by 605 · September 25, 2013 at 03:54 PM

I've been trying to narrow down which supplements actually help me, and which are just a waste of money, and next on my list is Fish Oil. The fat in my diet, which is maybe ~60% of my calories, comes from beef, butter, occasionally milk, and rarely eggs. As a result I get plenty of SFAs and MUFAs, but very little PUFAs. Fish is high in PUFAs, so that would increase the amount of PUFAs in my diet, but the question is: Would I benefit from more PUFAs in my diet?

I found one study, which claims to replace SFA with PUFA, but in the results the only thing it mentions is PUFA intake, which seems largely useless. The only idea that can even be remotely supported by this study is that more fat helps prevent heart disease, which I already knew. Also, these are likely SAD people, who have very low fat intakes, along with excessive calorie and sugar intakes, making the results even less applicable to me.


This article is the best I could find. It says that total fat stayed the same, but PUFAs were increased. The study found no difference in cardiovascular related mortality rates or overall mortality rates. There was, however, a small reduction in non-lethal cardiovascular events. This study also has the same problem as most studies, they don't list the average total fat intake, BF% of participants, or carb in take, which are also factors in cardiovascular events.


Does anyone have any research comparing fat types in high fat diets? Any insight would be appreciated.

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5 Replies

40550 · January 26, 2012 at 06:54 PM

The problem is there's been no study looking at fats in a diet that in any way resembles the paleo diet. When studies talk about PUFAs, they're often referring to oxidized PUFAs from refined seed oils. They're not talking about PUFAs from lard, fish, chicken, avocados, etc... I find it quite hard to believe that throughout human history, the human species subsisted on mostly ruminants and eggs. I'm sure we ate all sorts of little (and not so little) creatures that had relatively high amounts of PUFA in their meat.

Chasing optimality in fatty acid ratios might be an exercise in futility. Heck, we can't even agree that any one macronutrient ratio is better than another!

19504 · January 26, 2012 at 05:20 PM

the Perfect Health Diet book has a lot of information about PUFAs and Fats. I get aprox 3 grams each of Omega 3 and Omega 6 from pastured meat, pastured eggs. If you do not eat pastured eggs than you could eat wild salmon or shell fish a few times a week to get Omega 3. I would avoid the fish oil.

3127 · January 27, 2012 at 12:45 AM

dump the fish oil, it will like mushrooms contain Vitamin D which was by the way miss named a vitamin but biochemically is a steroid hormone in molecular structure , synthesis pathway and biological activity. i get my vitamin D3 by making this essential steroid hormone with sunlight exposure. why bother you say when you can pop a pill? thats a no brain-er also. humans make many as yet undiscovered nutrients and co- factors dependant on photo activation that are completely missed if you just pop a pill. Oily fish was at one time mankind's cure for rickets and thats fine for those suffering from rickets but what they really need as a cure is sunshine for those undiscovered molecules that must surely exist.

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10068 · January 26, 2012 at 09:31 PM

My reading of your lead study is that the risk factor for coronary events can be reduced by 10-20% by replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat at some level, probably at high %. Since this study is a compilation of several studies involving over 1000 CV events it is rather broad. I would suggest that you do the logical thing: use a tool like Framingham and determine your personal CV risk. Then decide whether a 10% reduction in risk is worth the micronutrient trouble. Whether you're SAD or PHAD in your dietary behavior makes no difference, because risk is based on HDL, age, sex and blood pressure.

My personal risk of a 5 year CV event at age 59 is about 5%. I don't consider it worth the trouble to shift to a lot of polyunsaturated fat in my diet to reduce that risk to 4% at lowest.

5115 · January 26, 2012 at 08:17 PM

I think the C(Paleo)W is that you need some PUFAs, and the ratio is more important than the amount. Sticking with SFA as the main source of fat is considered the neutral and therefore safest option. In terms of evidence on supplementation it appears pretty well divided, and may be too negligible an issue to worry about. I'm not sure all paleo folk had ready access to fish every day, but it's probably not a bad idea to throw some in there every once in a while.

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