Balancing Omega 6 to Omega 3 To Prevent and Manage Obesity Interview with:

Artemis P. Simopoulos, M.D. FACN President, The Center for Genetics Nutrition and Health Washington, DC 20016

Dr. Artemis P. Simopoulos

Artemis P. Simopoulos, M.D. FACN
President, The Center for Genetics
Nutrition and Health
Washington, DC 20016 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: I have written extensively on the evolutionary aspects of diet, the diet of Crete prior to 1960 in which I pointed to the misinterpretation of the data of the Seven Countries Study by Keys et al. A major characteristic of these diets is a balanced omega-6/omega-3 ratio.

The recommendation to substitute saturated fats with omega-6 rich oils (sunflower, corn, soybean) increases inflammation and coronary heart disease. It has been shown in a number of studies that a high omega-6/omega-3 (20/1 instead of a balanced ratio) leads to an increase in white adipose tissue and prevents the formation of brown adipose tissue leading to obesity. The changes in the diet-high in omega-6 oils depletion of omega-3 and high fructose along with highly refined carbohydrates in processed foods and a sedentary lifestyle lead to obesity, diabetes, coronary heart disease and cancer.

The scientific evidence from the FAT-1 mouse and recent cohort studies clearly show that the current dietary guidelines as the previous ones are not based on science that takes into consideration genetics, metabolism, the concept that a calorie is not a calorie. It is important to consider that nutrients influence the expression of genes, the omega-6 fatty acids are the most pro-inflammatory nutrients, and inflammation is at the base of all chronic non-communicable diseases. What should readers take away from your report?

  • Change the oils you eat.
  • Use olive oil, canola oil, flaxseed oil, perilla oil, chia oil, macadamia oil and hazelnut oil.Do not use oils high in omega-6 (sunflower oil, safflower oil, corn oil, soybean oil, or cottonseed oil).
  • Do not go on a low-fat high carbohydrate diet.
  • Walk and be physically active.
  • Know your family history.
  • FDA should distinguish between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids on the food label and stop using polyunsaturated fatty acids as if there is only one variety. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

  • Establish a Nutrition and Food Science Agency.
  •  Carry out randomized clinical trials with proper controls
  • .Nutrition Research should lead Food Sciences Research.
  • Stop using epidemiologic studies based on food frequency questionnaires and self reported height and weight.
  • Expand research on food biomarkers and tissue biomarkers.
  • Expand research on Nutrigenetics (the role of genetic variation on dietary response), and Nutrigenomics (the role of nutrients in gene expression).
  • Expand Research on the concept of ‘a calorie is not a calorie’ or ‘all calories are not the same.’ Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Artemis P Simopoulos, James J DiNicolantonio

Open Heart 2016;3:e000385 doi:10.1136/openhrt-2015-000385

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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