Seafood in general has gained notoriety in the healthcare community due to its properties that help in sustaining good heart and brain health as well as overall health. Tilapia, in particular, has low calories, low saturated fats and sodium, great source of protein and high in omega-3s fatty acids. Over the past few years, tilapia has become increasingly popular because it tastes good with a less fishy taste. Tilapia is often called “St. Peter’s fish” because of biblical scholars’ belief that this was the fish that fed the thousands at the Sea of Galilee and also the apostle Peter catching a fish (presumably tilapia) that carried a coin in its mouth. While the Bible does not specifically name any fish, tilapia has been found to have originated in Egypt.
Tilapia’s popularity remains relatively high but some healthcare experts are not so much on the bandwagon. According to The Daily Meal, there are reasons at least one doctor stopped eating tilapia:
1.Antiobiotics and Pesticides: tilapia are found in ponds that have high heavy metals, pesticides and other toxins and containments. Also tilapia from China is treated with malachite green (dye and antimicrobial) and nitrofurans.
2.DDT and Other Contaminants: The tilapia imported from China has high levels of pesticide DDT and polyaromatic hydrocarbons associated with industrial pollution.
3.Fishy Factors That are Often Out of Reach: if you are unable to pinpoint where foods items come from, it’s probably a good idea not to consume it.
4.GMOs in Farmed Tilapia: genetically modified organisms namely corn and soy
5.Lack of omega-3s in farmed tilapia: Farmed tilapia has low omega-3 concentration something that promotes health heart.
The National Institutes of Health did a study and looked at the favorable “omega-3 fatty acid content and unfavorable omega-6 contents of commonly eaten fish and found that while catfish and tilapia contain both, they contain a high amount of unfavorable omega-6 fat. [They found that] catfish and tilapia contains 67 and 134 milligrams respectively of the bad fat (the same amount of 80 percent lean hamburger contains 34 milligrams, and bacon 191 milligrams).” www.mayoclinic.org However, there is no reason to stop eating catfish or tilapia because the report is somewhat flawed and the main reason for choosing tilapia is the taste.
There are also instances where certain fish was being substituted for another kind. For example, one restaurant served white tuna but was actually escolar, a type of snake mackerel with purgative effects (castor oil meant to make you vomit). Sushi and red snapper was also being served but was mislabeled as something else.