The Disappearance of Omega-3s

Omega-3s are indeed a hot topic, although it appears that all we North Americans really know, is that Omega-3 eggs, fish and fish oils, and flax products, are all good sources. Consuming these products as we’ve been told, reduces the risk of heart disease.

Of course the responsible thing to do is to remain skeptical and question any new diet craze that hits our culinarily confused culture. As for Omega-3s, it appears some critical information has evaded the radar of North American media and hence the eating public.

In a fascinating book by Author Susan Allport, the history, science and hype surrounding Omega-3s is laid out for all to see. Titled “The Queen of Fats – Why Omega-3s Were Removed From the Western Diet and What We Can Do to Replace Them”, Allport reveals that our collective understanding of these vital fatty acids is way off.

According to Allport, lacking in exposure has been Omega-6s, another family of essential fatty acids that compete with Omega-3s. And so if both are in competition, why is it we never hear about the 6s?

In October 2007, CBC’s The National aired a segment on the increasing confusion surrounding Omega-3s and questioned how much fish new and expecting mothers should be consuming. After a read through The Queen of Fats, it appears that not only has the CBC deepened this collective confusion, it has equally encouraged the further pillaging of our already vulnerable oceans.

Unlike most media coverage on diet and nutrition, this episode will not so much suggest what you should or should not be eating, but will instead look to capture how our lifestyles and the industrialization of our food has had devastating impacts on our health.

We also hear segments from a September 2007 interview between Host Jon Steinman and Cargill Canada President, Len Penner.


Susan AllportAuthorThe Queen of Fats (Katonah, NY) – An award-winning writer for publications such as the New York Times and GastronomicaSusan Allport has spent the past decade exploring how food shapes behavior and health. In 2006, University of Calfornia Press published her book The Queen of Fats: Why Omega-3s Were Removed from the Western Diet and What We Can Do to Replace Them.

JoAnne Buth – PresidentCanola Council of Canada (Winnipeg, MB) – A national trade association representing producers, input suppliers, processors and marketers of canola and its products.

Len Penner – PresidentCargill Canada (Winnipeg, MB) – One of Canada’s largest agricultural merchandisers and processors with interests in meat, egg, malt and oilseed processing, livestock feed, salt manufacturing, as well as crop input products, grain handling and merchandizing. The company is a subsidiary of Cargill Limited based in the United States. In February 2007, Deconstructing Dinner ran a 2-part series on the operations of the company.

Musical Selection (name/title/album/label)
Theme/Soundclip – Adham Shaikh, Infusion, Fusion, Sonic Turtle (CDN)