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How and why our corn & soy free chicken has a perfect 1:1 omega 6/3 ratio!

written by

Marie Reedell

posted on

June 7, 2024

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Our pastured corn & soy free chicken is delicious and as natural as can be. It's grown regeneratively on top notch soil. It's free of chemicals, vaccines, drugs, and GMOs. It's low PUFA. It's air chilled (washed in water and only water). The chickens drink well water (with no added fluoride or stuff like that). 

People choose our chicken for many different reasons, but it seems that the #1 reason is that it's corn & soy free. I had always been on the fence about this. I mean, how much does the feed matter? Does the soil matter more when it comes to nourishing your body?

A few weeks ago, my question was answered. A local farmer told me that Miller's chicken was mentioned in episode 91 of the Regenerative Agriculture Podcast called "You Are What You Eat: Examining Beef and Plants". If you give it a listen, around minute 38:00, Dr. Stephan van Vliet talks about our chicken... and now I know that feed ingredients matter A LOT!

Dr. van Vliet tested our chicken, and it has a perfect 1:1 omega 6/3 ratio. 

Wow!!! He didn't even know that was possible with chicken. Conventional CAFO chicken, living indoors and fed GMO corn and soy, has a 30:1 ratio. Most pastured chicken has a 7:1 ratio. But, ours has the ideal 1:1 ratio. Wow again!!!

The omega 3/6 ratio matters for your health.

For some reference, the conventional American diet typically provides a 20:1 omega 6/3 ratio overall. But, humans should eat a 1:1 - 4:1 ratio for optimal health.

Before I go any farther, it's important to note that both omega 3s and omega 6s are polyunsaturated fats, AKA PUFAs. Yes, a low PUFA diet is trendy right now. And overconsumption of PUFAs (especially highly processed ones) can have a detrimental affect on your health. However, your body needs a certain amount of certain kinds of PUFAs for optimal health, and those include omega 3s and 6s.

The human body is capable of producing all the fatty acids it needs... except for two: linoleic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid) and alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid). You need to get those through food, and they're super important. This is why they're called "essential fatty acids". 

Omega 3s and 6s make up parts of cell membranes and are precursors to many other substances in the body. They're involved in regulating blood pressure and inflammatory responses (among many other things). They work hand in hand. 

But, as with anything in nature, balance is imperative. When you have too much omega-6 fatty acids, it can lead to awful health outcomes. The first that's likely to appear is inflammation, which can then lead to a host of other issues. A too high omega 6/3 ratio can result in heart disease, diabetes, obesity, arthritis, asthma, depression, fatigue... the list goes on and on.

I mean, given the standard 20:1 omega 6/3 ratio for the average American, it's no wonder Americans are sadly in such poor health. 

Too much omega-6 is mainly coming from seeds and seed oils.

Modern America just loves its seeds. I mean, the government literally pays us to eat them by subsidizing GMO corn and soy. We feed it to animals to make cheap meat and eggs. We make alt milk with it. We process it like heck to make strangely affordable processed food that lasts forever and always has the same consistency.

I've heard it said that, if you could simply eliminate seed oils from your diet, you'd be good. But, now that I've heard this podcast, I fear that's not enough. You need to eliminate it from the diets of the animals your food comes from, too.

What's in an animal's feed affects the omega 3/6 ratio.

The higher the omega 6/3 ratio in the feed, the higher the omega 6/3 ratio in the meat, eggs, and milk. As they say, "You are what you eat."

We can see this clearly in the general stats out there. Conventional chicken is around 30:1, eggs are 20:1, milk is 6:1, and grain fed beef is 8:1. But, their more natural pasture raised counterparts have much better ratios. Pastured chicken is around 7:1, eggs are 1:1, grass-fed milk is 1:1, and grass-fed beef is 1:1-2:1. 

Why is this? Most animals in the US (even organic or pasture raised ones) are predominantly fed corn and soy. Look at the omega 6/3 ratios:

  • Corn ≈ 50:1
  • Soy ≈ 7:1

It seems that it's really corn that's the culprit here. What's interesting about that is that, from a farmer's perspective, it's much easier to remove soy from the feed than corn.

In comparison, look at the omega 6/3 ratios in our chicken feed:

  • Wheat ≈ 9:1
  • Peas ≈ 2:1
  • Barley ≈ 20:1 (but 4:55 when sprouted)
  • Fishmeal (from Sardines) ≈ 1:2
  • Flax seed ≈ 1:4
  • Kelp ≈ 1:1

It seems to me that the blend on a whole must have around a 1:1 ratio (with lots of help from fishmeal and flax). And this is why our pastured corn & soy free chicken has an outstanding 1:1 omega 6/3 ratio. I mean, it's honestly perfection. 

What do you look for when shopping for chicken? Is the omega 6/3 ratio something you'll consider (especially after reading this)?

I'd love to hear from you. Comment below or contact us.

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    References

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