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There's Something Fishy About Farm-Raised Tilapia

There's Something Fishy About Farm-Raised Tilapia

I always assumed that all fish was healthy, but it seems the nutritional benefits of farm-raised tilapia aren't as wonderful as we thought. A new study reveals that this type of popular fish actually contains very low amounts of the healthy omega-3s our bodies need, and very high levels of omega-6s. Tilapia has a higher amount of omega-6s than 80-percent-lean hamburger, doughnuts, and even bacon. Researchers say this combination of fatty acids could be potentially dangerous for people with heart disease, arthritis, asthma, and other allergic and auto-immune diseases.

When it comes to omega-3s and omega-6s, you do need them both, but a healthy ratio is one omega-3 fatty acid to four omega-6 fatty acids. The western diet contains a much higher ratio of omega-6s. Having too many omega-6 fatty acids in relation to omega-3s can lead to a number of health problems, including obesity and heart disease. Omega-3s have anti-inflammatory properties, which are beneficial for people with inflammation diseases, but since tilapia is high in omega-6s and low in omega-3s, this fish would not make the best choice. Fatty fish like mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, and salmon (wild is better) are a much better option.

I'm curious if this news is going to change your relationship to tilapia, one of the most commonly eaten fish in the US? Let me know in the comments section below.


Join The Conversation
GavinG GavinG 8 years
I don’t known if anyone has seen this yet—it just came out today- more than a dozen world renowned doctors from 5 countries released an open letter saying the “tilapia is worse than bacon” study is way off base. Turns out reporters looking for sound-bite-science didn’t do their homework and just took one researcher’s conclusion on face value and went with it. Gavin Gibbons National Fisheries Institute Here’s the link:
kia kia 8 years
Isn't this an artifact of being farm-raised and not being exposed to the nutrient cycling they would have in a more natural environment? It makes sense that they aren't as beneficial from a farm. So make them healthier by feeding them natural "bass poop" or other origins of the fatty acids that make them healthier to consume.
acbearce acbearce 8 years
Just FYI, tilapia is bread to 'clean up' after bass that are also bread. They are bottom feeders that consume bass poop. ...Just some food for thought.
millarci millarci 8 years
Aw man this sucks. I just started to eat fish and this was one of the ones I liked!
freegracefrom freegracefrom 8 years
Is there that much of a difference when compared to wild tilapia, I'm wondering? Yikes, I think I definitely will avoid tilapia. What's the point of eating fish if it's not healthy? I think I'll stick to my mahi mahi and salmon.
sugar_me_sweet sugar_me_sweet 8 years
I always thought this fish was really healthy and my family buys this fish fresh in the Asian grocery supermarket a couple times a week.
cmill38 cmill38 8 years
I'd much prefer salmon and for that matter just about any fish to tilapia so I wouldn't have to worry.
nancita nancita 8 years
More omega-6s than bacon? that is a shame because it is a tasty fish...but I don't eat it that often so I hope it wont matter too much.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i'm a vegetarian so i don't eat tilapia, but i know that my fiance used to a lot and to think that you're really not getting hte same benefits from the food if it's been farm raised makes you wonder. it's hard cause you know that there are some cost perks to going for a farm raised fish, or even a flavor thing, but if there aren't as many vitamins and nutrients, then you really need to think twice about going that route.
cmd0610 cmd0610 8 years
Uptown_girl- one way to get less expensive "wild" seafood/fish is to get frozen fish fillets or scallops or shrimp etc- at Whole Foods the frozen seafood/fish are often wild (check of course before you buy) and it's a good deal vs some of their fresh wild stuff.
kittyink kittyink 8 years
Oh no! I eat tilapia all the time!
cmd0610 cmd0610 8 years
Also wild fish and sea-food tastes a lot better (in addition to fresher) in my opinion- particularly wild- vs farm-raised salmon.
uptown_girl uptown_girl 8 years
Great.... I eat tilapia like 3x a week because it's cheap. I am would almost guarantee I'm eating farm raised. *sigh(
gabiushka gabiushka 8 years
Wild is always better.
Red-Sharpie Red-Sharpie 8 years
I always go for wild fish because of this. They just don't get the right diet to have a good omega 6:omega 3 ratio in farms. This is the case with farmed salmon too.
imLissy imLissy 8 years
I don't think I've ever had Tilapia before. I'm not a big fish person.
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