Linoleic acid reduction in recommended diet

We have updated our food guidance to further reduce the amount of Linoleic Acid (LA) consumed through the recommended diet.

What is LA?  LA is a omega-6 polyunsaturated fat (PUF) predominately from grains/seeds such as soybean.  LA is normally low in traditional diets and high in modern manufactured foods.  It is also high in animals fed a diet of grains through intensive farming.

Why reduce LA? Studies have demonstrated that elevated LA directly promotes obesity and damages the liver.  While traditional diets had similar levels of omega-3 and omega-6; modern diets have hugely increased omega-6 consumption, disrupting metabolic processes.

What does this mean?  To further lower LA in our diet we need to avoid products from animals fed a diet high in LA.  Generally this will be animals fed a grain-based diet such as pork, poultry and dairy animals.  For example, fat from grain-fed farmed pork and poultry contains around 10% LA.  You should seek free-range (naturally fed) sources for your pork, poultry and dairy consumption.  This is not really new advice – just an additional reason to avoid intensively farmed animal foods.

If you have followed our advice, you have already removed the primary source of omega-6 PUF from your diet when you avoided vegetable (seed) oils and anything cooked in these oils.  This advice emphasises the removal of a secondary source of these oils and fats from your diet.

Our bodies need a small amount of omega-6 fats as well as omega-3 fats and the current evidence supports the requirement to keep them roughly in a 1:1 ratio.  Reducing the obvious sources of linoleic acid will help us get closer to a balanced intake but LA will always be present in other foods that we eat, so you need not worry that you will be insufficient in LA.