Thursday, March 14, 2019

Response to Gary Taubes on Omega-6 Fats (Seed Oils) and Obesity

I was a guest on their sixth episode: [2]

Where we discussed omega-6 fats (n-6) from seed oils, and their impact on health and fitness.

Shawn posed a question to Taubes about processed vegetable oils (seed oils), as a follow-up of sorts to our discussion.

This is actually the second time that a question from me about one of my favorite topics made it into a podcast interview w/ Taubes, the first was in 2011, detailed in this post. [3]

PS: They had me back on their podcast to discuss this post:

"Taubes answers about the way I expected him to.  Thoughtfully, but wheat and linoleic acid have not been focuses of his research."


  1. You might include sunflower in the seed oil list - starting N.b. ...

  2. It would be interesting to test Dr. Bill Lands work on Omega 3 vs 6 competition in humans' prostaglandin production and inflammation response, specifically with the Japanese having such a higher dietary shift to consuming more seed oils yet remaining skinny:

    Lands reported that the first 1% of Omega fat consumption wins, suggesting that if Omega 3 is "first in" it is deterministic of metabolic destiny, regardless however much Omega 6 is consumed after that dose.

    I'm just not clear about when the competition begins and ends for that first 1%... first meal of the day?

  3. Tucker, thanks very much for this.

    I tried very hard to understand the scientific rationale for transfers alleged pathogenicity: Kummerow's books and papers.

    The accumulation of the numerous and various trans fatty acids in cell membranes, and their appearance in breast milk are unlikely to be salutary. There may, however, be compensatory physiologic mechanisms to preserve normal membrane properties.

    What bothered me was the greater reactivity of the parent omega 6 fatty acids compared to the more hydrogenated trans fats. It seemed then, and does now, that we have jumped from the frying pan into the fire.

  4. I think both your theories and Gary Taubes's theories can coexist. I personally got fat drinking beer, then eating pizza, then ice cream, then going back to a very low fat diet (oats, pasta, brown rice and beans), getting depressed, and then drinking beer... It was a cycle, but one with low PUFAs. Meanwhile, you seem to be highly susceptible to PUFAs. And of course most American people today get a double whammy of PUFAs and high carb.

    I think if what you are doing is presenting arguments that your theory is a plausible one, I agree with that. If instead, you are trying to say that Taubes's theories are wrong and yours are correct, I think that's more difficult. You both could be correct, for instance.

    1. A low-fat, high carb diet has similar effects to a higher-PUFA diet. In humans.

  5. Regarding the n-6 epidemiology by Willett and co -
    none of this is for seed oils.
    it includes n-6 in whole grains, nuts, chicken, pork etc; some of these foods have inverse associations with the diseases we suspect vegetable oils cause. Protein, micronutrients, phospholipids, antioxidants all mitigate the harms of n-6.
    The sn-positions of fatty acids might differ too between seeds, soy, and the other sources, which could (idk) matter too.

    As for the Pacific - no oils and low n-6 in New Zealand and Samoa. Tooth decay and heart disease in indigenous populations after introduction of sugar and flour.
    But there were little or no obesity or diabetes epidemics in these populations till AFTER n-6 oils were introduced in the 1970s.

  6. I know y'all say seed oil is bad to eat, but it's also in A LOT of beauty products. Is it just as bad to put on our body as it is to consume?

  7. I know y'all say seed oil is bad to eat, but it's also in A LOT of beauty products. Is it just as bad to put on our body as it is to consume?

  8. Tucker, I listened to a podcast you did with Ivor Cummins where you mention a blog that opened your eyes to diet/food being a huge cause/contributor to dental health. The author's name was "stephen geonase". I have tried unsuccessfully to find this blog or any trace of Stephen Geonase. Could you post the URL for the blog you are talking about?

  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  10. Like ctviggen, after reading Taubes in 2008 and hyperlipid since 2010, (and losing 18kg)...I think of the unholy trinity - omega-6, sugar, and highly processed grain in particular as foods to minimise...some of the confounding data in studies may be thanks to looking at each of these in isolation. What you've done is move O-6 higher in the priority list I think, although I've been avoiding them generally since 2010 anyway.

  11. Back in 2014 I wrote an article for Ecologist magazine entitled Linoleic acid - the overwhelming evidence against this 'healthy' poly-unsaturated oil. At the time I was not aware that the arachidonic acid content of meat could be problematic for human health. The article I wrote contained this quote from a 2003 article by global obesity expert Barry Popkin. "If you go back to those same villages or slum areas today ... their diet includes a lot of vegetable oil ... In China ... Rice and flour intake is down, and animal-source foods such as pork and poultry and fish are way up, and the steepest increase is in the use of edible vegetable oils for cooking ... People are eating more diverse and tasty meals; in fact, edible oil is a most-important ingredient in enhancing the texture and taste of dishes ... The edible-oil increase is found throughout Asia and Africa and the Middle East as a major source of change."

    Note mention that consumption of pork and poultry are way up. These are significant sources of arachidonic acid. Rather than go on about this, do this web search: David Brown Kassam.

  12. I corresponded with Taubes for several years but he broke contact because I was insistent that he investigate the linoleic acid problem. I discovered I was consuming excessive amounts of linoleic acid in late 2009. For details, Google: "omega-6: friend or foe? peanut butter".


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