Is tilapia bad for you to eat?

Tilapia Fish: Advantages and Dangers
Tilapia is a mild-flavored fish that is inexpensive. In the United States, it is the fourth most widely consumed form of seafood.

Since it is relatively cheap and does not taste very fishy, many people enjoy tilapia.

Scientific studies, however, have highlighted concerns about the fat content of tilapia. Several studies also raise concerns about farming practises for tilapia.

As a consequence, many people believe that this fish should be absolutely avoided and that it may even be harmful to your health.

This paper discusses the facts and reviews the advantages and dangers of tilapia consumption.

What’s Tilapia about?
Currently, the term tilapia refers to many species of mainly freshwater fish that belong to the family of cichlids.

While wild tilapia is native to Africa, it has been introduced worldwide and is now cultivated in more than 135 countries (1).

Since it doesn’t mind being crowded, grows rapidly and eats a cheap vegetarian diet, it is an ideal fish for agriculture. Compared with other types of seafood, these qualities lead to a relatively inexpensive product.

The advantages and hazards of tilapia are largely based on variations in farming practises that vary by region.

China is by far the largest producer of tilapia in the world. They generate more than 1.6 million metric tonnes annually and provide the majority of imports of tilapia from the United States (2).

Tilapia is the name given to many freshwater fish species. China is the largest producer of this fish, even though it is farmed all over the world.
It’s an outstanding source of nutrients and protein.
Tilapia is quite an excellent protein source. It packs 26 grammes of protein and just 128 calories per 100 grammes (3.5 ounces) (3).

The amount of vitamins and minerals in this fish is even more impressive. Niacin, vitamin B12, phosphorus, selenium and potassium are rich in tilapia.

A serving of 3.5 ounces includes the following (3):

Calories: 128 Calories:
Carbohydrates: 0 grammes
Protein: 26 g
Fats: 3 grammes, 3 grammes
Niacin: 24% of the RDI
Vitamin B12: 31% of the RDI
Phosphorus: 20% of the RDI
Selenium: 78% of the RDI
Potassium: 20% of the RDI
Tilapia, with just 3 grammes of fat per serving, is also a light source of protein.

The type of fat in this fish does, however, add to its bad reputation. The next segment examines the fat in tilapia further.

Tilapia is a lean protein source that is full of different minerals and vitamins.

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Inflammation can result from its Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio
Fish is almost unanimously considered to be one of the world’s healthiest foods.

One of the key reasons for this is that there are significant quantities of omega-3 fatty acids in fish, such as salmon, trout, albacore tuna and sardines. Wild salmon, in fact, contains more than 2,500 mg of omega-3s per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving (4).

Good fats that decrease inflammation and blood triglycerides are omega-3 fatty acids. A decreased risk of heart failure has also been associated with these (5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source).

The bad news for tilapia is that it contains just 240 mg per serving of omega-3 fatty acids, 10 times less omega-3 than wild salmon (3).

If that’s not bad enough, there are more omega-6 fatty acids in tilapia than omega-3.

The fatty acids of omega-6 are highly ambiguous, but are commonly considered less healthy than omega-3s. Some people also assume that omega-6 fatty acids can be dangerous if consumed in excess and increase inflammation (8Trusted Source).

Usually, the recommended ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in the diet is as similar as possible to 1:1. Eating high omega-3 fish such as salmon can help you achieve this goal more easily, although tilapia does not provide much help (9Trusted Source).

In fact, if you are trying to reduce the risk of inflammatory diseases such as heart disease, some experts warn against eating tilapia (10Trusted Source).

Tilapia contains much less omega-3 than other salmon-like fish. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is higher than that of other fish and may contribute to the body’s inflammation.
Farming activities reports apply to
Tilapia farming provides a cost-effective method of producing a relatively inexpensive commodity for the market, as consumer demand for tilapia continues to grow.

Several reports over the past decade, however, have revealed some information regarding tilapia farming practises, especially from farms located in China.

Fed Animal Feces Also Are Tilapia
A study from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States reported that faeces from livestock animals are widely fed to fish farmed in China (11).

Although production costs are minimised by this procedure, bacteria such as Salmonella found in animal waste can contaminate the water and increase the risk of foodborne diseases.

Any particular fish in the study was not directly correlated with the use of animal faeces as feed. However, about 73% of the tilapia imported into the United States comes from China, where this practise is particularly prevalent (12).

Tilapia may be tainted by harmful chemicals
Another article stated that from 2007-2012, the FDA rejected over 800 seafood shipments from China, including 187 tilapia shipments.

It claimed that the fish did not meet safety requirements because they were contaminated with potentially harmful chemicals, including “residues of veterinary drugs and unsafe additives” (11).

Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch also stated that despite some of them being banned for over a decade, some chemicals suspected to cause cancer and other harmful effects were still used in Chinese tilapia farming (13).

Several studies have revealed that Chinese tilapia farming activities, including the use of faeces as food and the use of banned chemicals, are highly significant.
Tilapia’s best way to eat and healthier options
It is best to avoid tilapia from China and look for tilapia from other parts of the globe due to the associated agricultural practises involving tilapia in China.

Fish from the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, Ecuador or Peru are the best sources for buying farmed tilapia (14).

Wild-caught tilapia, preferably, is superior to farmed fish. But it is very hard to find wild tilapia. The vast majority of consumer-available tilapia is farmed.

Alternatively, it could be easier and better to eat other fish types. There are much more omega-3 fatty acids per serving than tilapia in fish such as salmon, trout and herring.

In addition, wild-caught fish are easier to locate, which would help prevent some of the prohibited chemicals used in some tilapia farming.

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