Salmon – Healthy or Harmful


Please let me first apologise to all my Vegan, Vegetarian friends for posting this, I know it will only confirm your reasons for not eating salmon. But there are lot of people eating salmon thinking they are eating a healthy option.

It’s Chia seeds for me.

Salmon is healthy, true, but at what cost?

At What Cost Omega-3s?
Salmon. It’s ultra-healthy, chock-full of protein, and rich in omega-3 fatty acids that protect your heart, brain, and bones. And Americans seem to know that: It ranks as the third most popular seafood in this country, just behind shrimp and canned tuna. What you might not know, however, is just how filthy this beloved fish can be. A new report from Scotland has found that certain salmon farms have increased their use of pesticides 110 percent over the past four years, polluting the oceans–and your body–with chemicals linked to neurological damage and other ills. Think that’s bad? Salmon are also fed a diet increasingly dependent on foods and medications that are suspected of making you fat and upping your diabetes risk, while at the same time making the fish less nutritious. WILDS CAUGHT ALASKAN SALMON DOESNT have those, or any of these other problems, and here’s why you should be eating more of it.

Super Lice
Gross Factor: Roughly two-thirds of the salmon consumed in the U.S. is imported, with Canada supplying just under 40 percent of that. But Canadian salmon farming is succumbing to “superbugs” of the sea: sea lice, parasites that thrive in ocean-based pens that house thousands, sometimes even millions, of salmon. And the pesticides required to kill this nasty parasite seem to no longer be working, according to a 2011 investigation by Toronto’s Globe and Mail newspaper. The reporters found that farmers are now using triple doses of a chemical that’s been linked to neurological and developmental problems in humans to kill the persistent parasites.

Better Move: Can’t afford pesticide-free wild salmon? Nearly all canned salmon at the grocery store comes from wild Alaskan salmon and is much cheaper than buying from the fresh seafood case. To avoid the toxic chemical BPA used to line canned goods, buy Wild Planet brand, which uses a BPA-free alternative, or look for salmon in foil pouches, which are also BPA free. And always check for sodium, which can get pretty high in canned fish.

Obesity & Diabetes
Gross Factor: Farmed salmon is one of our largest sources of exposure to chemicals called persistent organic pollutants, or POPs, which include PCBs, DDT, and other industrial chemicals that don’t break down when exposed to sunlight, oxygen, or water. Recently, the U.S. government’s National Toxicology Program found strong evidence to suggest these chemicals play a role in obesity and diabetes. In fact, a 2011 study published in the journal PLoS ONE found that mice fed farmed salmon containing high levels of POPs gained twice as much weight and developed insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes, faster than mice fed farmed salmon with some of the POPs removed or mice on a salmon-free diet that included the same number of calories and fat grams.

Better Move: If you want your omega-3s without the POPs, opt for tuna when wild salmon isn’t available. Really, it’s not all bad! Albacore tuna caught off the California coast is caught while it’s young, before its body has had a chance to accumulate high levels of mercury. It’s sold by American Tuna, Pacific Fleet, MaryLu Seafoods, Wild Planet, and Wild Pacific Seafood.

Flame-Retardant Fish
Gross Factor: Don’t want your fish to burn on the grill? Then, by all means, buy farmed salmon. Not only do the food pellets given to penned fish contain genetically modified corn, but studies have found they also contain a number of industrial chemicals, including PBDE and HBCD, flame retardants added to electronics, cars, and building materials. Research published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology has also revealed perfluorooctane sulfonate, or PFOS, in salmon feed; PFOS was the main component of 3M’s Scotchgard fabric protector until it was phased out in 2000 because of disturbing evidence that it caused premature deaths and other organ damage in animals. The chemical doesn’t break down in the environment and persists in humans for four years after exposure.

Better Move: Weirdly enough, fish isn’t the only hideout for flame retardants in your kitchen. They’re also used in citrus-based sodas and sports drinks to keep flavor from separating from the base drink, and they’ve been found in butter, peanut butter, and sausage, likely as contaminants from food processing and packaging. The solution? Eat fewer processed foods and more fresh, unpackaged food.

Go WILD or DONT go at all!!!!!

4 thoughts on “Salmon – Healthy or Harmful

  1. Hi Roslyn, Also of importance is the environmental impact. Our fantastic Australian Marine Conservation Society has published a sustainable seafood guide to assist consumers to make informed choices when purchasing seafood. For similar reasons you outline above they advise regarding our salmon …. “Majority produced in sea cages; carnivorous species with significant reliance on wild fisheries to supply feed; potential for pollution and fish escapes into the wild from sea cage operations; some operators have made significant efforts to reduce dependence on wild caught feed and chemical treatments, although tighter government regulation is still required to address sustainability concerns; also imported from New Zealand.”

    They recommend consumers ‘think twice’. The guide is available online, printed booklet, and also as an iphone app.

    Your readers may also be interested in Greenpeace’s 2012 Canned Tuna Rating guide available here:

    cheers. Pat

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