I know who said it and he's the man but do we have any studies to back him on four being the magic one ? Or any other reasons for this threshold ?
There are two ways to stay in balance: reduce omega-6, and increase omega-3. In my opinion, the former is more important than the latter, but only if you can reduce omega-6 to below 4% of calories. If you're above 4%, the only way to reduce your risk is to outcompete the omega-6 with additional omega-3. Keeping omega-6 below 4% and ensuring a modest but regular intake of omega-3, such as from wild-caught fish, will probably substantially reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and other chronic illnesses.
So basically why is threshold for maximum Omega 6 intake 4% and what (study) backs that up ?
This is where the 4% thing came from: http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2009/05/eicosanoids-and-ischemic-heart-diseas.html
The reason why 4% is the 'magic number' is shown by the graph. The more omega 6 you eat the more o-6 saturated your tissues become and this is what's important because it's from this that your body derives o-6/o-3, tending to either inflammation or anti-inflammation. If you're eating between 0-0.1% omega 3, then 4% of omega-6 is the point where your tissues can't functionally get any more omega-6 saturated and therefore your inflammatory response can't be any more heightened.
As the graph also shows, if you consume more omega 3 then it takes commensurately more omega 6 to saturate your tissue.
Remember that there would still be other reasons not to eat excess omega 6 even if you can't increase your inflammation any more, since it'll still be highly oxidisable and increase the bad form of (bad) LDL cholesterol. Nevertheless, this explains why studies often show benefits from adding extra omega 6: since everybody is already getting as much pro-inflammatory effect as they can from tissue o-6 and so extra veg oil may well help by displacing carbohydrate.
Since measuring and then labeling the amount of n-6s and n-3s in our food is nearly impossible- the best we can do is follow a set of guidelines to reduce n-6s in our diet, eat less overall and try to increase known n-3 foods such as grass fed meats and eggs perhaps some fish oil (I've stopped). Stephan Guyenet is rock solid- we just can't measure.
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