Indian Asians living in the UK have a 50% higher CHD mortality rate compared with the indigenous Caucasian population, which cannot be attributed to traditional risk factors. Instead, features of the metabolic syndrome, including raised plasma triacylglycerol, reduced HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C) and an increased proportion of small dense LDL particles, together with insulin resistance and central obesity, are prevalent among this population. The present review examines evidence to support the hypothesis that an imbalance in dietary PUFA intake, specifically a higher intake of n-6 PUFA in combination with the lower intake of the long-chain (LC) n-3 PUFA, plays an important role in the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome observed in Indian Asians. Data are presented to illustrate the impact of manipulation of the background n-6 PUFA intake (moderate or high n-6 PUFA) and the subsequent response to supplementation with LC n-3 PUFA on blood lipids and insulin action in a group of Indian Asian volunteers. The results demonstrate that supplementation with LC n-3 PUFA had no impact on insulin action in those subjects consuming either the moderate- or high-n-6 PUFA diet. In the postprandial phase reductions in plasma triacylglycerol concentrations were greater in those consuming the high-n-6 PUFA background diet subsequent to fish oil supplementation. The present study concludes that, contrary to the central hypothesis, the prevalence of metabolic abnormalities in Indian Asians compared with Caucasians may not be attributable to differences in intakes of n-6 and n-3 PUFA.