A Thumbs Down Book Review
The Omega Plan
By Artemis P. Simopoulos, MD and Jo Robinson
Review by Sally Fallon
Dr. Simopoulos has done much to bring the merits of omega-3 fatty acids to the attention of the public, and her book rightly points out that the omega-3’s can protect us against cancer and heart disease. But she is a pediatrician, not a lipid chemist, and makes many mistakes.
Toeing the politically correct line, she blames saturated fats for contributing to heart disease because they “raise cholesterol.” What she doesn’t mention is that it is the saturated fats in the diet that help the body put those omega-3’s in the tissues, where they belong.
The healthy Greek diet of Dr. Simopoulos’ ancestors supplied omega-3’s in fish, eggs and green vegetables but was also rich in saturated fatty acids from sausage, lamb (which is fattier and contains more saturated fat than beef) and goat milk products (which are fattier and contain more saturated fat than cow’s milk products).
Recipes in the book feature omega-3 rich foods like walnuts, whole grains and flax meal, but no precautions are given for neutralizing zinc-blocking phytic acid—and without zinc, the omega-3’s cannot be converted to prostaglandins.
The luscious extra virgin olive oil of the Mediterranean supplies protective antioxidants and vanadium, so why do so many of the book’s recipes call for canola oil instead? Just because canola oil contains oleic acid and omega-3 fatty acids does not mean that this highly processed, genetically manipulated product will confer the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet.