Category: Nutrition

5 Reasons Why You Should Avoid Farm-Raised Fish

I made a point in Grain Brain to emphasize the importance of wild fish as opposed to farm-raised fish for several important reasons. I’m well aware that wild fish may not always be available (a situation that will no doubt become more common in the future), but given the chance, wild fish should be your choice, and here’s why:

  1. Farmed fish will provide your body with higher levels of inflammation producing omega-6 fatty acids, and lower levels of inflammation fighting heart and brain healthy omega-3s. Inflammation is a key player in virtually all the medical issues you don’t want to get including cancer, diabetes, arthritis, coronary artery disease and even Alzheimer’s.
  2. Because of the crowded conditions in which farm raised fish are raised, they are routinely treated with antibiotics to help prevent infection. Not only does this raise concern for residual antibiotic in the fish itself, but the use of antibiotics in this manner helps contribute to the ability of bacteria becoming more and more resistant to the very antibiotics we rely on to combat serious infectious diseases.
  3. Farm-raised fish may have as much as 20% less protein compared to wild fish.
  4. PCBs are cancer-causing chemicals that may exist in farm-raised salmon at a concentration 16 times higher than wild salmon, and the level of dioxin is also higher, by a factor of 11 fold.
  5. Finally, the notion that somehow fish farming is more “sustainable” makes absolutely no sense at all. For every pound of salmon for instance, it takes 2-3 pounds of fish chow made from other fish like sardines, mackerel, anchovies, or herring. This needs to be factored into the equation as stocks of the fish used to sustain the fish farms are well on their way to becoming depleted.

So again, my best advice is to seek out wild fish whenever possible, and be sure to check labels. Don’t be fooled by names like “Atlantic Salmon.” While you might think that Atlantic salmon means the fish was harvested from the Atlantic Ocean, almost all Atlantic salmon is actually farm-raised.

  • David
  • Lynn Dell

    Point 3. doesn’t bother me so much, except it’s coupled with point 1. I guess
    what the two points mean together is farm raised fish are fattier with the wrong kind of fat.

  • Mel

    So is no fish at all better than farm raised? Because some of us simply can’t afford wild caught. Would it be healthier to just stop eathing fish, in that case?

    • Mistee

      Right now I am enjoying canned Alaskan wild caught pink salmon traditional style. Read labels carefully and be sure to look for the country of origin. That’s shown as “product of ___”. Traditional style salmon has some skin on it and contains tiny edible bones. Both pretty much just disappear into the salmon meat as you break up the large pieces. I use it for cold salmon salad, baked salmon loaf or sauteed salmon croquettes. Also anchovies chopped fine and added to hummus…this is delicious. There are many other canned fish and seafood items that are either quite or relatively inexpensive. I’m working on expanding my palate.

    • David Perlmutter

      Farm raised fish is likely better than no fish at all provided you have the opportunity to review how it is raised. For example, look at this site: http://www.theorganicsalmoncompany.com/

  • Travis Katz

    My answer is yes, no fish is better. Wild fish is increasingly tainted with mercury and radiation. Why do we need it? Take molecularly distilled fish oil for EPA/DHA and go mostly plant based is my current strategy.

    • Don’t forget the Gulf of Mexico has Core Exit that BP continues to dump.

  • Shimmer

    Point 5 makes no sense since you fail to factor in how many live fish a wild salmon eats removing them from the “wild”. In addition I must question point 4 when there are no pcb’s in a controlled farm environment.

  • Tim

    Dr. Perlmutter is so far ahead of his peers in the medical community so as to make them look like they’re living in the 19th century.
    PS: I’m living proof of what he says.

  • Jo Ha

    Fear is the most devastating cause of all illnesses of the 21th century and dr.perlmutter creating fears in people… Eat what you want to eat and be happy!! Here in Germany we eat daily wheat products from early childhood till death and rates of mental illnesses are far below USA. Avoid processed food and refined sugar and eat what your body tell you to eat plus include healthy fats. The rest is nonsense and money making. Period! Meditarian diet , one of the healthiest on earth contain a lot of bread, pasta…too.

    • Good Sense

      Well, you live in Germany, so that sort of says it all. Here in the USA, our foods may well be different (wheat) from what you get to eat. Oh, btw, it’s spelled Mediterranean, and I am one Italian that won’t eat wheat or any grains anymore because grains, and some nongrain foods like corn, have a very high glycemic index which isn’t good for my diabetics. Jo Ha, evidently you haven’t lived long enough to be wise like Dr. Perlmutter, and I’ll bet you haven’t even read the studies and are not a scholar either when it comes to eating for health. So I think you speak out of ignorance as do most with opinions such as yours.

      • John Hyson

        The word you are searching for is “diabetes”, jack ass. Your elitist attitude toward people of other nationalities smacks of prejudice. News flash: not everyone who disagrees with you is ignorant. I don’t agree with everything Jo Ha said, but he made some valid points. Now, come down off your high horse and bring some manners with you. Jo Ha gave you no cause to attack him with your baseless assumptions and your bigoted rhetoric.

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