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From: Jeff Novick, MS, RD, LD, LN (
Subject:         Re: The Pros and Cons of Olive Oil?
Date: October 19, 2008 at 9:45 am PST

In Reply to: Re: The Pros and Cons of Olive Oil? posted by Randi Barman on October 19, 2008 at 5:31 am:

Hi Randi

>>>Jeff do you think that Vegans are able to get enough long chain omega 3 fatty acids?

Yes. But they have to create the healthy conditions and environments. There is always more to the picture than just "getting in enough." Just like with Calcium and fractures. You not only have to ensure adequate intake (which is actually lower if all other factors are met) but also ensure adequate Vit D, Vit K, magnesium, potassium, boron, and limit the intake of animal protein, salt, caffeine, etc and ensure adequate weight bearing exercise. So, there is more to the issue than just a simple "yes."

This is why it is important to understand that "optimal health" is more than just being a "vegan." Too many vegans think, "oh, i am not a vegan so I dont have to worry about osteoporosis, diabetes, heart disease, etc etc" but this is not true if they eat an unhealthy vegan diet and live an unhealthy lifestyle.

We have to shift the entire paradigm to not just being vegan, but to understand what it is to be a healthy vegan if we want the true health benefits. Just replacing your bacon with soy bacon, and your milk with soy milk and your cheese with soy cheese and continue to consume a diet full of highly refined processed foods, oils, salts, refined carbs/grains and refined sugars/sweeteners that are vegan may be good for the animals but it is not good for the health of the human animal consuming these products.

>> I know that omega 3 is present in a range of foods such as flax etc, but they are not present in the long-chain form and apparently the chain elongation pathway is a very inefficient process in humans.

It is a very inefficient process if you are overweight, have metabolic syndrome and/or diabetes, consume a high fat diet, consume hydrogenated fat, trans fat, and higher levels of saturated fat then would be optimal, and consume too much omega 6s. While typcial Americans have ratios estimated to be over 14:1, studies have shown the vegans are not much better and have a ratio of over 10:1

However, if one follows the guidelines and recommendations of a truly healthy low fat plant based unrefined unprocessed diet based on real whole foods, keeping total fat to below 15%, with adequate omega 3s and keeping omega 6s to no more than 2:1 ratio to omega 3s then their conversion will be much more efficient. The body also has an incredible ability to up-regulate certain processes when necessary.

In Health

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