3 Reasons to Re-think Foods Fortified with Omega 3s

May 17, 2011

3 Reasons to Re-think Foods Fortified with Omega 3s


One of today’s new wonder-substances are Omega 3s – the fatty acids found in salmon, sardines and flax that reduce inflammation and lower blood pressure, triglycerides and “bad” cholesterol.

Who wouldn’t want that?  At True Citrus we’re all for better health through food! 

But instead of promoting the foods in which Omega 3s naturally occur, many food manufacturers have rushed to add them to foods like orange juice, eggs, milk, margarines, peanut butter and granola bars. According to those who track these things, about $60 billion of our dollars will go to buying Omega 3-fortified foods this year.

You’ve heard us say this before. Changing natural foods to unnatural foods is not only weird, it also usually doesn’t give us the benefits we think we’re paying for. In the case of Omega 3s, here’s why:

Reason 1. There’s three kinds of Omega 3s: EPA and DHA, found in fish. And then there’s ALA, from flax seeds and soybeans. Many Omega 3-fortified foods are enriched with ALA because it’s cheaper than the other two kinds. If you see words like “flaxseed and soybean oil” on the nutrition label, your Omega 3s are coming from ALA.

And guess what?  ALA is pretty much ineffective when it comes to giving you those Omega 3 benefits. Your body has to convert the ALA to DHA to use it, and isn’t at all good at that. One study found the conversion rate was only 0.1 percent!!!

Reason 2. Even if the Omega 3s are EPA or DHA, you’d need to eat a lot of the fortified food to get anywhere near the recommended Omega 3 dosage for health (something like 200 mg of DHA and 300 mg of EPA daily).  For example, one peanut butter gives 32 mg of DHA and EPA per two tablespoons.  So to get anywhere near 200 mg, that’s a lot of peanut butter, and a lot of extra calories your body doesn’t need.

Reason 3. Here’s the kicker: studies have shown that adding EPA, DHA or ALA fortified foods to your life doesn’t reduce the chances of having a heart attack AT ALL. 

So why pay extra for something that just doesn’t work?  Why not eat the foods with naturally-occurring Omega 3s?  We don’t know the last time we heard someone gained weight from salmon or sardines!  And when you sprinkle True Lemon on those good-for-you fish, you’ve got a real wonderfood: good for you and truly delicious!