It seems that everywhere you look these days, there's people out there telling you that fish is healthy, and that it should be eaten as part of a healthy diet. Even on alternative health programs, such as Dr Gillian McKeith's TV series, as well as plenty of legumes, vegetables, fruits and cereals, she plugs fish as a so-called health food. The latest popular diet, called the GI diet, also recommends fish as a low-GI food. In this article, we will have a look at some of the claims and see how they have led to so much false information and dangerous dietary advice.
The British Heart Foundation advocate fish eating as part of a healthy diet to avoid heart disease, and yet in their leaflet entitled 'Eating for Your Heart', they say that as well as providing Omega-3 fats (a particular type of polyunsaturated fat which is supposed to prevent blood clotting and help to reduce triglyceride levels), polyunsaturated fats also lower HDL cholesterol which is the protective cholesterol. Indeed, research based on studies concerning Omega-3 oils show that the risk of secondary heart attacks are reduced by 70% on plant-based Omega 3 fats as compared to only half this amount with fish oils. A UK study comparing fish oil and flax seed (linseed) oil observed that fish oil also increased the susceptibility of cholesterol to oxidation, potentially increasing the risk of heart disease, whilst the flaxseed oil diet did not.
It's quite odd when you think about it, but considering the Food Standards Agency have set up 'safe' levels of eating fish, stating that twice per week is the maximum amount anyone should be consuming fish, that fish is still being promoted as a 'healthy option' food. Any food which is advisable only in small amounts certainly needs reconsidering as a healthy option! The traces of deadly pollutants, associated with birth defects, nervous system disorders and poor brain development would it seems be worthy of more than a second glance. Plus the fact that there is no carbohydrate in fish (essential for a healthy human body), no dietary fibre and no vitamin C.