The Truth About Tilapia: 3 Facts You Need To Know

Tilapia is now the fourth most-consumed seafood in the United States, after shrimp, tuna and salmon. This is largely due to it being inexpensive and light, flaky taste that can be easily used in a number of dishes. Due to increased demand, much of the tilapia consumed by the public is now farm-raised rather than wild-caught. Now, a post making its rounds on Facebook is saying a lot of bad things about tilapia, but are the claims true?

The post makes three big claims:

– Tilapia can’t be found in the wild, but only in fish farms.
– That it is worse for you than bacon or hamburgers.
– It contains dioxin, a cancer causing chemical.

But here’s the truth.

Myth #1: Tilapia Can’t Be Found In The Wild
Tilapia can be found in the wild, but it’s not a single type of fish. Instead, it’s the name for nearly a hundred species of fish commonly found in Africa and the Middle East.

Myth #2: Tilapia Is As Bad As Bacon
In comparison to bacon, it is low calorie and low fat. It is also low in omega- 3, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad for you. The comparison came from the fact that tilapia raised on farms in China and Central America, which account for three-fourths of the tilapia we get, has very high levels of omega-6 fatty acids and negligible omega-3s (due to the fish’s diet). Unlike omega-3s, which tame inflammation and promote heart and brain health, omega-6s may increase inflammation, but only when they’re consumed in excess of omega-3s. In other words, omega-6s themselves aren’t bad for you. But when your fatty acid ratio falls out of whack, “omega-6s are converted to pro-inflammatory messengers that orchestrate diabetes, stroke, heart disease, arthritis, and even Alzheimer’s,” says Floyd Chilton, director of the Wake Forest Center for Botanical Lipids and Inflammatory Disease Prevention.

Therefore, Chilton insists lean, protein-rich tilapia shouldn’t be branded “unhealthy” just because…