The Hacking of the American Mind hooks the wrong Omega-3 source.
Happy New Year to Everyone!
I'm reading the book, The Hacking of the American Mind. Very interesting and really like it. However, the nutrition could be better, especially when it comes to Omega-3 [O-3] oil intake. Dr. Robert H. Lustig correctly states the O-3 helps in cognition and that we need to eat it every day in our foods. But, he pushes eating fish even though he writes that fish don't make it nor are naturally composed of it. They eat it in plants, specifically microalgae. The only other source of O-3 he mentions is "walnuts might also be beneficial."
Dear Dr. Lustig, walnuts, chia seeds and flaxmeal are GREAT sources of O-3's. Secondary choices are green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, collard greens and kale, and other nuts such as pistachios. [Check out LaDiva's Breakfast Bars]
Something I have read many times and see between the lines here is that researchers have a bias of getting O-3's from plant sources. The oft touted line is that humans do not convert O-3's from plant sources in high enough volumes. One aspect missed is that the SAD [Standard American Diet] is so inflammatory that the O-3 needs to maintain optimal health for the average American are far above what is needed for humans eating other less inflammatory diets. Research recently having been done could be setting levels of O-3 intake that are incredibly off. This point came up at another medical conference [P-POD, 2015]. The researcher wondered if recommended Omega-3 levels were actually too high because the people being studied are not healthy at the outset. Here's an analogy - If we based the recommended amount of fruit intake on glucose reactions in the blood of Type 2 diabetics, it would do a disservice to the rest of the population. None of us would be eating pineapple.
Dr. Lustig extols the virtues of the Mediterranean Diet. I was at the conference [ICVN, 2013] where the latest Harvard paper on this was first presented. I thought a few researchers were going to rush the stage because it was so full of holes. Dr. Dean Ornish had a post within 48 hours rebutting this flawed paper.
So, I'm making 2 points - 1) There are plenty of other sources of O-3's available in your local Piggly Wiggly, 2) We base these standards on a diet which has been shown to CAUSE many chronic diseases. FYI - Greece has the highest Type 2 Diabetes rate in Europe.
As previously stated, this book is a great read and full of information to help many, many people. But, Dr. Lustig's expertise is not in nutrition. In looking at who endorses the book, there isn't one registered dietitian - the folks who spend years understanding how food works in the human body.