous mind-body disciplines.