Episode 82: Omega 6 Fats In Avocados: A Cause For Concern?

Thanks for joining us for episode 82 of The Ancestral RD podcast. If you want to keep up with our podcasts, subscribe in iTunes and never miss an episode! Remember, please send us your question if you’d like us to answer it on the show.

Today we are answering the following question from a listener:

“Hi Laura and Kelsey. After just discovering your podcast last week, I think I’ve listened to a minimum of three podcasts every day. Today I picked up a copy of Chris’ The Paleo Cure book and was surprised to read that avocados are, like nuts and seeds, very high in omega 6. Across most Paleo/Primal sources, nuts and seeds are recommended in moderation, but typically avocados and avocado oils are highly celebrated.

I eat one half to two full avocados per day often. What’s the deal with avocados? What is your opinion on avocados? Should we limit them as we do with nuts? Does Chris still stand by what he wrote in the book regarding them?”

Fat phobia is slowly fading and more people realize that fat has a rightful place in our diets. But all fats are not the same and many of us are understandably confused as to which types of fat are healthy.

If you’re following a Paleo type diet, chances are you try to limit your intake omega 6 fats. But did you know that it’s the source of omega 6 fats that makes all the difference?

Join us today as we discuss how in sharp contrast the processed omega 6 oils that have infiltrated the American diet, whole food sources of omega 6 fats such as avocados can actually be a healthy part of a balanced diet. You’ll discover the importance of variety in your dietary fat sources and hear tips for finding different types of healthy animal fats to experiment with in your diet.

Here’s what Laura and Kelsey will be discussing in this episode:

  • Whole food sources of omega 6 fats and how they differ from processed omega 6 oils
  • Why whole food sources of omega 6 fats in a balanced diet don’t pose a threat to healthy fatty acid balance
  • Why it’s difficult to get an excess of linoleic acid from eating whole food sources of omega 6s such as avocados
  • The importance of having a variety of different types of animal and plant based fats in your diet
  • How the ingrained but unfounded fear of saturated animal fat causes people to over rely on plant based fat
  • Tips for choosing and finding different types of healthy animal fats

Links Discussed:

TRANSCRIPT:

Laura: Hi everyone. Welcome to episode 82 of The Ancestral RDs podcast. I’m Laura Schoenfeld and with me as always is Kelsey Kinney.

Kelsey: Hey guys.

Laura: So Kelsey, I heard that you had a little bit of an up and down week with some health stuff.

Kelsey: Yes. Well, everything is pretty good now. But it was a little frightening because I went to my yearly physical like 2 weeks ago at this point, or maybe a week and a half, something like that, and all was good. But then when they kind of take a look at your thyroid just by doing a physical exam, my doctor was like you have an enlarged thyroid it feels like, so you should probably go get an ultrasound. I was like oh that’s weird, I’ve never had thyroid issues in the past. My thyroid levels have always been good. Nothing ever comes up in that regard so I was a little surprised by it.

I got an ultrasound and they found a pretty big nodule on my thyroid. I think it was like 3 centimeters long, which is like a little bit over an inch, so that’s pretty big which is a little frightening. Then of course at that point they kind of look for any signs of malignancy. I had some suspicious stuff show up on my ultrasound. At that point I had to then get a biopsy of the nodule, which I was like kind of freaking out about because I really don’t do well with needles, so the idea of someone sticking a needle into my neck was really not a fun thought.

It’s kind of funny because my doctor who I really like, he’s kind of integrative, at least open minded, and he knows about SIBO, he knows about all the things that I talk to my own patients about. At least he feels like a pretty good doctor to me. But when I got that call saying okay, there’s some suspicious stuff in your nodule, you need to get checked for cancer, that was like the extent of the conversation. There was no mention of most thyroid nodules are benign. I think 95% of them are benign so chances are you’ve got a benign nodule. Or even if you do have thyroid cancer, it’s super easily treatable for the most part. If you’re going to get cancer, that’s definitely the best one to get. So I was like a little frightened until I did some more research. And then as soon as I saw all those facts, I was like okay, I feel a lot better about this than my doctor had made me feel just getting that phone call. It’s something for him to think about. Maybe I’ll mention it next time I see him.

Then I went and got a biopsy, which was better than I had imagined and read about. Anybody who has to get a thyroid biopsy, it is not as bad as it sounds. Thankfully, that came back benign. I just got that news a couple days ago which is a relief of course. But then it got me thinking. It’s like well what do you do with a benign nodule? Can you shrink them? What’s the deal because it generally from a conventional medicine perspective, the idea is to just keep an eye on it, get an ultrasound every once and a while to see if it’s growing a lot within a year because that can be a sign that it may have turned malignant, things like that. But in general it’s sort of just a wait and see policy, which I tend to think is kind of a bad policy if there’s’ anything you can do about it.

For me it doesn’t cause any problems. My thyroid levels are normal, which sometimes if you have nodules like this, they will start to produce thyroid hormones so people will become hyperthyroid and that in and of itself can cause a problem. People will tend to get at least a piece of their thyroid out if not a full thyroidectomy to get rid of that problem, which I hope I never have to do and I hope it never starts to produce any hormones. But I’ve done a tiny bit of research at this point because, again, I got this news that it was benign like a day ago and it sounds like definitely making sure that you are replete with nutrients like iodine and selenium can help. One thing for me too, I always come back low on vitamin D so I’ve got to be better about making sure that my vitamin D levels are in a good place.

I’ll kind of just see what happens. But I would love to hear from anybody else who has dealt with thyroid nodules that are just there and not really causing any problems, if you’ve had any experience with shrinking them or what kind of happens over time with them because this is all a little bit new to me.

Laura: You haven’t had any issues with thyroid function based on the nodule?

Kelsey: Nope, never had any bad levels of TSH and I don’t have any autoimmune issues with the thyroid. Everything has always come back normal. It’s interesting because, again, in the research that I was doing, it kind of sounds like tons of people actually can have thyroid nodules and in fact when they just do autopsies on people who have died for other reasons, they find nodules in 50% of people that were never noticed or never diagnosed or weren’t the cause of death or anything like that. They’re just there. So it does seem like it’s fairly common, but that also makes me question like is that normal because to me it does not seem normal to have growths on your thyroid that may not necessarily be causing problems, but it doesn’t seem normal for that to happen.

Laura: Yeah. I mean the question is just because 50% of people have it, is that actually a good thing?

Kelsey: Right, exactly.

Laura: And I do wonder if there are some things that could potentially contribute to that. Even with the iodine and selenium supplementation, have you thought about other things that could cause that? This may be totally out of left field, but for some reason the fluoride question is coming to mind, like fluoride in water. Is that something you looked into at all?

Kelsey: I haven’t, no. But I would be interested in that, too. New York City definitely I think puts fluoride in their water I would assume. I actually just got one of those Berkey filters, which I love and I think you can add a piece to it, or at least I think the one I have I’m not sure if it comes with the fluoride removal inherently. I think you may have to add another type of filter to it. But I was thinking about that when I got it because we got it as a wedding gift just with the normal filter, but we were thinking about adding that fluoride filter. That’s a good idea.

Laura: I would definitely do that because I know fluoride and bromine is another one of the halide elements that can affect iodine metabolism in the body. I think water filtration is a bigger issue than I’ve even paid attention to recently.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: But if you have the opportunity to do a fluoride filtration or get some kind of filter on your drinking water in general, that might be a good thing to do. I would question if that many people have that kind of issue and it’s not an iodine deficiency because we have iodized salt and iodine fortification of our food supply, so I don’t think iodine deficiency is as common as it used to be.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: It doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen, but it’s definitely less common than it was 100 years ago. I would be questioning what other kind of things are in the environment that can affect that. Like I said, I think water treatment chemicals are definitely something that could contribute to that. But definitely doing either the fluoride filter on the Berkey or I know Chris Masterjohn has a really good review of a system he uses in his Brooklyn apartment. His is from Radiant Life, one that hooks into the faucet system on his kitchen sink. That would be where I would go with what you’re dealing with on top of the other stuff that you’re looking at.

Kelsey: Yeah.

Laura: Definitely vitamin A is another one of those nutrients that affects thyroid function.

Kelsey: But I think that’s a good thought. I’ve been thinking more about water filtration in general too, which is why I wanted that Berkey filter. Which by the way guys, really awesome. If you’re looking for a water filter, it’s one of the less expensive things out there but that does a really, really good job. We just got the travel one actually which is pretty small. For apartment living, it works perfectly. We only have two people so we only fill it once a day. It’s really great. Just a plug for that if anybody is looking for one of those kind of filters too. Make sure you’re getting good drinking water. But good thoughts. Definitely will look into that.

The other thing that comes to my mind too is genetics, which I think must play a part here because my mom when she was younger, I think when she was maybe…actually I’m not going to guess. I don’t know how old she was. But definitely years and years ago at this point in her young adult life she developed a thyroid nodule which at first was just…first of all, it was benign and it wasn’t producing hormones. But then it eventually started to produce some hormones. At that point kind of their answer to everything thyroid related was let’s just radioactive iodine that stuff. She had to drink radioactive iodine which basically kind of killed her thyroid. Now she has to take thyroid hormone all the time which is something I’m hoping to avoid down the road.

Then weirdly enough, in this year prior to my finding out about my own thyroid nodule, both of my sisters at their physical or just at a doctor’s appointment were found to have enlarged thyroids as well. They haven’t gone through this whole process yet of the ultrasound and potential biopsy if they need that. But it’s just really weird to me that that would all kind of happen for us in the same year. It just seems a little bizarre. I do think there probably is some genetics that may come into play with this. But of course the answer in my eyes is okay, yes, there’s some genetics, but now that you have it, you have to do everything in your power to shrink it, get rid of it, do what you can to make sure it doesn’t turn into a problem. To me, that’s everything we just talked about, so making sure there’s all these micronutrients that are really important for thyroid function, taking out all the stuff in the drinking water that could potentially be a problem. I’ll be interested to see in my checkups if it shrinks at all or I’m hoping potently goes away eventually, but we’ll see.

Laura: Yeah, I think you’re definitely approaching it with the right diet and lifestyle stuff. Even if it is genetics, we do know that genetics are often, if not almost always, affected by environmental factors. Certainty there’s things that you may not have 100% control over whether or not you get that kind of thing if it is a strongly genetic condition, but I do think that a lot of times genetics don’t always turn into anything because of the lack of environmental factors.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: It might be that you guys perhaps don’t…I’m trying to think of what genetics could actually be impacted by some of this stuff. I mean there may be some nutrients that you need more of, there may be some toxins that you don’t get rid of as easily. But I think generally if you can minimize the environmental impact, then a lot of times the genetic stuff doesn’t have to be a guaranteed outcome, if that makes sense.

Kelsey: Yeah, totally. This is all the stuff that I tell my clients and everything. It’s always fun of course to be on the other side of it. But, yeah, I mean I think you just have to do whatever you can. Obviously it’s developed at this point, so if it doesn’t go away completely, that wouldn’t be surprising to me. But it just makes sense to me to then once you have something like that to do whatever you can to take those environmental factors out of the equation which in general is going to have a beneficial effect on whatever genes get turned on by bad things in your environment that can end up causing things like this.

Laura: Great. Well, glad to hear you’re doing well and that it was a benign growth. Just let us know if there’s any more information you discover when you’re doing the research on it.

Kelsey: Will do.

Laura: Alright. Well, I think we’re ready to get started with our question for today. But before we do, let’s hear a word from our sponsor:

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Laura: Okay, so today’s question is:

“Hi Laura and Kelsey. After just discovering your podcast last week, I think I’ve listened to a minimum of three podcasts every day. Today I picked up a copy of Chris’ The Paleo Cure book and was surprised to read that avocados are, like nuts and seeds, very high in omega 6. Across most Paleo/Primal sources, nuts and seeds are recommended in moderation, but typically avocados and avocado oils are highly celebrated. I eat one half to two full avocados per day often. What’s the deal with avocados? What is your opinion on avocados? Should we limit them as we do with nuts? Does Chris still stand by what he wrote in the book regarding them?”

Kelsey: Alrighty. As far as whether Chris still stands by what he wrote, I would assume yes since we haven’t heard anything otherwise from him. I think in his book it might be a little bit confusing to kind of know what he means because in the earlier sections of the book he says to eat avocados and avocado oil liberally, but then later it refers to the omega 6 content of them and kind of talks about moderation, particularly with avocado oil itself rather than the whole food avocado. I believe he still stands by that in terms of moderation at least with the oil itself. But what Laura and I can do is just kind of give you our own opinion as well.

In general, my opinion on whole foods that have a lot of or a moderate amounts of omega 6, to be honest, I’m not getting too concerned with them. I definitely have some clients who go over that handful of nuts recommendation per day that you might hear throughout the Paleo world and I don’t really get that worried about it. I think it becomes a bigger issue when you are talking about non whole food sources of omega 6, so things like vegetable oils, any kind of high polyunsaturated processed industrial oils that are really, really popular in the standard American diet. It sounds like obviously you’re probably not eating that kind of stuff, so that’s my big concern when I’m thinking about omega 6.

When I’m thinking about the dangers of omega 6, I’m really not thinking about whole foods because you’d have to eat a ton of them honestly to get into trouble and I think you’d have to be excluding other types of fats to kind of get any negative health effects of eating tons and tons of avocados. I think you’d probably have to be deficient in EPA or DHA. You would definitely get more negative effects from only eating avocado as your source of fat. But I think within the context of a balanced, healthy, whole food diet,  that eating even up to 2 full avocados a day, which is I think we looked it up before and 1 avocado is the equivalent of 2 tablespoons of avocado oil. It ends up not being all that much and as long as you’re eating other types of fats so you’re getting some saturated fats, you’re getting some EPA and DHA from fish intake or fish oil intake, I think honestly that you should be totally fine even with 2 full avocados every day. You just want to make sure that the other parts of your diet are varied, and full, and have lots of different nutrients in them. And I think within that context, you should be fine.

Laura: Yeah, again, if you’re eating 2 full avocados but then not eating any animal fats, or cooking with avocado oil on top of eating avocados, then that could potentially be an issue. And it’s not so much that you’re getting an overdose of linoleic acid, which I do think you have to actually get a lot of that to cause deficiencies in omega 3 fats. That’s one of the big things that people are worried about is the way linoleic acid can cause depletion in the omega 3s and then also be pro-inflammatory.

If you’re eating all fats that are high in linoleic acid, or if you’re eating things like canola oil, soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil, that kind of thing, then yeah, two avocados a day might be overboard. But then in that situation, the bigger bang for your buck would be just get rid of those other oils that you’re using and then use something like ac saturated animal fat, coconut oil, something that’s not a vegetable oil essentially.

There’s a really awesome overview article that Chris Masterjohn has written that we will link to in the show notes, but it’s called Precious Yet Perilous. And the reason it’s called Precious Yet Perilous is because essential fatty acids, including omega 6 fats, are ones that humans do have to get in their diet. If you didn’t get any essential fats in your diet, if you didn’t get any of that omega 6, you would potentially have certain degenerative diseases and lots of symptoms that come from a fatty acid deficiency.

I think the way that they discovered that issues was from people on something called total parenteral nutrition, or TPN, which is essentially a kind of IV form of nutrition that people with severe health issues or surgical issues would be under. If you’re creating an entire nutrient combination from scratch and then injecting it into the blood stream, then there’s a lot higher risk of certain nutrient deficiencies. That’s a lot of times where they discovered the essential nutrients is from using TPN. But that was when they discovered fatty acid deficiency using either super purified refined diets for animals, or through the use of total parenteral nutrition for humans.

It’s very rare for someone to be on an actual food based diet for them to actually have an omega 6 deficiency. That is why it’s called an essential fat and that’s why Chris refers to it as precious fat as part of his argument. But the reason why it can be perilous is because like Kelsey was saying, it is a fat that is in super high doses in the American diet. Omega 6 fats in food form are not going to be giving you the same dose of linoleic acid as the vegetable oils, soybean oil, cottonseed oil, that kind of stuff that’s in a lot of our food. I think that’s one of the big issues that the average American can be experiencing.

Another issue is just the avoidance of saturated fats that our government dietary guidelines have promoted. If you’re avoiding saturated fat, then obviously the bulk of what fat you’ll be eating is going to be either mono or polyunsaturated, and unfortunately most people go for the polyunsaturated.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: But in excess it can defianatly cause inflammation and I actually think the switch to the omega 6 fats as a whole in our culture is one of the things that has significantly contributed the increase in chronic disease and obesity. So yes, avoiding omega 6 oils and vegetable oils in general is a really good idea. But as far as how that applies to avocado intake, I would be really surprised if there was an amount of avocado that somebody could actually eat to get into a linoleic acid excess. In Chris’ article online, he does mention that you have to have a very high dose of linoleic acid to develop the omega 3 deficiencies. Obviously if you’re not eating omega 3 fat or fatty fish, it’s going to be worsened, but I don’t think that’s going to be possible through eating avocado on its own.

There may be some things about nuts that makes them not so good to be eating in high dosage. There’s different things about that that can be a problem. Again, if you’re primary eating nuts and not eating a variety of foods and different types of fat then that is just over intake of one type of fat and not enough of the other ones. But then there are some gut issues that come from nut overconsumption as well.

But I really feel like the question about omega 6 fats in a whole food Paleo-ish, or ancestral type diet where you’re getting a good variety of saturated fat and monounsaturated fat, and omega 3 fats, like Kelsey was mentioning, there’s really very low risk of the omega 6 in avocado being a problem.

Kelsey: Yeah, and especially if you’re on a higher fat diet to begin with, which if you are on any degree of a semi low carb diet which is obviously somewhat popular in this community, you’ve got more fat to play around with too. Having 4 tablespoons, or the equivalent of 4 tablespoons of avocado oil a day ratio wise is not going to be as big of a deal because you will be eating fat from a lot of other sources to make up the amount of fat that you’re eating throughout your diet. Whereas if someone’s on a really low fat diet and much of their fat intake is coming from those 4 tablespoons or the equivalent of 4 tablespoons of avocado oil, yeah, that’s going to get you into a little bit more trouble. I think the context is really important to think about, like what else are you eating?

I would say that goes beyond fat too. You want to make sure that you’re just getting a wide variety of different types of foods in your diet because even from an inflammation perspective, if you’re getting plenty of antioxidants and other things from the wide variety of plant matter that you’re eating, that’s going to help quell inflammation as well. You definitely just want to make sure you’re eating a really well balanced diet.

Like I said, within the context of maybe a higher fat Ancestral or Paleo diet you’re going to just have more fat to play around with. Even if you’re just on like a moderate fat diet because you’re also doing moderate carb and maybe a little bit higher protein, you’re probably going to be eating more than the equivalent of 4 tablespoons of fat a day depending on what your ratios are. You have a lot of other fat to play around with kind of as long as you’re not on really a low fat diet, you should have plenty of other fat to get your other types of fat through.

For some people, 2 avocados might sound like a lot. For me, I certainly don’t eat that amount of avocados, but I definitely don’t think there’s anything wrong with it necessarily, as long as it’s along with the context of a really well balanced diet.

Laura: For me I feel like the reason that I don’t eat that many avocados is the price.

Kelsey: Yeah, right.

Laura: Honestly there’s a lot of good fats out there that you can mix up into your diet to get a nice variety and then save a little money because avocados can be so expensive. I think sometimes people will…I don’t know if this person is new to Paleo or new to the Ancestral diet approach. She might be not used to eating as much fat and maybe is using avocado to increase her fat intake, which is great. The thing that I sometimes think about if I have a client that is eating tons of avocados and that’s their primary source of the fat that they’re eating, my question would be is there a fear about saturated fat that’s there that is leading them to eat that much avocado?

I think one of the issues with conventional nutrition and the kind of atmosphere we have in conventional nutrition right now is that, yes, they’re moving away from recommending a low fat intake and they’re starting to talk about healthy fats, and eating good whole food fats, and all that. But most of those recommendations are still anti saturated fat.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: Even if they’re not outright saying don’t eat saturated fat, it’s very rare to see things like butter, or lard, or coconut oil, or anything like that. I mean coconut oil is a little bit more, but I think because it’s a plant that people are still more comfortable with it.

Kelsey: Right.

Laura: A lot of these animal fats are still not getting recommended as part of the general nutrition recommendations of western society. There may be still a little bit of concern in this person about eating saturated fat and so she might be trying to get most of her fat from things like avocados because it seems safer to her. I know that can be kind of confusing because there’s nothing wrong with getting lots of fat from avocado. But again, if you’re eating only plant fats and excluding animal fats because you’re worried about saturated fat intake, most people that’s not actually a good dietary strategy.

There aren’t many people that benefit from a complete elimination of saturated fat from their diet. Even the people that would benefit from a reduced saturated fat intake are kind of few and far between. I don’t think that a young…or maybe I’m making assumptions, it sounds like this person is potentially younger and female. And so young women, there’s really no reason to be limiting or avoiding animal fats and I would just be cautious that she’s not replacing animal fats with avocado because of that ingrained belief of plant fats being superior.

Kelsey: Yeah. I think what I’ve seen too, especially for people who are newer to the Paleo diet, is that especially if they’re trying to get rid of dairy in their diet, which for most people who are doing like an elimination Paleo diet, strict Paleo, they’re tending to get rid of butter for the most part. When you’re just coming into this world, things like lard or tallow can seem a little scary. I do notice that a lot of people coming into this who are getting rid of dairy, so they’re not using butter to cook at least for the beginning and maybe they don’t have access to ghee or they haven’t found it yet, they’ll tend to rely more on those plant based oils, so like avocado oil, olive oil, coconut oil, that kind thing.

I think it’s worth thinking about and seeking out if you can find some ghee, or if you can find lard, or tallow, duck fat. There’s so many really great types of animal fat to try out. They all kind of different qualities that can make cooking a little more fun too. I love doing potatoes in duck fat. It’s like one of my favorite things ever. They kind of have different flavors and different uses as well. Don’t be afraid to try that stuff out. I know it can seem a little bit scary when you’re first starting this journey in the Paleo world, but that stuff is really great for you and it will balance out your intake of avocado. You might find that once you start incorporating these things that you’re not so much relying on eating 2 avocados a day just to get your fat intake up. There’s a lot of really great online resources for these things now. Gosh, I’m blanking. There’s a fat company, it has like fat in the name.

Laura: Fat Works?

Kelsey: Yes, thank you. Fat works. I’ve tried their stuff and I really, really it. You can order that online, have it shipped right to your house. Thrive Market would be a good place to check because they’ve got a lot of stuff that certainly fits within the Paleo context. Order some stuff online if you don’t have anything nearby. Although if you have a Whole Foods close to you or close-ish, they typically have at least some of this kind of stuff.

Duck fat I find is the most common thing to be able to find just because people do use it as like a flavorful ingredient beyond…like it’s not supposed to necessarily be healthy so people aren’t worried about it even if they’re eating a standard American diet. Whereas lard and tallow, that kind of stuff has faded out of popularity in the last few, I shouldn’t say few years, last couple decades I guess, but now hopefully starting to come back into fashion so to speak.

You might be able to find some of this stuff at Whole Foods if you have one nearby. But otherwise, online is really great place to look. We mentioned Fat Works as an option, Thrive Market as another option, and then just do some Googling. You might be able to find something close by at a store that you wouldn’t necessarily would think would have stuff like this. But sometimes people will surprise you with what they offer. So just Google around you and see if you’ve got anything available.

Laura: Yeah. Local farms sometimes sell fat. I know some of the hog farms around here sell lard and some of the beef or cattle farms sell tallow. You might be able to find that kind of stuff at a farmers market or through a local farmer. This is kind of the stuff that I would say ordering online is a really good option for. That’s just because you get a couple jars of this stuff and it will last forever.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: I shouldn’t say forever. It depends on how much fat you eat. But for me a lot of these jars of fat last a really long time. Just something to keep in mind because if you can’t find it locally, getting it online is really quick and easy way to do it and you just order a couple jars worth and then use that for a long time. You don’t have to worry about restocking it on a weekly basis or something like that.

Kelsey: Right. Yeah, and if you do have a farmers market but you don’t see any fat on display, I’ve found that it is usually worth asking the farmer or whoever is manning the booth if they would be willing to bring that for you. Because at least here in New York City so far that I’ve noticed, they don’t necessarily sell it right there, but if you ask they’ll bring it for you the next week because I guess it’s just not popular enough for them to bring most of the time. Sometimes your butcher, if you have a butcher close by they might give it to you for free because nobody else wants it.

You can also make your own. You can render your own lard or your own tallow. Obviously that’s more time intensive, but if that’s what you want to do, go for it. For me, I’d rather buy it personally and have somebody do that process for me, but there are defianatly people out there who would prefer to do it themselves. That’s definitely an option. You can just Google how to render fat and you should be able to find plenty of articles on how to learn how to do that. It’s pretty easy. I’ve done it before, but like I said, I’d rather save the time personally and just get it all nicely packaged and delivered to me.

Laura: Yeah, I’ve done it a little bit when I’ve made bone broth before just because a lot of the time with the bones I’m using there’s a lot of fat on the top and I don’t want to be drinking all that.

Kelsey: Mm hmm.

Laura: I’ll end up rendering it and then keeping it in a little jar in my fridge and it lasts for a really long time.  It’s kind of like a byproduct of broth creation so there’s not any sort of separate process that needs to be done or separate ingredients or anything like that, so it can be something that is easy to make at home especially if you’re making bone broth already.

Kelsey: Yeah, definitely. I think to kind of summarize the answer to this question, it’s hard to overdo a real food source of fat that is high in omega 6. You’re not going to necessarily overdose on linoleic acid, you’re not going to necessarily cause deficiencies in other types of fatty acids in your body simply by eating a lot of omega 6 in your diet. The big source of omega 6 in a standard American diet is things like vegetable oil. As long as you’ve taken those out, you’ve done by and large the biggest thing you can do to help yourself from overdosing on omega 6.

Then from there, within the context of what types of fat you’re eating, you just want to make sure that you’re varying it so you aren’t just eating avocado oil or avocados, you’re getting other types of fats, you’re getting some saturated fat from either butter, maybe lard, tallow, like we were just talking about, you’re getting some nuts and seeds in your diet, you might be using some olive oil which is high in monounsaturated fat. Just mixing it up as much as you can in terms of your fat intake.

And then within the rest of your diet, just making sure you’re eating plenty of antioxidants and trying different kinds of different plant matter, different types of meats, and just making sure you have a very varied diet is going to go a long way as well. Which for anybody who’s jumping into a Paleo diet right now, obviously it’s important within that diet to get lots of different kinds of healthy foods, so the okay foods on a Paleo diet.

As long as you’re eating plenty of different things within the context of your Paleo diet, you should be fine eating up to 2 full avocados, and honestly you can probably do more than that especially if you’re eating a higher fat diet. As long as you’re eating other types of fat, you should be okay.

Laura: Yeah, I think that’s all really good information. At the end of the day, just try not to over analyze. I mean if you’re having symptoms of fatty acid deficiency or some kind of inflammatory issue, then it might be worth thinking about. But at the end of the day, if you’re eating real food and eating a variety of real foods, you should be fine.

Thanks for joining us everybody and if you have a question that you’d like to submit, please go to TheAncestralRDs.com and use the contact tab to submit your question. We’ll also link to some of those recommended resources and products in the show notes for this episode. Head over there to check it out and check out our sponsors as well. But otherwise, we will look forward to having you here next week.

Kelsey: Alright. Take care, Laura.

Laura: You too, Kelsey.

Disclaimer

This podcast is not designed to and does not provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services to you or to any other individual. Through this site and linkages to other sites, Laura Schoenfeld and Kelsey Marksteiner provide general information for educational purposes only. The information provided in this podcast, or through linkages to other sites, is not a substitute for medical or professional care, and you should not use the information in place of a visit, call consultation or the advice of your physician or other healthcare provider. Laura and Kelsey are not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information, services or product you obtain through this site.

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Laura Schoenfeld and Kelsey Marksteiner, your favorite Ancestral Registered Dietitians, will teach you everything you need to know about ancestral nutrition and lifestyle to optimize your health - without stress or unnecessary restrictions!

Comments

  1. David says

    It seems that since actual PUFA requirement is so low, that anyone who is following a lowish-moderate fat diet will be able to get enough omega 3 and 6 through meat consumption inadvertently. I’m not sure that it is necessary to be focusing on supplementing more fats on top of these. It totally depends on context, I know, and 1/2 an avocado probably won’t hurt anyone. I just don’t think it is necessary if you are eating some meat and maybe a couple of eggs.

    Laura, what are your thoughts on the First Diet? It seems like a great non-dogmatic approach to eating. The one thing they do advise against is additional PUFA’s. Also, do you have any thoughts on Ray Peat’s research? I can see how is followers are taking everything way to far and are some of the most orthorexic people out there. It seems like a lot of the First diet principles are at least somewhat grounded in Peat’s research.

    Thanks!

  2. Tamika W says

    In November 2015 I found out I had a thyroid nodule. Specifically, my lab work stated “a heterogeneous right upper pole solid nodule measuring 1.5 x 0.8 x 0.8 cm with questionable microcalcifications. There are several additional subcentimeter predominantly cystic lesions scattered throughout both thyroid lobes, measuring up to 1.5 x 1.0 x 0.8 cm on the left.” I then had a fine needle aspiration which showed it was benign. I am supposed to go back to my ENT doctor in a year. I haven’t done that yet, but was given no further information about reducing the size of the nodule, or reducing/eliminating microcalcifications.

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