Supermarkets are now carrying a range of products that tout their added omega-3 content as a health benefit. Everything from mayonnaise to cereal to eggs can be found with omega-3 added in. But are these products really better for your health?
Probably not, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).
While the omega-3s DHA and EPA have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and vision problems, the type of omega-3 typically added to food products is ALA -- and ALA may not give you the same health benefits.
CSPI is calling on the FDA to require labels with omega-3 claims to describe the type and amount of omega-3, however until then consumers will need to be wary. CSPI pointed to the following misleading food labels:
- Breyers Smart! Yogurt: Each serving contains just 32 mg of DHA, which is the amount in just three-quarters of a teaspoon of salmon.
- Kashi Go Lean Crunch! Honey Almond Flax: 500 mg of omega-3 are advertised, but it’s not clear whether it’s ALA, DHA, or EPA.
- Land O Lakes Omega-3 All-Natural Eggs: The labels says each serving contains 350 mg of omega-3, but independent lab tests revealed that less than half of it is DHA and EPA.
- Silk Soymilk Plus Omega-3 DHA: The label says that each cup of milk has 400 mg of omega-3, however each servings contains just 32 mg of DHA.
CSPI recommends getting omega-3 from fish oil, algal oil, or by eating fatty fish such as salmon. A six-ounce serving of Atlantic salmon contains over 3,000 mg of DHA and EPA -- more than 100 times the amount found in DHA-fortified yogurt, milk, or soy milk.
Center for Science in the Public Interest October 1, 2007