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Stones of Contention
The Art of Teaching Music
Peace and Freedom
The Marion Experiment
Addiction Is a Choice
God and the Editor
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Lincoln and McClellan at War
Shocking The Conscience
Survival Pending Revolution
Terrorism for Self-Glorification
A Sense of Power

The Queen of FatsThe Queen of Fats

Why Omega-3s Were Removed from the Western Diet and What We Can Do to Replace Them

Susan Allport

California Studies in Food and Culture, 15

Narrated by Tavia Gilbert

Available from Audible

Book published by University of California Press

A nutritional whodunit that takes readers from Greenland to Africa to Israel, The Queen of Fats gives a fascinating account of how we have become deficient in a nutrient that is essential for good health: the fatty acids known as omega-3s. Writing with intelligence and passion, Susan Allport tells the story of these vital fats, which are abundant in greens and fish, among other foods. She describes how scientists came to understand the role of omega-3s in our diet, why commercial processing has removed them from the food we eat, and what the tremendous consequences have been for our health. In many Western countries, epidemics of inflammatory diseases and metabolic disorders have been traced to omega-3 deficiencies. The Queen of Fats provides information for every consumer who wants to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and obesity and to improve brain function and overall health. This important and compelling investigation into the discovery, science, and politics of omega-3s will transform our thinking about what we should be eating.

Includes steps you can take to add omega-3s to your diet

Shows why eating fish is not the only way, or even the best way, to increase omega-3s.

Provides a new way to understand the complex advice about the role and importance of fats in the body

Explains how and why the food industry has created a deadly imbalance of fats in our foods

Shows how omega-3s can be reintroduced to our diet through food enrichment and changes in the feeding of livestock

Susan Allport is author of The Primal Feast: Food, Sex, Foraging, and Love and A Natural History of Parenting: Parental Care in the Animal World and Ours, among other books. She lectures widely on issues related to food and health.


“A decidedly proactive voice for healthy balance and moderation in fat consumption.”

Gastronomica: Journal of Food & Culture

“A brief and absorbing guide to the past few decades of research into dietary fats.”

Atlantic Monthly

“An interesting and comprehensive account of the history of omega-3 fatty acids. It not only provides a clearly reasoned case for the benefits of having more omega-3 fatty acids in the diet, but also offers practical advice about how to add these fats to our diet.”


“A wonderful explanation of the wide world of fats that is a must-read for discerning (and healthy) eaters.”

—Mehmet C. Oz, author of You: An Owner's Manual

“Susan Allport's account of the discovery of omega-3 fatty acids combines colorful science, intriguing personalities, and a well-digested biochemistry into a convincing recipe for a healthier diet. The Queen of Fats is a fascinating new detective story—with a solution that matters!”

—Richard Wrangham, author of Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence

The Queens of Fats is a fascinating nutritional detective story delivering a big surprise: how one of the most important changes to the diet wrought by industrialization of food went unnoticed. But if Allport is right, the disappearance of omega-3s from the Western diet is the key to understanding why that diet is making us so sick.”

—Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma

“Allport provides a fascinating 'whodunit' about the discovery of how fats work, what wonders omega-3s could perform in thwarting chronic disease, and a timely warning to the world about the imbalance of essential fats in the food supply. I reveled in the twists and turns of nutrition history as it unfolds and uncovers the ways food processing carries hefty health risks, as well as benefits.”

—Sharron Dalton, author of Our Overweight Children: What Parents, Schools, and Communities Can Do to Control the Fatness Epidemic


1. What's for Dinner?

2. A Trip to Greenland

3. How the Omegas Got Their Name

4. Monsieur Cholesterol

5. Fishy Fats

6. Tree Lard and Cow Oil

7. The Chemist in the Kitchen

8. Out of Africa ...

9.... and into the Membrane

10. Where Have All the Omega-3s Gone?

11. The Speed of Life

12. Putting Omega-3s Back into Your Food Supply

13. The Proof Is in the Pudding

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University Press Audiobooks
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University Press Audiobooks