I’ve got a bit of time to kill before I leave on holiday and thought I might share this with you. In the paper a couple of days ago I was reading about how researchers have questioned the efficacy of omega-3 fats on health. It’s long been considered that a good intake of omega-3’s (primarily found in oily fish like tuna and mackerel) have positive effects on the incidence of heart disease and cancer, among other things.
Naturally, as human nature dictates, once this claim was made omega-3’s started appearing in everything from supplement capsules to white bread and claims about the remarkable health of eskimoes, with a diet heavy on fish, were bandied about willy nilly. The results from these latest research studies, however, could find no strong evidence that omega-3’s had any effect on total deaths, heart disease, cancer and strokes. They also cited that commercial fishing has depleted the world’s fish stocks by around 90% since 1950.
Woah, time to stop eating the fish, right? Maybe not. The same article mentions in passing that in the same week a study found that omega-3’s helped to stop the spread of prostate cancer to other parts of the body.
So, we should eat fish? What about the rapidly depleting stocks?
Worry not, for in the same paper, just two days later, a story headlined “Here’s a pig to save your bacon” appeared. Can you guess the connection?
Yep, you got it. Scientists at Harvard Medical School, the University of Missouri and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre have created a cloned pig that makes it’s own omega-3 fatty acids. Bacon that’s good for your heart? What about the results of the studies cited just days previously? At least the pork chops might be good to prevent the spread of prostate cancer to other parts of the body. Although, according to the article, no one knows whether omega-3’s consumed from pork would have the same effect as those consumed from fish. And presumably, this is the same effect that is being continuously promoted and denied, even within articles of the same newspaper just days apart. Ain’t science fun?
The Harvard people are also developing cows with omega-3’s in their milk and chickens with the fatty acids in their eggs. Even though the evidence of it’s necessity is still being debated. The truth is, no one knows anything for sure, but we’re all a bit too proud to admit to that.
I dream of the day when there’s just one giant animal that contains everything good, genetically modified to be the single food type we need. It could cultivate fruit, vegetables and grain within it’s omega-3 laden lean muscle tissue and have balanced carbohydrates and protein. We could get rid of all the other farm animals and vegie patches and just have fields of these giant superfood beasts wandering happily around. And they would even taste good.
Or we could stop wasting all this time and money and just continue eating a sensible balanced diet that we all know works perfectly well. But, I suppose, where’s the fun in that?