Wild vs Farmed Salmon
High Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio and what it means to our health
I wanted to post this and explain the relationship between an omega 6 to 3 ratio. I believe knowledge is power and what you do with it is your own decision. I don’t want to monger fear, nor do I want to take away anyone’s favorite food away from them!
I believe in having a balance and making the right decisions. I have been wanting to write a post about this for a while, but didn’t know which angle to tackle first, and I really would like you to know I am not asking you to eat A and not eat B or vice versa!
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends a consumption of seafood twice a week, due to a low sodium and fat content (total and saturated). It is the variety of the food, moderation and eating habits that is very important.
Moderate evidence shows reduction in the risk of mortality from heart disease when the diet consists of 2 servings of seafood per week.
Let’s quickly talk about the unhealthy content of the farmed salmon vs wild:
6 g of saturated fat vs 1.9 g (per ½ fillet)
117 mg of sodium vs 87 mg (per ½ fillet)
193 calories from fat vs 113 calories from fat (per ½ fillet)
27 g total fat vs 13 g total fat (per ½ fillet)
According to the dietary guidelines, the current recommendations is to lower your saturated fat intake along with trans fats and sodium. Just ½ fillet of FARMED salmon is almost 1/3 of the fat / day recommendation according to the guidelines. I say that because most likely there is more fat prepared with the salmon, and somehow DAILY, almost every person consumes more fat, than the recommended amount.
The main reason seafood recommendation is twice a week is due to a high Omega-3 content. I have nothing wrong to say about Omega-3, in fact I too, would advise my future clients to consume a healthy diet full of omega 3’s for better cognition and cardiovascular benefits. This becomes important when the Omega 6:3 is concerned, because most people are consuming way too much Omega 6’s.
The average American consumes an Omega 6:3 ratio of anywhere between 12:1 to 25:1, whereas the healthy recommended range should be anywhere from 1:1 to 4:1.
Farmed salmon has three times the total fat of wild salmon, but a large part of these fats are Omega-6 fatty acids, For this reason, the Omega 6:3 ratio is about three times higher in farmed salmon, compared to wild. This makes the ratio 1:4 – which is not a big concern, if you were to eat only farmed salmon during the day. As I mentioned before this is just 1 serving, and most people combine foods with high omega 6’s, trans fats and a sodium content on their plates throughout the day. This is the problem! This is why every ingredient matters as a whole, and what you eat is important everyday – not just once!
When it comes to inflammation, ALL animal byproducts have the ability to raise inflammation in the body, regardless of how they were raised and what they ate. Inflammation plays a major role in some of the most serious diseases like heart disease, Alzheimer’s Disease and some cancers. When it comes to farmed salmon, this becomes a double whammy. You most likely consume the food for its high Omega 3 content, but actually there is way more Omega 6 (pro-inflammatory) than omega 3!
Excess consumption of omega-6 can actually trigger the body to produce pro-inflammatory chemicals. Look at the pathway below as the Omega-6 metabolizes down producing pro-inflammatory substances.
A constant diet high in Omega 6 or high Omega 6:3 ratio does the following:
Depresses the immune system
Increases inflammation and pain in the body
Increases cell division
Causes constriction of the blood vessels
Aggregate platelets and forms blood cloths
If you want any benefits from food, it should be to fuel you and lower your chances of developing disease. The lower inflammation the better!
Andishe Farahmand is a Nutrition and Dietetic Student to be graduated in December 2018.