… The final product is a fine-grained beige substance that looks like flour but is, in fact, a triumph of technology: smelly fish oil, transformed by industry into a tasteless, odorless powder. It will be used to spike everything from infant formula in China to the Wonder Bread and Tropicana orange juice on our supermarket shelves.
Ocean Nutrition is not manufacturing some Soylent Green for the new millennium.
After seven years and $50 million of research, the company’s 45 technicians and 14 Ph.D.s have found a high-tech way of getting a crucial set of nutrients back into our bodies — compounds that, thanks to the industrialization of agriculture over the past half century, have been thoroughly stripped from our food supply without, until recently, it being realized by anyone.
Now, an ever-growing body of research is showing that the epidemic of diseases associated with the Western diet — cancer, heart disease, depression, and much more — might be curtailed simply by restoring something we never should have removed from our diets in the first place: omega-3 fatty acids.
The great mistake
We are, it is often — and accurately — said, what we eat. Recent diet trends, from Atkins to South Beach, have put the emphasis on upping our intake of protein or cutting out carbohydrates. Meanwhile, cholesterol, saturated fats, and trans fats have been stigmatized, leading to the belief that waging a total war on fat is the best way to get a slimmer waistline and a longer life. But fats are as crucial to a healthy body as protein is; they end up holstered into the heart, protecting organs, and building the cells of the brain, an organ that is itself 60 percent fat. The key to good health lies not in ruthlessly striking fat from our diets, but in eating the best possible fats for our bodies. And a growing chorus of nutritionists agrees that those fats are omega-3s. …