Part V: Do Plant-Based Diets Need Supplementing?

Cobalamin (Vitamin B-12) Structure

Many of us worry about things that never crossed the minds of our great grandparents. Am I eating enough protein? Do I need more calcium to strengthen my bones? Will my iron stores get low? How can I ensure enough omega-3 in my diet? The modern supplement industry benefits from these fears of "nonexistent deficiencies." This blog series has explored the common nutrients that people suspect are inadequate in a plant-based diet and answers the question, "Do I need to take supplements if I'm eating only plants?"

Fruits, Veggies, Beans, Whole Grains, Nuts and Seeds ALMOST Have It All. Eating from a variety of plant-based foods gives us nearly all the nutrients we need for radiant health. There are, however, two nutrients that plants can't provide in sufficient amounts. Vitamin D is a hormone produced when sunlight hits our skin. If we find ourselves spending more time under a roof than out of doors, we can easily become deficient in this vital nutrient. A simple 25-hydroxy Vitamin D blood test will tell if our bodies are missing this vitamin. For patients who are severely deficient in Vitamin D, I recommend getting more sunshine, eating an oil-free, whole-food, plant-based diet, and supplementing with Vitamin D (but no more than 5,000 units daily. Never do I recommend taking 50,000 units of vitamin D at one dose).

Vitamin B-12 is produced by bacteria, not plants. The World Health Organization supports the recommendation that all people over the age of 50 take B-12 daily. As we age, our bodies become less efficient at absorbing Vitamin B-12, so a daily supplement is recommended for everyone over the age of 50, regardless of diet style. Individuals who drink alcoholic beverages or use caffeine are at increased risk of becoming Vitamin B-12 deficient due to the diuretic effect of these addictive substances. Also at risk are those who take strong antacids like proton pump inhibitors, such as Prilosec or Nexium, etc. 

As a physician, I keep a sharp eye on the latest scientific research into health and nutrition. It still amazes me that as our knowledge expands, we are repeatedly discovering that a simple, whole-food plant-based diet free from added oil is the best for vitality and longevity. The needs of the human body haven't changed over time.

Do plant-based diets require supplements? As long as we are in good health and are eating sufficient calories from a wide variety of whole plant foods, getting adequate sunshine for our Vitamin D, and supplementing with Vitamin B-12, our nutritional needs will be bountifully met by plants.

For additional information, click on the following links:

(1) Vitamin D Supplements Are Harmful—Sunshine and Food Determine Health

(2) Vitamin D - To Supplement Or Not To Supplement?

(3) Shining a Light on Vitamin D

(4) McDougall’s Moments: Vitamin B12

(5) 12 Questions Answered Regarding Vitamin B12

(6) Vitamin B12 - Why You Should Never Go Plant-Based Without It

(7) Vitamin B12 Deficiency—the Meat-eaters’ Last Stand

(8) Vitamin B12 Necessary for Arterial Health

(9) Vegan Paralysis

(10) Vegan Pitfalls - Dr. Michael Klaper

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Macho Trucker Takes Plant-Based Diet on the Road
Part IV: Do Plant-Based Diets Need Supplementing?

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Comments (21)

Rated 4.5 out of 5 based on 1 votes
  1. Bonnie
  1. 4.5 / 5

What about getting enough fat. I had someone tell me that since I don't eat animal products and don't use oil that I don't get enough lubricant for my joints - plus the brain needs fat. I would love to see a post in this series on essential fatty acids in plant food.

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  1. Sean Carney

Bonnie,

We are grateful for your helpful suggestion and we are giving thought to an article on essential fatty acids. Please accept our apologies for such a belated reply! We do have a previous blog that speaks somewhat, but not extensively, to your suggested topic located at http://www.drcarney.com/blog/entry/are-omega-3-supplements-necessary

Stay tuned for more to come on this topic! :-)

Sean

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  1. Chris Dove

This is from Matt Lederman, MD: Will I get enough omega-3s?

Some fats are necessary in our diet. Consuming oil, fish and processed foods as a means to get these, however, is unnecessary, and even harmful. Every whole plant food has fat, and there’s no evidence that we need any more fat than what occurs naturally in a low-fat, whole-food, plant-based diet. Just as is the case with protein and calcium, we should not target specific foods to get enough of a particular kind of fat.
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids appear to be involved in a variety of important bodily functions, including cell membrane stabilization, nervous system function, immune system function, and blood clotting, as well as impacting triglyceride levels, blood pressure, inflammation, cancer, and heart disease. Although they are both essential (meaning you need to consume them), you have probably heard a lot more often that you need to seek out omega-3. This is not because it is more essential than omega-6. Instead, it is because, in general, these two essential fatty acids should be consumed in a healthy ratio to each other. Studies are not clear exactly what that ratio should be, but we do know that the...

This is from Matt Lederman, MD: Will I get enough omega-3s?

Some fats are necessary in our diet. Consuming oil, fish and processed foods as a means to get these, however, is unnecessary, and even harmful. Every whole plant food has fat, and there’s no evidence that we need any more fat than what occurs naturally in a low-fat, whole-food, plant-based diet. Just as is the case with protein and calcium, we should not target specific foods to get enough of a particular kind of fat.
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids appear to be involved in a variety of important bodily functions, including cell membrane stabilization, nervous system function, immune system function, and blood clotting, as well as impacting triglyceride levels, blood pressure, inflammation, cancer, and heart disease. Although they are both essential (meaning you need to consume them), you have probably heard a lot more often that you need to seek out omega-3. This is not because it is more essential than omega-6. Instead, it is because, in general, these two essential fatty acids should be consumed in a healthy ratio to each other. Studies are not clear exactly what that ratio should be, but we do know that the Standard American Diet is significantly skewed in such a way that we get an excess of omega-6. This excess consumption of omega-6 impairs the absorption of omega-3.1 The answer, however, is not simply that you need to eat more omega-3 fats. The answer is to eliminate or minimize processed and animal-based foods and instead eat a whole-food, plant-based diet, which we know in most cases restores a healthy omega-6 to omega-3 balance and, more important, leads to positive health outcomes. And isn’t that what we care about most?
If 1 to 3 percent of your calories come from the essential fats, you’ll be in great shape. Adequate omega-3 intake specifically is 1.1 g for adult women and 1.6 g for adult men.2 That’s 1⁄4 to 1⁄3 teaspoon per day. If you meet all your caloric needs with a low-fat, whole-foods diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, you will easily consume enough essential fatty acids and those fatty acids will be in good balance to each other. Note that while walnuts and flax- and chia seeds are whole plant foods with higher concentrations of essential fatty acids, there’s no evidence that you actually need to eat these foods to get the proper amount of any kind of fat. Most whole plant foods have small amounts of essential fats. Over the course of a day full of these foods you will achieve the needed amounts—which aren’t that much to begin with. In fact, it is significantly more important to worry about not consuming excess fat than it is to worry about consuming sufficient omega-3.

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  1. Marky Yvanovich    Chris Dove

Chris, thanks for sharing that. I think we can apply this logic to just about any essential nutrient. If our diet is based on a variety of low-fat whole plant foods, we will most likely get enough of every essential nutrient we need.

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  1. Sean Carney    Marky Yvanovich

Yes and my apologies to Chris who actually submitted his comment on August 23rd and our system flagged it as possible spam and I did not find it until today. Oops... we sometimes get false positives like this. That is a bummer. But, we also filter out thousands of spam attempts daily so for that I am grateful. :-)

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  1. Linda Carney MD

Great comments Chris and Marky!

Thanks for posting. I agree that we will get all the omega-3 that we need if we eat greens daily as well as adequate calories from legumes, whole grains, fruit, and the other veggies.

Gratefully,
Dr. Carney

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  1. Chris Dove

I do consume a spoonful of ground flax a day more out of convenience than necessity when enough leafy greens are not eaten.

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  1. Sean Carney    Chris Dove

I love the taste of ground flax seeds. :-)

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  1. Denise B Rose

I recently looked at the study suggesting vegans (especially older vegans) can be low in converting omega 3 to EPA/DHA despite eating seeds like flax and chia seeds and a healthy WFPB diet. I would love to test my blood for this, but unfortunately I would have to self pay at about $150.00 as insurance does not cover. So I am now thinking of taking the algae supplement without first paying for blood tests. A couple of WFPB doctors (Greger, Fuhrman, Klaper) suggest this may be good insurance from a potential "shrinking brain."

I'm curious if any readers of this blog have taken the blood test and what they have found. And if they have supplemented with the algae and retested to see if their levels were up. And if Dr. Carney has reigned on this specific issue of possible low conversion and has advice for older vegans whether to supplement for this issue, I would appreciate hearing her response.

Also Dr. Carney writes that those folks with severe vitamin deficiency should supplement. I am finding that there is not consensus on what is the level of severe deficiency. My number was 28. Some WFPB doctors suggest 30 is the low limit. Does that make 28 a severe deficiency? My...

I recently looked at the study suggesting vegans (especially older vegans) can be low in converting omega 3 to EPA/DHA despite eating seeds like flax and chia seeds and a healthy WFPB diet. I would love to test my blood for this, but unfortunately I would have to self pay at about $150.00 as insurance does not cover. So I am now thinking of taking the algae supplement without first paying for blood tests. A couple of WFPB doctors (Greger, Fuhrman, Klaper) suggest this may be good insurance from a potential "shrinking brain."

I'm curious if any readers of this blog have taken the blood test and what they have found. And if they have supplemented with the algae and retested to see if their levels were up. And if Dr. Carney has reigned on this specific issue of possible low conversion and has advice for older vegans whether to supplement for this issue, I would appreciate hearing her response.

Also Dr. Carney writes that those folks with severe vitamin deficiency should supplement. I am finding that there is not consensus on what is the level of severe deficiency. My number was 28. Some WFPB doctors suggest 30 is the low limit. Does that make 28 a severe deficiency? My primary who is not WFPB felt the number should be between 40-60. If Dr. Carney could share what numbers represent a severe deficiency, I would appreciate her input. Thank you.

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  1. Chris Dove    Denise B Rose

You mentioned that your # was 28....which vitamin are you referring to? In regards to supplementing with DHA, I personally feel that it is better to let your body decide how much DHA it needs and where it needs it. DHA outside of the body is very unstable, no matter what the source is. When consumed, it will likely oxidize before it is utilized, mostly in the brain and the eyes. If adequate ALA is consumed and oils and other foods high in LA(omega 6) are omitted, conversion should not be a problem at any age.

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  1. Ken Thomas

For what it's worth, I have learned to not seek out specific fat nutrients. Going probably further than most, I try to be as fat-free as possible, avoiding all seeds, nuts, avocado, or any ingredient containing more than 10% calories from fat. I don't really know what elderly is, but I am currently 65 and have not noticed any health decline, either physically or mentally. I don't know what my current numbers are, but I do know that most "standard" numbers are curved to the general population that is on the Standard American Diet. I do have some blood-work numbers that are considered out-of-range low, such as cholesterol, but since I feel better and am more capable than I was when it was in range, my faith in established "standards" have been weakened.

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  1. Ken Thomas

I would like to add that since I discovered this way of eating in 1989, I have been warned that I am going to get sick and die if I don't eat meat - and that eating starches is going to make me fat and sick - and that if I don't eat protein I will become sick and frail - and if I don't eat fats I will become... On and on, I have been warned over all these years, while all along, the exact opposite has occurred. I find it amazing that all those who express these warnings, over all these years, do not notice that instead of becoming frail, weak and sick I have continued to grow trimmer, stronger, more vital and capable all the way out to 65 years of age - while those expressing the warnings continue growing fat, sick and decrepit. At this point, I don't see any reason to start worrying. I'm just maintaining course - all ahead full.

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  1. Denise Rose

Chris, my number 28 was for the Vitamin D test. I hear what you are saying about DHA being unstable and oxidizing quickly yet several WFPB docs suggest supplementing is a good thing particularly for older folks. Why would Greger and Klaper for instance suggest this if they felt the supplement wouldn't do any good because of the issues you raise? I respect these men greatly for their work and advocacy for WFPB nutrition and they don't seem to have any financial bias in recommending these algae supplements. Some might suggest Fuhrman could be biased since he sells his own brand, but not the other two.

Ken, I hear you that fear is not a way to live; all we do is lose precious moments when we focus on our fears and not the moment in front of us. Nevertheless in a similar vein as what I suggested to Chris, at some point, most or all of us hopefully rely on some evidence based data to make our personal decisions. All the WFPB docs point to such data in making recommendations on what is healthy to eat and what might need to be supplemented such as B12, or D, or DPA/EHA. What makes life harder for those of us trying to do the best health practices we can is how cautionary we feel...

Chris, my number 28 was for the Vitamin D test. I hear what you are saying about DHA being unstable and oxidizing quickly yet several WFPB docs suggest supplementing is a good thing particularly for older folks. Why would Greger and Klaper for instance suggest this if they felt the supplement wouldn't do any good because of the issues you raise? I respect these men greatly for their work and advocacy for WFPB nutrition and they don't seem to have any financial bias in recommending these algae supplements. Some might suggest Fuhrman could be biased since he sells his own brand, but not the other two.

Ken, I hear you that fear is not a way to live; all we do is lose precious moments when we focus on our fears and not the moment in front of us. Nevertheless in a similar vein as what I suggested to Chris, at some point, most or all of us hopefully rely on some evidence based data to make our personal decisions. All the WFPB docs point to such data in making recommendations on what is healthy to eat and what might need to be supplemented such as B12, or D, or DPA/EHA. What makes life harder for those of us trying to do the best health practices we can is how cautionary we feel we need to be. As I said, several docs suggest supplementing DPA/EHA might be valuable; some haven't gotten on that bandwagon. So we have to decide what to do when there is not consensus and the fact the insurance companies refuse to cover some valuable blood tests makes it even harder to decide what to do.

I assume from your comments that both Ken and Chris have not done the blood tests checking DHA/EPA levels and you have decided not to supplement for this. I am not sure even if we supplement, whether we could really know whether it is having a beneficial effect. If our basic labs show we are healthy, and that is how we feel, we may not know, in terms of how we feel cognitively, how much our brain is shrinking as we age. All I know is I want to preserve what I have for the longest time possible. Best to both of you and for contributing to the discussion.

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  1. Linda Carney MD

Chef AJ has publicly stated that she has tested her omega 3 profile and was found normal in all parameters despite avoiding all nuts, soy, seeds, avocado, coconut, oils, and olives for a few years now.

A severe vitamin D deficiency is a value below 19. It should be noted that 75% of Americans are deemed as deficient in vitamin D levels, although the exact numbers (of how they determined deficiency) are not known by me.

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  1. Denise Rose    Linda Carney MD

Thank you for your comment Dr. Carney. In contrast, I have 2 friends here in Arizona, both in their 70s; they eat flax and chia seeds regularly as well as nuts. They eat WFPB no oil. They had their blood tested and were found to be deficient in omega 3 profile despite their eating their omega 3s regularly and likely not having too much omega 6s because of their diet. They were doing a heart consult with Klaper and he told them he takes the supplement as well. So this is where the conundrum comes from. Of course, I could find out for sure if I test; just trying to prioritize my dollars the best way I can. I wish I could hear from many more WFPB eaters in their upper years if they tested and what were their results. So if anyone else reading this post has done that, I'd like to hear your experience.

Thank you for sharing the Vitamin D deficient number. I appreciate it.

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  1. Deborah

Denise Rose, perhaps your friends are low in omega 3 because they have been eating too many nuts (all of which are higher in omega 6) and too few of the fruits & veggies that are higher in omega 3. To name a few that are higher in omega 3: cherries, mangoes, all squashes including cucumber, orange & green melons, all of the green leafy vegetables including the lettuces, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and especially purslane. It's easy to get too high in omega 6 when eating nuts regularly. My understanding is that the issue is far more about the balance between the 6 & 3, rather than just the amount, since omega 6 competes with 3. And as I'm sure you are aware, it can be challenging to be sure of what other people actually eat since even they may have trouble recalling exactly. :-)

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  1. Ken Thomas

Sorry this is so long, but, this is a great discussion! I believe discussions like these are a major benefit to our health!
Indeed, I do not know what my DPA/EHA number are. I admit that is due to ignorance instead of dismissal. So, I thank everyone for this discussion.
Regarding DPA/EHA, however, I would not be inclined to supplement because I have found that consuming any ingredient containing greater than 10% fat, regardless of type or "goodness", elevates insulin resistance - which makes Type 1 diabetes difficult to manage. As I understand, the prospect of low DPA/EHA is a decline in mental capacity, however, Type-1 Diabetes complications are catastrophic. Fortunately, I have yet to experience any mental (or otherwise) decline - or at least any evidence thereof.
Reviewing my previous comment, I see that it looks like I advocate a "happy-go-lucky" or "ignorance is bliss" mindset. But, that is really the opposite of what I really mean to say. Indeed, most of my health efforts has been in the face of ignorance - but never by intent. My response is experimentation. Obviously, I can't experiment every aspect of biology, but experimentation is my innate mindset. Experimentation...

Sorry this is so long, but, this is a great discussion! I believe discussions like these are a major benefit to our health!
Indeed, I do not know what my DPA/EHA number are. I admit that is due to ignorance instead of dismissal. So, I thank everyone for this discussion.
Regarding DPA/EHA, however, I would not be inclined to supplement because I have found that consuming any ingredient containing greater than 10% fat, regardless of type or "goodness", elevates insulin resistance - which makes Type 1 diabetes difficult to manage. As I understand, the prospect of low DPA/EHA is a decline in mental capacity, however, Type-1 Diabetes complications are catastrophic. Fortunately, I have yet to experience any mental (or otherwise) decline - or at least any evidence thereof.
Reviewing my previous comment, I see that it looks like I advocate a "happy-go-lucky" or "ignorance is bliss" mindset. But, that is really the opposite of what I really mean to say. Indeed, most of my health efforts has been in the face of ignorance - but never by intent. My response is experimentation. Obviously, I can't experiment every aspect of biology, but experimentation is my innate mindset. Experimentation is how I learned to manage my Type-1 diabetes to achieve non-diabetic results. As it turns out, my experimentation derived method is in conflict with industry established standards and even in conflict with many WFPB doctors, but I feel successful enough to believe in the results. This doesn't mean I'm smarter than the authorities, but it means I'm not inclined to automatically follow established paths. I am results oriented. If I try something that results in a better outcome, I tend to believe that over the authority. If I have no experience in a subject, then I will follow the authority, but never with absolute conviction, until I see the physical results. For example; there is an established standard for calcium and vitamin D intake in defense of osteoporosis. However, everyone that I know with osteoporosis who diligently takes the prescribed doses of calcium and vitamin D, never get any better. This reduces my faith in the established treatment and specifications of osteoporosis.
Throughout these past 30 years, I have received many warnings that I am too "low" on this or that. My first question is always, "what is the detriment?" I then get a list of symptoms. My second question is, "How long does it take before the symptoms take effect?" Since the length of time since I have been too "low" on this or that is generally in excess of 10 to 20 times the specified time to symptom plus the fact that I have instead moved further away from the listed symptoms since being too "low", brings the said "low" figure into question.
I suppose that much of this falls into a belief category. In my career as an electronics design engineer, I find the same belief mechanisms throughout that industry. Especially as simulation software and reference designs are becoming increasingly popular while physical prototype test-and-measure becomes less popular. I admit I am old school in that respect; I am inclined to believe the physics and direct experience of the subject over industry established opinion. I cannot count the number of times that highly esteemed and respected engineers have told me that one of my designs can't work. They know, because they have never seen such a circuit arrangement and it doesn't work in their high-end simulation software. The problem is; they are telling me this while watching the said physical design, in action and working perfectly.
I do not say this in dismissal of industry established data. I use it routinely in my life and career, but I am shy about considering it an end-all absolute - regardless how much I trust the source. When available, however, direct empirical experience is my overriding belief. I can't help it; I'm a Doubting Thomas.

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  1. Denise Rose

Deborah, Yes that could be an issue from what I've learned too. These friends are pretty careful WFPB eaters from what I know so I imagine they stick with the 1-2 ounces of nuts that many of the docs prescribe. Since nuts are protective for many good things, I would not want to give up a reasonable amount. The problem I think is overeating nuts not using them sparingly. And of course I am talking about healthy nuts, raw, not sweetened or roasted. I am assuming Deborah that you have not taken the blood test either since you haven't mentioned it.

Ken, I understand your point. For each of us, we have to find what we believe works. Hopefully you take in the evidence based data, try it out, and then make changes when warranted for your personal needs.

After participating in this discussion, I am more inclined now to spend the money and take the blood test and see what it finds. I really don't like the idea of supplementing if I have no personal need, but if I'm at a low level of something that could be critically important as protecting my cognitive ability, I would want to know that. So maybe I will take the test and see what it show for this WFPB eater. If I do, I will...

Deborah, Yes that could be an issue from what I've learned too. These friends are pretty careful WFPB eaters from what I know so I imagine they stick with the 1-2 ounces of nuts that many of the docs prescribe. Since nuts are protective for many good things, I would not want to give up a reasonable amount. The problem I think is overeating nuts not using them sparingly. And of course I am talking about healthy nuts, raw, not sweetened or roasted. I am assuming Deborah that you have not taken the blood test either since you haven't mentioned it.

Ken, I understand your point. For each of us, we have to find what we believe works. Hopefully you take in the evidence based data, try it out, and then make changes when warranted for your personal needs.

After participating in this discussion, I am more inclined now to spend the money and take the blood test and see what it finds. I really don't like the idea of supplementing if I have no personal need, but if I'm at a low level of something that could be critically important as protecting my cognitive ability, I would want to know that. So maybe I will take the test and see what it show for this WFPB eater. If I do, I will report back.

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  1. Deborah

Denise Rose, some years ago I did an intensive study of the omega 3/omega 6 balance in foods. I felt amazed to see the HUGE over-abundance of omega 6 in nuts. ALL nuts (except a certain type of walnut) has hundreds or thousands of times more omega 6 than 3. Since they also have a lot of total fat, even a small amount in the diet can add significantly to the omega 6 dominance that causes problems. Jeff Novick RD has published lists of these.

https://www.drmcdougall.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=42399&p=436326#p436326

If you read all the info on that link, I hope you conclude (as he & I have done) that the only high fat food worth having regularly is a tablespoon or maybe two of ground flax seed or chia seed. These actually help us keep our omega 3 level up to optimal whereas all nuts add to the imbalance. Walnuts have a slight dominance of omega 3 but not enough to make much difference in the total daily diet.

To me, Jeff's recommendations are properly informed by the details. In my opinion, adding oil products to try to correct an over-consumption of omega 6 in the diet is settling for sub-standard results. Personally, I make every effort to fill my diet with...

Denise Rose, some years ago I did an intensive study of the omega 3/omega 6 balance in foods. I felt amazed to see the HUGE over-abundance of omega 6 in nuts. ALL nuts (except a certain type of walnut) has hundreds or thousands of times more omega 6 than 3. Since they also have a lot of total fat, even a small amount in the diet can add significantly to the omega 6 dominance that causes problems. Jeff Novick RD has published lists of these.

https://www.drmcdougall.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=42399&p=436326#p436326

If you read all the info on that link, I hope you conclude (as he & I have done) that the only high fat food worth having regularly is a tablespoon or maybe two of ground flax seed or chia seed. These actually help us keep our omega 3 level up to optimal whereas all nuts add to the imbalance. Walnuts have a slight dominance of omega 3 but not enough to make much difference in the total daily diet.

To me, Jeff's recommendations are properly informed by the details. In my opinion, adding oil products to try to correct an over-consumption of omega 6 in the diet is settling for sub-standard results. Personally, I make every effort to fill my diet with as many of the low-fat omega 3 dominant foods as possible: cherries, orange & green melons, all leafy green veggies (including the cruciferous ones), all members of the squash family including cucumber, zucchini, etc., kidney & pinto beans, mangoes. These are all LOW in total fat, but their fatty acid profile is omega 3 dominant.

I hope this makes sense. :-)

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  1. Denise Rose    Deborah

Deborah, It was interesting to see Jeff's discussion and analysis of 3 types of commonly sourced foods for omega 3. As a WFPB, eater, (extremely minimal olive oil), that is not overweight, I enjoy eating some nuts. Fortunately, I can stop at a small amount and do not binge on them. There appears to be a wealth of benefits for walnuts for many health conditions so even though they have more fat and some omega 6s, I think they are still worthwhile to eat, at least for me. Thanks for the link. PS: Is my assumption right that you did not yourself take the blood test for DHA/EPA? Just curious.

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  1. Sean Carney

Deborah, I see that our system was not able to parse properly the url you submitted because of an unexpected comma in the argument string. I would call this a bug and will report it to the developers. In the meantime I am going to try to create a link that works here: Click to Read The Discussion Forum LInk
I also just went and edited your post above and made your link work by using the link icon in the editor and then making your link a bit of hyperlinked text and linking it back to itself. :-) You can select any bit of text in a comment or reply and then link that text to anywhere else on the web. :-)

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