Why do most people chose to eat fish? Some will tell you that they choose fish because they love the flavor, but I would be willing to bet that the vast majority will tell you that they eat fish because of the health benefits. Many (including me) will fall into both camps.
So let's discuss the health benefits of eating fish. The most notable health benefit is that most fish (as a sweeping generalization) are a low fat and high protein food source. The majority of the fats that are present tend to be of the Omega 3 (healthier) variety. So how could making fish a staple of your diet possibly be a bad thing? There is one simple question that we have to ask before we eat! Is this fish farm raised or is it wild caught?
You might be wondering... Who cares? What is the difference? Let's take a look at tilapia (but this applies to almost any fish that is farm raised). Everyone likes tilapia because it is easy to find, very easy to prepare, and promises Omega 3 nirvana. But what if I let you behind the curtain to see the dark side of tilapia... Did you know that farm raised tilapia contains VERY LITTLE in terms of Omega 3 fatty acids? As a matter of fact a study performed at Wake Forest University demonstrated that farm raised tilapia has a very high level of Omega 6 (read: BAD) fatty acids. Omega 6 fatty acids tend to cause increases in inflammation throughout the body. As an example, wild caught salmon has approximately 2000 mg of Omega 3, while farm raised tilapia has about 135 mg. Do you see the difference there? As a matter of fact that same study revealed that tilapia had a higher "inflammatory potential" than a burger, or a doughnut, or (gasp) even bacon. That's what it said, and it bears repeating... farm raised tilapia has a higher inflammatory potential than bacon.
So what is it that makes farmed fish so bad:
- Their Diet - rather than feeding on their typical diet, they are fed a "crappy" diet (I mean that it literally contains chicken feces) that includes soy and other "fillers" that are not typically part of a fish's diet.
- Antibiotics - their food not only contains the equivalent of fishy junk food, but it is also chock full of antibiotics to keep the fish alive just long enough to get onto your plate.
If you have the choice between farm raised or wild caught, please make the right choice! Be aware that the majority of the frozen fish in your grocer's freezers are wild caught and flash frozen on the docks. So even though it is frozen it is often better for your than the stuff that you buy "fresh" in the store!
Movement is my Medicine,