Is it unhealthy to have more omega 6 than omega 3 in an oil?
Fats are made up of a mixture of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Polyunsaturated fatty acids that are necessary for normal bodily functions but cannot be made in the body are called essential fatty acids. There are 2 main families of essential fatty acids n-3 (omega 3) and n-6 (omega 6) – both are important for health. For example there is strong evidence linking diets high in long-chain omega 3 fatty acids, found in oily fish, and a lower risk of heart disease.
There has been some suggestion that a high dietary n-6 to n-3 ratio may have adverse health outcome. However the scientific consensus, for example both the Foods Standards Agency and the World Health Organization, is that based both on evidence and on theory, this ratio is not a useful concept. Rather concentration should be on increasing absolute intakes of long chain n-3 fatty acids which have been shown to have beneficial effects on cardiovascular health.
Current UK dietary guidelines are to replace saturated fat with some unsaturated fat, including both n-3 and n-6 fatty acids to help reduce the risk of heart disease.
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Rapeseed oil basics
Find out more about the healthy cooking oil, known in the US as canola oil.Find out more
Read this AHDB guide to help make healthier choices in your diet and lifestyle.Find out more
Discover the health benefits of rapeseed oil with our handy guide.Find out more
Read our guide to the nutrients contained in rapeseed oil. Minerals, vitamins and more.Find out more