Debate Over Omega-6s Confuses Consumers

Journal Articles Leave even some Seafood Scientists Scratching their


Jul 15, 2008, 01:00 ET from National Fisheries Institute

    WASHINGTON, July 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A pair of articles
 focusing on the fats in fish from the July issue of the Journal of the
 American Dietetic Association is puzzling consumers and health
 professionals alike. Fish, particularly oily fish, at least twice per week
 is recommended as a front-line fighter against heart disease because it is
 high in protein, low in total fat, and one of the only naturally-rich
 sources of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. But a controversial article
 claiming fish with lower amounts of omega-3s than omega-6s may be harmful
 to heart health flies in the face of this recommendation.
     The article suggests hamburger and bacon might have more
 heart-healthful properties than tilapia based solely on their lower omega-6
     "There is an on-going discussion about these fatty acids, but it's a
 dangerous reach to even suggest that replacing a meal of low-fat tilapia
 with ground beef or bacon would be a healthful choice," said Jennifer
 Wilmes a registered dietitian with the National Fisheries Institute.
     There is currently no scientific consensus that lower-omega-3,
 higher-omega-6 fish are unhealthy. William Harris, PhD devotes a three page
 research editorial in the same July edition to challenging the theory,
 pointing out that it "fails to consider relevant human experimental
 evidence" and attacks the dramatic comparison of tilapia to hamburger and
 bacon, calling it a "potentially flawed concept" that overstates the impact
 of omega-6.
     "We need more science to agree on the impact of an omega-3 to omega-6
 ratio," said Wilmes. "But what we do have scientific consensus on is that
 omega-3s - which you can get plenty of by eating a variety of fish - are
 paramount to heart disease prevention."
     For more than 60 years, the National Fisheries Institute (NFI) and its
 members have provided American families with the variety of sustainable
 seafood essential to a healthy diet. For more information visit:

SOURCE National Fisheries Institute