Last Updated Nov 27 2017 © OFAN - Omega Fats Action Network. 

Mentions of Omega-3 in USDA Dietary Guidelines 2015 report

March 1, 2016



We took the initiative to find Mentions of Omega-3s in the Dietary Guidelines report for 2015. Search results only turned up "Omega3" 7 times, and only 2 of those siting accompanied some actual science review of health impacts of fat-intake. We'll publish a detailed analysis as soon as we can! 


You Can start your own research projects with the 500+ page document!! PDF: Click "Crl + F" which will open up a search box for keywords you want.

The very limited science review is at least something to go on. It's good news that it is reviewed in context of depression and cognitive wellness, and Omega-3 are referred to as an ESSENTIAL Fat. Initial reviews show some odd insight into micro-nurtient quality of farmed vs wild caught fish. Our ethos is to #LetFishLive for many reasons, so disappointed to see no mention of Hempseed and Chia and scant talk of flax.


PAGE 270

1308 DIETARY PATTERNS AND NEUROLOGICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL 1309 ILLNESSES 1310 Existing Evidence around Foods and Nutrients and Neurological and 1311 Psychological Illnesses 1312 Neuropsychological development and function is increasingly recognized as a high national 1313 priority for health promotion and chronic disease prevention. Two major components of 1314 neuropsychological function are cognition, the ability to reason, and mood, balanced and 1315 appropriate to enable optimal cognition. 1316 1317 Nutrition for optimal neurodevelopment in very young children has long been a subject of 1318 research. The 2010 DGAC concluded that moderate evidence supported a positive relationship 1319 between maternal dietary intakes of n-3 from seafood and improved cognitive ability in infants. 151 1320 The rising numbers of U.S. older adults and the potential human and financial cost of 1321 age-related cognitive impairments, such as Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, also have helped drive national interest in chronic mental disease. 152, 153 1322 Separately, depression affected 8 1323 percent of Americans for at least two weeks annually from 2007-2010, and of these, 80 percent report functional impairment. 154 1324 Many preclinical and human studies have established 1325 relationships between traditional nutrients (e.g., omega-3 fatty acids) and central nervous system 1326 composition and function. Studies appearing in the last few years reflect the increasing research 1327 interest in the links between diet and neurological health. 1328 1329 The hypothesis that nutrition can reduce and/or play a role in the treatment of these mental 1330 diseases and their related burdens has been studied in relation to several nutrients and foods, including the B vitamins, vitamin E, and selenium. 155, 156 1331 The omega-3 fatty acids Part D. Chapter 2: Dietary Patterns, Foods and Nutrients, and Health Outcomes Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee 36 1332 eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are among the most studied 1333 nutrients for neural health, in part because DHA is a major component of the brain, specifically 1334 gray matter and its synapses, and the specialized light detecting cells of the retina. DHA, in 1335 particular, supports the amplitude and signaling speed of neural response. EPA has emerged as a 1336 nutrient with antidepressive properties and continued studies to define its role in prevention and 1337 therapy are underway. Sufficiently strong medical evidence has been obtained for EPA and DHA 1338 such that supplements are now considered as complementary therapy for major depressive disorder by the American Psychiatric Association157 1339 and more recent data from a meta-analysis has found them effective. 158 1340 Before 2010, the number of published dietary pattern studies was 1341 small. However, a more substantial literature on dietary patterns and neuropsychological health 1342 has been published since 2010. The DGAC was therefore able to consider prevention of adult 1343 neuropsychological ill health for the first time. 1344 1345 Question 6: What is the relationship between dietary patterns and risk of 1346 neurological and psychological illnesses? 1347 Source of evidence: NEL systematic review 1348 1349 Conclusion 1350 Limited evidence suggests that a dietary pattern containing an array of vegetables, fruits, nuts, 1351 legumes and seafood consumed during adulthood is associated with lower risk of age-related 1352 cognitive impairment, dementia, and/or Alzheimer’s disease. Although the number of studies 1353 available on dietary patterns and neurodegenerative disease risk is expanding, this body of 1354 evidence, which is made up of high-quality observational studies, has appeared only in recent 1355 years and is rapidly developing. It employs a wide range of methodology in study design, 1356 definition and measurement ascertainment of cognitive outcomes, and dietary pattern 1357 assessment. DGAC Grade: Limited 1358 1359 Limited evidence suggests that dietary patterns emphasizing seafood, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and 1360 legumes are associated with lower risk of depression in men and non-perinatal women. However, 1361 the body of evidence is primarily composed of observational studies and employs a range of 1362 methodology in study design, definition, and measurement of dietary patterns and ascertainment 1363 of depression/depressive signs and symptoms. Studies on dietary patterns in other populations, 1364 such as women in the post-partum period, children and adolescents, as well as those in various 1365 ethnic and cultural groups, are too limited to draw conclusions. DGAC Grade: Adults – 1366 Limited; Children, adolescents, and women in the post-partum period – Grade not 1367 assignable 1368 Part D. Chapter 2: Dietary Patterns, Foods and Nutrients, and Health Outcomes Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee 37 1369 Implications 1370 Dietary patterns emphasizing vegetables, fruits, seafood, legumes and nuts similar to those that 1371 achieve chronic disease risk reduction are consistent with maintaining neurocognitive health, 1372 including cognitive ability in healthy aging, and balanced mood. 1373 1374 Review of the Evidence 1375 Dietary Patterns and Cognitive Impairment, Dementia, and Alzheimer’s Disease 1376 This systematic review includes 30 articles (two articles analyzed data taken from RCTs and 28 1377 articles used data from prospective cohort studies) published since 1980 (with all but two 1378 published since 2008) that examined the relationship between dietary patterns and age-related cognitive impairment, dementia, and/or Alzheimer’s disease.159-188 1379 Twenty of the articles 1380 included in this review assessed the relationship between dietary patterns and cognitive 1381 impairment, 10 articles examined cognitive impairment or dementia, and eight articles looked at 1382 Alzheimer’s disease. 1383 1384 The articles used several different methods to assess dietary patterns. Two articles analyzed data 1385 from RCTs that tested or described dietary patterns, 23 articles used indices/scores to assess 1386 dietary patterns quality or adherence, three articles used data-driven methods, and three used 1387 reduced rank regression. Most (18 of 28) articles found an association between dietary patterns 1388 and age-related cognitive impairment, dementia, and/or Alzheimer’s disease. Despite some 1389 heterogeneity in this body of evidence, some common elements of dietary patterns were 1390 associated with measures of cognitive impairment, dementia, and/or Alzheimer’s disease: 1391 1392  Patterns higher in vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, and seafood were generally associated 1393 with reduced risk of age-related cognitive impairment, dementia, and/or Alzheimer’s 1394 disease. 1395  Patterns higher in red and/or processed meats were generally associated with greater age- 1396 related cognitive impairment. Relatively few studies reported on refined sugar and added 1397 salt, and patterns including these nutrients tended to report greater cognitive impairment. 1398 Although some studies included participants from a range of race/ethnic and socioeconomic 1399 groups, the results are most applicable to the general healthy aging population. In addition, 1400 dietary patterns were derived using dietary intake measured at baseline only, and therefore, may 1401 not reflect patterns consumed throughout relevant periods of life before enrollment in the study, 1402 or changes in intake that may have occurred over the duration of the study. Similarly, several 1403 studies measured cognitive function only at a single time point (follow-up), and therefore, could 1404 not assess change in cognitive function over time. Finally, though these studies controlled for a 1405 number of confounders, not all apparently relevant potential confounders were adjusted for (e.g., 1406 existing or family history of cognitive decline, dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease; baseline health Part D. Chapter 2: Dietary Patterns, Foods and Nutrients, and Health Outcomes Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee 38 1407 status; changes in dietary intake over time) and, as with all association studies, residual 1408 confounding is possible. 1409 1410 Dietary Patterns and Depression 1411 This systematic review includes nineteen articles (17 from prospective cohort studies, and 2 1412 using data from RCTs) published since 1980 (all of which were published since 2008) that assessed the relationship between dietary patterns and depression.175, 182, 189-205 1413 1414 1415 The articles used several different methods to assess dietary patterns. Two studies tested the 1416 effects of dietary patterns as part of an RCT, six articles used indices/scores to assess dietary 1417 patterns, 10 articles used data-driven methods, and one used reduced rank regression. Despite 1418 methodological and outcome heterogeneity in this body of evidence, some protective dietary 1419 patterns emerged: 1420 1421  Patterns emphasizing seafood, vegetables, fruits, and nuts, were generally associated with 1422 reduced risk of depression. 1423  Patterns emphasizing red and processed meats and refined sugar were generally 1424 associated with increased risk of depression. 1425 This body of evidence did have several limitations. There was considerable variability in how the 1426 outcome of depression was assessed, with some studies using various depression scales, some 1427 using physician diagnosis/hospital discharge records, and others using proxies such as use of 1428 depression medication. Although most studies make extensive efforts to include participants 1429 across a wide range of race/ethnic groups and across the socio-economic continuum, there still 1430 may be some subgroups for which the association between dietary patterns and depression risk 1431 cannot be reliably assessed and therefore conclusions cannot be drawn for them. Research is 1432 needed to determine whether dietary patterns are associated with risk of depression in 1433 particularly vulnerable subgroups, specifically children, adolescents, young adults, and women 1434 during the post-partum period. Additional limitations within this body of evidence make it 1435 difficult to draw stronger conclusions, including assessment of dietary patterns and depression 1436 outcomes at a single point in time, potential for residual confounding despite adjustment for a 1437 number of factors, and few studies conducted in U.S.-based populations. 1438 1439 For additional details on this body of evidence, visit:


Page 394 Question 3. What are the comparative contaminant levels of current farm-raised 660 versus wild caught seafood? 661 Source of evidence: Report of the Joint United Nations Food and Agriculture 662 Organization/World Health Organization Expert Consultation on the Risks and Benefits of Fish Consumption. Rome, 25–29 January 2010. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Report No. 978. 27 663 664 665 Conclusion 666 The DGAC concurs with the Consultancy that, for the majority of commercial wild and farmed 667 species, neither the risks of mercury nor organic pollutants outweigh the health benefits of 668 seafood consumption, such as decreased cardiovascular disease risk and improved infant 669 neurodevelopment. However, any assessment evaluates evidence within a time frame and 670 contaminant composition can change rapidly based on the contamination conditions at the 671 location of wild catch and altered production practices for farmed seafood. DGAC Grade: 672 Moderate 673 674 Implications 675 Based on risk/benefit comparisons, either farmed or wild-caught seafood are appropriate choices 676 to consume to meet current Dietary Guidelines for Americans for increased seafood 677 consumption. The DGAC supports the current FDA and EPA recommendations that women who 678 are pregnant (or those who may become pregnant) and breastfeeding should not eat certain types 679 of seafood—tilefish, shark, swordfish, and king mackerel—because of their high methyl mercury 680 contents. Attention should be paid to local seafood advisories when eating seafood caught from 681 local rivers, streams, and lakes. 682 683 Based on the most current evidence on mercury levels in albacore tuna provided in the Report of 684 the Joint United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization Expert Consultation on the Risks and Benefits of Fish Consumption, 2010,27 685 the DGAC recommends that the EPA and FDA re-evaluate their current recommendations61 686 for women who are pregnant 687 (or for women who may become pregnant) or breastfeeding to limit white albacore tuna to not 688 more than 6 ounces a week. 689 690 Review of the Evidence 691 The Report of the FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on the Risks and Benefits of Fish Consumption27 692 was used to address this question. This report was chosen as the most current and 693 comprehensive source on contaminants in wild-caught and farm-raised seafood, and the DGAC 694 focused on data that addressed the specific comparison between the two. The sections of the 695 report that were used to address the question were “Data on the composition of fish” and “Risk- 696 benefit comparisons.” The consultancy took a net effects approach, balancing benefits of Part D. Chapter 5: Food Sustainability and Safety Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee 20 697 seafood, especially benefits associated with EPA and DHA, against the adverse effects of 698 mercury and persistent organic pollutants (POPs), including polychlorinated biphenyls, 699 polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins, and polychlorinated dibenzofurans, collectively referred to as 700 dioxins. The Expert Consultancy compiled EPA and DHA, mercury, and dioxins compositional 701 data from national databases of the United States, France, Norway, and Japan, as well as an 702 international database. Together, these provided information on total fat, EPA and DHA, total 703 mercury, and dioxins for a large number of seafood species, including three farmed and wild 704 species (salmon, rainbow trout, and halibut). Two specific outcomes were considered for 705 risk/benefit: 1) prenatal exposure and offspring neurodevelopment, and 2) mortality from 706 cardiovascular diseases and cancer. 707 708 Overall, for the species examined, levels of mercury and dioxins were in the same range for 709 farmed and wild seafood. Related to risk/benefit, at the same level of mercury content (lowest [≤ 0.1 µg/g] and 2nd 710 lowest [0.1 - 0.5 µg/g] levels), farmed seafood had the same or higher levels of EPA and DHA as wild-caught. At the same level of dioxin content (2nd 711 lowest [0.5 – 4 pg toxic 712 equivalents (TEQ)/g] level), farmed seafood had the same or higher levels of EPA and DHA as 713 wild-caught. Only wild-caught Pacific salmon had the lowest level of dioxins (<0.5 pg TEQ/g). 714 Overall, the quantitative risk/benefit analysis was not different for farmed compared to wild- 715 caught seafood. For both, using the central estimate for benefits of DHA and for harm from 716 mercury, the neurodevelopmental risks of not eating seafood exceeded the risks of eating 717 seafood. Similarly, for coronary heart disease (CHD) in adults, there were CHD mortality 718 benefits from eating seafood and CHD risks from not eating seafood, except for seafood in the 719 highest dioxin category and lowest EPA and DHA category, which did not include any of the 720 farm-raised species considered. 721 722 Albacore tuna, produced only from wild marine fisheries, is a special case of a popular fish highlighted by the 2004 FDA and EPA advisory.61, 62 723 For all levels of intake including more 724 than double the 12 ounces per week recommendation, all evidence was in favor of net benefits 725 for infant development and CHD risk reduction. 726 727 Limitations in the evidence included the small number of farmed and wild seafood species 728 comparisons considered by the Expert Consultancy, and the possibility of rapid change that may 729 occur in the concentration of contaminants locally. In addition, seafood contaminants are closely 730 linked to levels of contaminants in feed. 731 732 For additional details on this body of evidence, visit: Report of the Joint Food and Agriculture 733 Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) Expert 734 Consultation on the Risks and Benefits of Fish Consumption, 2011. Available at 735


And in the Glossery: Page 538

Fats—One of the three classes of macronutrients. (See Solid Fats and Oils) 132 • Monounsaturated Fatty Acids—Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) have one 133 double bond. Plant sources that are rich in MUFAs include nuts and vegetable oils that 134 are liquid at room temperature (e.g., canola oil, olive oil, high oleic safflower and 135 sunflower oils). 136 • Polyunsaturated fatty acids—Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have two or more 137 double bonds and may be of two types, based on the position of the first double bond. 138 o n-6 PUFAs—Linoleic acid, one of the n-6 fatty acids, is required because it cannot be 139 synthesized by humans and, therefore, is considered essential in the diet. Primary 140 sources are nuts and liquid vegetable oils, including soybean oil, corn oil, and 141 safflower oil. Also called omega-6 fatty acids. 142 o n-3 PUFAs—Alpha-linolenic acid is an n-3 fatty acid that is required because it 143 cannot be synthesized by humans and, therefore, is considered essential in the diet. 144 Primary sources include soybean oil, canola oil, walnuts, and flaxseed. 145 Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are very long chain 146 n-3 fatty acids that are contained in fish and shellfish. Also called omega-3 fatty 147 acids. 148 • Saturated fatty acids—Saturated fatty acids have no double bonds. Major sources 149 include animal products such as meat and dairy products, and tropical oils such as 150 coconut or palm oils. In general, fats high in saturated fatty acids are solid at room 151 temperature. 152 • trans fatty acids—Trans fatty acids are unsaturated fatty acids that contain one or more 153 isolated (i.e., nonconjugated) double bonds in a trans configuration. Sources of trans 154 fatty acids include partially-hydrogenated vegetable oils that have been used to make 155 traditional shortening and some commercially prepared baked goods, snack foods, fried 156 foods, and traditional stick margarine. Trans fatty acids also are present in foods that 157 come from ruminant animals (e.g., cattle and sheep) and are called “natural” or rTFA. 158 Such foods include dairy products, beef, and lamb.

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