Omega-3s And High Fat Meal Tips
There is a reason for me asking that question.
The latest research shows that a single high fat meal can cause your cells to become resistant to the effects
of insulin for up to 12 hours!
That means that a high fat meal can cause your blood sugar levels to rise – especially if you were already
And, as you might expect, a single high fat meal also causes a significant increase in triglycerides, LDL and
total cholesterol – and a significant decrease in HDL cholesterol over the next 12 hours.
And, if this is repeated several times a day for day after day, it will significantly increase the risk of
In terms of your health the high fat meal is a double whammy. It is only bad news!
Which brings me to a very interesting clinical study published April 16, 2011 showing that omega-3 fatty
acids can reduce the insulin resistance and minimize the changes in blood fats and cholesterol associated
with a high fat meal (G. Derosa et al, European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology, doi:
This was a double blind placebo controlled study in which 167 patients (82 men and 85 women, average age 52 years old) were given either 1,000 mg of omega-3 fatty acids or placebo 3 times per day.
At the end of 6 months the omega-3 fatty acid group had a significant reduction in triglycerides and a
significant increase in HDL levels compared to both baseline and the placebo group.
But that information was not new. Those results have already been reported in dozens of clinical trials with
omega-3 fatty acids.
The interesting part is what came next. They gave each of the subjects a high fat drink.
The drink consisted of 1.5 cups of whipping cream, 2 tablespoons of chocolate-flavored syrup, one tablespoon of granulated sugar and one tablespoon of instant non-fat dry milk.
That’s a whopping 1147 calories of which 68% was fat, almost all saturated fat (20% was from carbohydrate,
mostly sugar, and 12% was from protein)!
They then took blood samples at 0, 3, 6, 9 and 12 hours after the high fat drink and measured triglycerides,
LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, blood glucose and 6 markers of insulin resistance.
Triglycerides, total cholesterol and blood sugar levels were significantly decreased and HDL cholesterol levels were significantly increased in the subjects who had been taking 3 grams/day of omega-3 fatty acids for 6 months, but not in the placebo group.
And 4 out of the 6 markers of insulin resistance were significantly improved in the subjects who had been
taking 3 grams/day of omega-3 fatty acids for 6 months, but not in the placebo group.
What’s the bottom line?
Let’s start with what I am not recommending.
I’m not recommending that you take omega-3 fatty acids just so you can continue to eat all your favorite fatty foods. While omega-3 fatty acids do appear to normalize blood lipid levels and reduce the insulin resistance associated with a high fat meal, they cannot reverse all of the bad effects of a high fat diet.
However, everyone eats a bit too much fat sometimes, like on special holidays. In North Carolina we often
celebrate special holidays with “pig-pickings”. Yep, it’s pretty much just like it sounds.
So this study just gives us just one more of many reasons to supplement with omega-3 fatty acids on
a regular basis.
However, I should caution that it is not clear that 3,000 grams of omega-3 fatty acids are required to
protect against the insulin resistance bad fats in the bloodstream caused by a high fat meal.
This was a first study, and like many first studies, a very high dose was used to be sure that an effect could
Future studies will be needed to determine whether a lower dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids will exert
the same beneficial effects.
To Your Health!
Dr. Stephen G Chaney
Dr. Stephen Chaney
Shaklee Master Coordinator
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not
intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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