Eating Tilapia Is Worse Than Eating Bacon

June 17, 2018
Tilapia is Worse than Bacon! - Dr.Axe

We all have the notion that eating fish would be the better option over bacon when it comes to health. And the truth is, it really is … most of the time! Fish is a low-fat, high-protein food that has a range of health benefits. However, given what we know of fish and its sources today, we may have to re-examine this statement.

Fish can either be one of the best foods for you or detrimental to your health depending on where it’s sourced. There is a world of difference between a fish that is caught in the wild vs. farm-bred or farm-raised fish. The most common farm-raised fish are: salmon, tilapia, catfish, swai, “sea” bass, and cod (the last two surprise a lot of people).

Tilapia, in particular, became extremely popular in aquaculture and aquaponics across Asia, Mexico, Central America and the U.S. because it grows very quickly, is tolerant of stocking density and is adaptable.

So what’s wrong with that? Well, it all depends on how the fresh or frozen tilapia filets were raised … and where. What are the exact dangers of eating farm-raised fish?

6 Reasons Tilapia Farming Is Dangerous to Your Health

1. Recent studies have found that farm-raised tilapia may cause more inflammation

Farm-raised tilapia has always been a popular source for fish, not only because it’s widely available in the U.S., but it’s also very inexpensive. (1) However, before you stock up on tilapia, you may want to know about its correlation to inflammation. Recent studies have shown that eating tilapia may worsen inflammation, which can lead to heart disease, arthritis, asthma and a world of other serious health problems.

People who resort to eating more fish as a way to get their dose of omega-3 fatty-acids and lessen their risk of heart attacks may want to hold off on the tilapia. In fact, a scientist from Wake Forest University has found that the inflammatory potential of tilapia is far greater than that of a hamburger or pork bacon, and therefore make it a fish you shouldn’t eat. (2)

2. Farmed salmon may have at least 10 times the amount of cancer-causing organic pollutants compared to the wild variety

This can most likely be attributed to the feeds that are used on farm-raised fish. If you knew what went into the feeds of farm-raised fish, you would be horrified. Apparently, chicken feces is one of the main ingredients that go into farm fish feed. Not only that, the transfer of pig and duck waste to fish farms is also a very common practice, such as with Chinese tilapia.



3. Farm-bred fish have been found to have high concentrations of antibiotics and pesticides

Where do farm-bred fish get their antibiotics? The crowded conditions of fish farms cause the fish to be more susceptible to disease. To keep them alive, farm owners give antibiotics to the fish to stave off disease — similar to what occurs in confined feedlot operations for cattle. (3)

Farm-bred fish, such as Chinese tilapia, are also treated with pesticides to combat sea lice. The pesticides used to treat these fish are so deadly that they will kill wild salmon that are accidentally exposed to them. These pesticides are also eventually released in the ocean, where they get into the bodies and systems of other marine life.

4. Farm-bred fish also have lower levels of healthy nutrients

Many of us consume fish, hoping to reap the omega-3 fatty acid benefits that come with it. However, did you know that the omega-3-acids that are found in farm-raised fish are less usable in our bodies compared to wild-bred fish? Farm-raised fish also has a lower protein content.

Not only that, because farm-raised fish are kept in cages, they have the tendency to be fattier, and can have a higher concentration of omega-6 acids. The problem with getting too many omega-3 and omega-6 acids is that they, again, may cause inflammation to the body.

5. Dibutylin levels, a chemical used in PVC plastics, is said to be six times higher in farm-raised mussels compared to wild ones

Dibutylin is toxic and can impair immune system function while also contributing to inflammation. Dibutylin may be the reason as to why there is a rise in asthma, obesity, allergies and other metabolic disorders in recent years. (4, 5)

6. Dioxin levels are 11 times higher in farm-bred salmon compared to wild salmon

According to the Environmental Working Group, the “first-ever tests of farmed salmon from U.S. grocery stores show that farmed salmon are likely the most [dioxin-like] PCB-contaminated protein source in the U.S. food supply.” (6) Dioxin is actually a very toxic chemical that can contribute to cancer and other complications. The problem with dioxin is that once it enters our system, it can take a very long time until it leaves. Grimly, the half-life of dioxin is about 7 to 11 years!

7. Excessive mercury levels among even lake-grown fish and especially dangerous for pregnant women

In a study by Dr. J.K. McCrary published in the Environmental Pollution journal, total mercury concentrations in the water and fish of Lake Managua and Lake Apoyo were measured. A considerable one-fourth of the commercially fished tilapia in Lake Managua exceeded maximum recommended mercury levels for consumption among pregnant women and other at-risk groups. (7) As a result, the study recommended much closer mercury monitoring among freshwater fish that is meant for international commerce.

These are only some of the dangers that have been linked back to eating farm-raised fish. What does this tell us? No. 1, we need to find out where our fish is coming from. Not all fish are created equal, and sad to say, farm-raised fish, instead of helping us, may even harm us.


Infographic on farmed fish - Dr. Axe


History of Tilapia, Tilapia Facts + Types of Tilapia

The common name for nearly a 100 species of cichlid fish, it comes from three distinct genera: Oreochromis, Sarotherodon and Tilapia. Mainly a freshwater fish, tilapia live in shallow streams, ponds, rivers and lakes — and adapt well to being farmed.

Historically, tilapia became popular in so-called artisanal fishing in Africa and soon became popular in aquaculture and aquaponics outside of Africa. Because North African tilapia grow quickly, are tolerant of stocking density and are adaptable. In modern aquaculture, the wild-type Nile tilapia (the healthiest variety) are not too often seen, because the dark color of their flesh is considered undesirable by many customers.

Tilapia are farmed extensively in many parts of Asia and the U.S. They are increasingly found in outdoor fish farms in tropical countries like as China, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Indonesia. In temperate zone climates, such as in U.S., tilapia farming operations need energy in order to warm the water to tropical temperatures. (8)

The largest tilapia producers in the world are China, then Egypt (!). Currently, it’s the fourth most consumed fish in the U.S.

Going way back, the aquaculture using Nile tilapia began in Ancient Egypt. In fact, tilapia is considered one of the three main types of fish caught from the Sea of Galilee during Biblical times.

Today, the three most commonly fished and eaten species of tilapia are Nile, Blue and Mozambique. Oreochromis niloticus, or Nile Tilapia, are the oldest variety of tilapia.

Nile Tilapia is one of the most adaptable fish, as it can be raised in various ways, such as ponds and in pristine lakes — and can be one of the most sustainable farmed fish. The best fresh tilapia eaten in the U.S. is all-natural (not using chemicals or antibiotics) and lake-grown. Most lake-grown tilapia actually comes from Honduras or Mexico. (9)

Therefore, if you ever do eat tilapia, make sure you ask were it was raised. Seafood Watch recommends to “buy tilapia (“izumidai” in sushi) farmed worldwide in recirculating aquaculture systems, Ecuador in ponds and Peru in raceways.” (10)

Blue Tilapia is found in Florida’s lakes, rivers and streams — and it can live both in saltwater and freshwater. Because it doesn’t grow as quickly as Nile Tilapia, it’s not as commonly farmed. Meanwhile, Mozambique Tilapia was introduced into the U.S. for sport fishing and as a means of aquatic plant control.

Farmed Shrimp: the Dirtiest of All Seafood

There are a lot of shrimp nutrition facts, but shrimp actually holds the designation of being “the dirtiest of all seafood,” says Marianne Cufone, director of Food and Water Watch. She says it’s hard to avoid, as 90 percent of shrimp sold in the U.S. is imported. (11)

“Imported farmed shrimp comes with a whole bevy of contaminants: antibiotics, residues from chemicals used to clean pens, filth like mouse hair, rat hair, and pieces of insects,” Cufone says. “And I didn’t even mention things like E. coli that have been detected in imported shrimp.”

Part of this has to do with the fact that less than 2 percent of ALL imported seafood (shrimp, crab, catfish or others) gets inspected before its sold, which is why it’s that much more important to buy domestic seafood.

What to Eat Instead of Tilapia Recipes

Fish can be an incredible health-building food if you go with wild-caught fish liked sockeye salmon, which has proven health benefits. It’s loaded with healthy fats and can help your brain, joints, muscles and skin!

But rather than buying cheap, frozen tilapia filets, a better option that is both inexpensive and easy to make is a homemade salmon patties recipe that is high in omega-3 fats and protein.

Plus, salmon contains astaxanthin, which has been proven to be more powerful than almost any other antioxidant at absorbing free radicals. If you are not consuming salmon or another wild-caught fish during the week, then I highly recommend you consume a benefit-rich fish oil supplement with astaxanthin.

When I eat out, I also ask my server if the fish is farm-raised or wild-caught. Most servers know this answer or can quickly go ask the head chef. As a quick rule of thumb for salmon, if it’s Pacific or Alaskan, it’s most likely wild-caught; if it’s Atlantic salmon, it’s almost always farm-raised.

Read Next: 17 Fish You Should Never Eat

From the sound of it, you might think leaky gut only affects the digestive system, but in reality it can affect more. Because Leaky Gut is so common, and such an enigma, I’m offering a free webinar on all things leaky gut. Click here to learn more about the webinar.

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    • Gerri Ford (@Snoooty) on

      I know Talapia is bad. I was eating Talapia everyday because It taste so good. Lo and behold I developed the worst case of arthritis and the joints in my fingers became disfigured. They are still disfigured. Just last night I opened a can of sardines and I was picking through it because fish intestines were in the can. Ughh! Just as I was about to toss the can out I took another look and there was an inch long white worm in the can.. I won’t be having sardines again..

    • maggie n. on

      Tilapia doesn’t impress me. If I want to eat bland protein I’ll buy chicken breast for half the price and pop a fish oil pill.

    • Susan on

      I was at a health conference in Atlanta where Dr. Axe was teaching along with Jordan Rubin and Dr. Caroline Leaf. I actually asked this same question and Dr. Axe said he is fine with canned wild caught salmon and finds it to be an affordable alternative to fresh.

    • RachaelA on

      To add to that question – how do you say bacon is bad for you when the study that said saturated fat causes heart disease was just proven to be false? The study over 50 years old was proven to have been narrowly done to get the result they wanted – not a scientific result.

      • Michael on

        It’s more complicated than “does” or “doesn’t” cause heart disease. It’s about as slippery as saying that any given chemical x “causes” cancer. That chemical may be a carcinogen, which means that it interacts with DNA and mutates it, but there is no guarantee that cancer will result from said interaction. Cancer requires a minimum of about five or six very specific kinds of DNA mutations from among a large list of options. Just because a chemical mutates your DNA doesn’t mean it’s going to mutate it in six or so of those ways that turn into cancer, but that doesn’t mean the chemical is healthy for you to flood your cells with either.

        So understanding that, let’s talk about heart disease and saturated fat. Saturated fat does NOT CAUSE heart disease. It would be more accurate to say that it promotes it, or increases the likelihood of it happening. Let me tell you what saturated fat DOES do so that you can understand this:
        In each of your cells, you have a nucleus. In that nucleus is a copy of your entire DNA. The DNA has information that makes you who you are biologically, called genes. These genes are read by enzymes and transcribed into RNA, most of which is then translated into proteins, which are the molecules in your body that actually DO stuff. For example, the enzymes that read your DNA are themselves proteins. This process of reading a gene and making a protein is called “expression.” Different cells belong to different organs which are responsible for different things, so not all genes are expressed in all cell types, and that is very important, because it makes it obvious that there are means to regulate the process and decide which genes are expressed when and in what cell types. Often enough, the cell receives a notification to increase or decrease expression of a particular gene or set of genes as a result of a small molecule binding to a signalling protein on the outer surface of the cell. Back to saturated fats. Saturated fats interact with a regulatory pathway via what is called the SRE-BP (Sterol Regulatory Element Binding Protein). The ultimate consequence of this with regards to heart disease is that the gene that makes the LDL Receptor protein is not expressed as much as it would be if levels of saturated fats were lower. Notice I said lower and not absent. It’s not about eating zero of something, it’s about eating proper ratios of food molecules. Now, why should you care that the LDL Receptor is expressed less often?

        The LDL Receptor protein is a protein that sits on the outer surface of the cell membrane, and binds to LDL molecules. (LDL is what the media erroneously calls “bad cholesterol.”) When LDL binds to this receptor, the receptor withdraws into the cell and releases the LDL there; so it takes LDL out of your blood and into your cells. Once LDL is inside cells, your body can take the cholesterol from within it and use it for any number of things, but some big ones are the synthesis of steroid hormones–glucocorticoids that regulate your energy metabolism, mineralcorticoids that regulate your electrolyte balance, and sex hormones that I probably don’t have to explain the function of. :) This is all good–cholesterol is stored as an unreactive, non-toxic in any way form when it is inside your cells. But less expression of the LDL Receptor protein means that you’re going to have less LDL making it into your cells and more of it circulating in your blood. This again does not CAUSE heart disease, but it increases the likelihood of it developing.

        So let me talk for a minute about heart disease and how IT works, because it’s worth explaining to you how bad of a job the media has done explaining cholesterol. You’ve heard them call HDL “good cholesterol” and LDL “bad cholesterol,” right? Well, it’s not true. They are both actually necessary clusters of molecules that transport various other molecules throughout your body (one of those being cholesterol). So when you go to the doctor and get your cholesterol levels tested, they’re not actually telling you how many cholesterol molecules are in your blood, they’re telling you how many of each type of transporter you’ve got. Furthermore, there are populations on the planet with total “cholesterol” levels of like 600 mg per dL of blood who have NO SIGNS of heart disease. I hear it’s mostly arctic areas where you find this. So how does heart disease happen and how is it related to levels of LDL in the blood?
        Here is what I know:
        Normal LDL is fine and does not cause disease. However, it can be modified while it is in your blood by interactions with other molecules that it happens to bump into. It can be glycosylated (attached to a sugar), acetylated (attached to a CH3-C=O group), or oxidized (made to have fewer bonds to hydrogen and more bonds to oxygen). All of these can result in problems where the LDL is then seen as a foreign invader by parts of your immune system. One such immune system component, called a macrophage, may come and envelop the LDL, which results in the macrophage turning into what is called a foam cell and adhering to the wall of your artery. As this happens over time, these foam cells will develop into a plaque and deposit their contents into the arterial wall (between the inner wall that blood touches as it’s flowing through and the outer wall that is the outside of the artery). As this continues, it will cause a bulge and a build-up of greasy lipid material that shrinks the effective size of your artery, inhibiting the flow rate of blood. When the wall of the artery experiences enough stress, the weakest part of the bulge can break and allow everything from inside the wall to spill out into the bloodstream. When this happens, molecules called thromboxanes are usually present in the stuff that spills into the blood, and they are responsible for helping the clotting process, which is good if you have a wound but very bad if you’re talking about in the middle of the blood stream. What you end up with is a rapidly forming clot in the middle of what should just be flowing blood. This severely reduces or might even stop the flow of blood, leading to stroke and possible death.

        To recap, the higher your intake of saturated fats, the more LDL will be circulating in your blood. LDL is fine until it is modified in some way, and the chances of that happening go up as your levels of LDL go up because thermodynamics. If LDL gets modified, it contributes to atherosclerosis, which essentially = heart disease. Saturated fats therefore do NOT cause heart disease, but they can increase the chances of it happening. In the USA, I think the recommendation from the government-run nutrition agency (FDA) is to keep your daily intake of saturated fats to under 10 grams or so for a 2000 calorie diet.

        If you’re super into this, you should also go look up Vitamin K2 and consider eating some good old Japanese breakfast food called natto. I hear it smells like gym socks.

        And if you’re wondering why I seem to know so much, I am a couple classes away from a BS in biochemistry. One of our instructors in the biochem department who teaches the unit on lipids was involved in some of the research on cholesterol etc., and the chief cardiologist of the hospital attached to our med school taught us the unit on atherosclerosis in biochemistry of disease class. And I paid attention.

        Also, I skimmed Dr. Axe’s article on pork that he linked below.I would caution you to do some of your own research whenever anyone says anything to you about there being “toxins” in your body that have built up, need to go somewhere, or are making you sick. Because MOST of the time (snakes and spiders and bacteria etc. excluded), it doesn’t work that way. If anyone ever tells you “detox,” shoot them down instantaneously. Dr. Axe is not full of lies–the rest of the article makes references to real things that actually matter. But that first part…gave me #sadface.

  1. andrew on

    So why do you have to bash bacon, where’s the backup evidence to support your claims that bacon is not good for you – I disagree!

      • burntanne on

        The Creator’s words work for me. I don’t eat bacon anymore; however, my high school grad sisters and I ate out Friday, and I had to choose pulled pork – I didn’t have much of a choice from the given menu – and no, I’m not Catholic. But – I WILL watch what kind of meat I eat from now on, and pork will NOT be on my list.

  2. John on

    I’d like to see evidence that bacon or hamburger is inflammatory. I avoid teh same thing wild fish avoid: corn and soy but also wheat.

    • Michael on

      Inflammation is pretty complicated and there are several mechanisms involved. One thing that I can tell you, however, is that it actually is related to the Omega 3 and Omega 6 content of the food you’re eating.
      You might have heard people talk about grass-fed cows etc. and wondered what the big deal is, right? And people take fish oil all kinds for the Omega-3’s that seem to do all kinds of amazing things for you, but here’s a thought–where do the fish get it? From eating algae and aquatic plant life. That’s how they accumulate so many Omega-3 fatty acids in their bodies.

      And guess what? One of the things that both Omega-3’s and Omega-6’s do is mediate inflammation. But there’s a catch! Omega-3’s are anti-inflammatory, and Omega-6’s are pro-inflammatory. They are both involved in a pathway to synthesize signalling molecules called prostaglandins. The prostaglandin that Omega-3’s turn into is anti-inflammatory, while the prostaglandin that Omega-6’s turn into is pro-inflammatory. Therefore, having more Omega-3’s and fewer Omega-6’s will skew everything in favor of anti-inflammatory for you, and vice versa. Omega-6’s, if you don’t know, are found often in grains. Like the ones they use to feed cows. Which should be sufficient to explain why hamburgers and bacon can be inflammatory. IF you were to feed them with grass, that might not be the case.

      Bonus Tip: Aspirin inhibits one of the enzymes responsible for turning Omega-3’s AND Omega-6’s into prostaglandins. That enzymes is called cyclooxygenase. I’m not kidding, go look it up. Which means that if you take fish oil or another Omega-3 supplement, AND aspirin, you’re kind of wasting your money. Of course I’m not telling you which one to choose because maybe you really need the aspirin for something. If you’re concerned about that you should talk to your doctor about it–they’ll know what’s up.

  3. aCountryVegan on

    I do appreciate you bringing to light the dangers of eating farm raised fish, but there are other healthy sources of Omega-3 fats, EPA and DHA without eating fish, including flax and chia seeds for the omegas and algae & seaweed for EPA and DHA. Also not everyone can afford to spend $16 to $35 a pound for fish from your online fish source. One ounce of Salmon has:
    total Omega-3 fatty acids 316 mg
    while one 1/4 ounce of ground flaxseeds has: total Omega-3 fatty acids 1597 mg
    At over $2 an ounce for the fish source you suggested and a little over 5 cents for the flaxseeds, I think I will stick to the flaxseeds.

    The nutrition data was from

    • Dr. Loren Marks on

      I can appreciate your cost conversion on omega 3s from a vegetarian source to a animal one, but you fail to realize that it is not the same comparison. The value of both are derived from their EPA/DHA content. Vegetarian sources have been studied and Schmit at NASA Ames has published data that states that for every one hundred molecules of flax seeds, only 1 can be converted into EPA/DHA. Additionally, it is a long and arduous metabolic pathway requiring many nutrients as co factors for this conversion to occur. If you don’ t want to eat the fish, for your vegan diet, consider taking the fish oil. But do continue to eat the seeds for their lignans.
      Dr. Marks

  4. Bambi on

    Thank you for this article! I know pork is extremely unhealthy (its a scavenger, it will eat its own feces! After all, you are what you eat… including what they ate)! I also knew the way conventional beef and chickens are raised is unhealthy too but I didn’t realize so many of the same practices are used in farming fish! I can’t afford really good quality fish online, but I can afford the canned wild salmon. Also, my husband loves to fish, but even so you have to check with others to make sure which lakes are okay to eat the fish out of. I live in FL where there are plenty of lakes but some (especially in park areas where lots of people are at) are too poluted to eat the fish. If you don’t agree about conventional meat being unhealthy for you, I seen a couple of documentaries that will turn your stomach called “Frankensteer” and “A River Of Waste” (both can be found on Netflix too).

    • Stephen on

      A note on pork poop:

      Not only will hogs eat their own feces, but, many animals do so when food is scarce or they’re under nourished.

      When hogs are humanely raised thru organic methods, rarely, if at all, will they eat their own feces.

      Basically, any conventionally raised animal, regardless, if it is on a family farm or commercial farm, is all bad. Don’t be fooled by the “family farm” hype.

      We have been involved with humane animal practices and organic farming for sometime and it’s very frustrating to see so many farmers are claiming to have organic methods, free range and grass fed. That’s only on the surface!

    • Marilyn on

      My son lives in Fairview and has 15 acres. He has free range chickens that run all over the yard and eat poop and all kinds of worms and bugs. So, I buy good eggs at Kroger.

      • Ginny on

        Chickens naturally work through manure to find bugs and seeds. Their digestive systems are designed to eat those things. Your son’s free-range chickens are living a much healthier life than the chickens who provide eggs for grocery stores. Those chickens are kept in confinement, kept awake 23 hours a day, have their beaks filed down (to prevent cannibalism), and are fed a steady diet of soy, corn, antibiotics, hormones, and chemicals. So you’re much better off with your son’s eggs.

      • Karen on

        have you never watched a show or Internet video on how those chickens are raised?! Bless your heart for being so innocent. You would think again before buying any kind of store eggs.

    • burntanne on

      Bambi, I cringed when I read that part of your sentence which stated, “I seen.” Seen needs a helper, such as have. “I HAVE seen” is correct. Without the helper, I SAW. Don’t make ppl cringe again, please. And please, don’t get angry at this; take it in stride and see it as learning. I told my grandson the same thing, now he smiles at me. LOL I appreciate the lessons I’m learning here today from all of you.

  5. Dennis Valverde on

    Thanks Dr. Josh Axe I’ll keep that in Mind
    I Take fish oil omega 3 gel caps with D3 in it.
    I will try the wild sockeye salmon.

  6. Liz on

    I have been wondering about the safety of Alaskan Salmon lately, due to the radiation from Japan. Do you have any info about that? I haven’t found too much info online about this issue.

  7. Wade on

    I do think you should look into the The Weston A. Price Foundation’s articles on Fish Oil_in the U.S. a naturally produced, unheated, fermented high-vitamin cod liver oil that is made using a filtering process that retains the natural vitamins.
    The high-vitamin fermented cod liver oil is sold as a food so does not contain vitamin levels on the label. However, after numerous tests, the approximate values of A and D have been ascertained at 1900 IU vitamin A per mL and 390 IU vitamin D per mL. Thus 1 teaspoon of high-vitamin fermented cod liver oil contains 9500 IU vitamin A and 1950 IU vitamin D, a ratio of about 5:1.

  8. Lesley on

    I am quite concerned about any fish coming out of Alaska or the Pacific right now due to the radiation from Fukushima. Most of the fish from the web site recommended in this article is from the Pacific. Do you recommend any other sites where we can purchase non-Pacific, non-Alaskan wild caught fish?

  9. mare brennion on

    i find really good wild caught (sometimes fresh) fish at harris teeter on hwy 100, and they will answer questions about them.

  10. Travis on

    Wild fish may be better for you but it’s really not a viable option for anyone that cares about the environment. Wild fishing is notoriously hard to regulate and as a result most of our fisheries have been wiped or are on track to be depleted within decades ( .

    The last thing we need is for everyone to get it in their head that they should only eat wild fish. I agree that conditions at farms should be better but that’s no reason to go wiping out species.

  11. Dylan on

    When I go to check out vital choice as a source of Wild Salmon, it says that it is Sustainably Harvested. Isn’t that just another way of saying Farmed?

  12. tracy on

    I am interested in all the perspectives, but choosing an acceptable balance between price, quality, taste, ease of purchase, nutritional value, and availability is sometimes just an exercise in futility.

    Gotta die of something, right?

    I guess I’ll have my bacon burger with a side of tilapia, a multivitamin and a eulogy.

  13. Rita Maggi on

    Recently I was in the Caribbean snorkeling and instead of viewing a beautiful reef, I viewed old shoes, plastic bottles and glasses, tin cans, etc.Not to mention that tons of garbage and nuclear waist is polluting our vast ocean resource. Therefore, I don’t understand how fish caught in the wild is any better than farm raised.

  14. EverythingIsWorseThanBacon on

    Everything is worse than eating bacon. I agree

    Bacon is unhealthy? I disagree

  15. Loretta on

    Dr Ax, are your food choices based at all on your religious beliefs? Are you Seventh Day Adventist or Jewish?

  16. Byron on

    I find this article misleading and frankly dangerous. Yes – wild caught fish will provide more health benefits that farmed fish. But that’s not the comparison. Tilapia is popular precisely because its a cheap source of lean protein. Not everyone has the resources to spend on wild caught fish. Doubtless wild bison is healthier than farmed beef, but bison’s cost is likewise prohibitive so we’re left with the farmed beef. And bacon better for you than tilapia? Maybe for the one purpose you’ve narrowly defined, but for whom their largest challenge is maintaining a healthy weight? Way off base.

    The comparison is not farmed tilapia versus wild caught salmon, its farmed tilapia versus other cost comparable options – most of which are far less healthy. If your sole goal is to provide advice for the minute proportion of the population for whom cost is not object, target met. But make that caveat and do not assert these as universal truths. Otherwise its dangerous.

  17. Jose Graciano Gellani-nurse on

    Me and my wife are both nurses by profession. We raise tilapia in our backyard and it is with the fresh water from our well and cemented pond without tinged of chemicals or pesticide…more to say tilapia raised organically.
    This is the way to raise tilapia for HEALTH FOOD, no tinged of any chemicals not like the commercialized tilapia from the farm with irrigation that harbors water with chemicals.

  18. Ken Dirst on

    Seems a shame to lump all farm raised tilapia into the same category. It should be obvious to most intelligent people that you can eat most everything…in moderation, and you will be fine. One person who commented said that they ate tilapia everyday, and started to have joint inflamation: and imply cause and effect, really?. Another person comments that she will stick with flax seeds and stay away from farm-raised fish. Too bad, she would be better off with both (I use flax seed on my cereal a couple of times a week, eat fish and shrimp too – freshness and sustainability being my main criteria).

    I have been involved in the aquaculture industry for more than 30 years; I know what the fish are raised on. Sorry to dissappoint, but none of it is inherently dangerous to human health. The only dangerous bit would be unsanitary human practices in the processing, storing and distributing of our food. But that can happen with any food item; pork or fish, farm-raised or wild caught. Please, be balanced and objective in what you inform folks.

  19. Dave on

    Good article until I got to this paragraph and I am now confused. Maybe the sentence should have left out the first occurrence of “Alaskan”?
    As a quick rule of thumb for salmon, if it’s Pacific or Alaskan, it’s most likely wild caught, if it’s Atlantic salmon, it is almost always farm-raised.

    • Dr. Josh Axe on

      In that statement, I’m referring to Alaskan salmon or pacific salmon. Salmon with those labels are most likely wild caught and not farm raised. Atlantic salmon is farm raised most of the time.

  20. Pam on

    I have a 1 acre pond that I want to raise edible fish. If this makes them toxic, what should an individual do who wants to live off the land?

      • Jeremy on

        This article is at the top of the list of sensationalist, generalizing aquaculture articles. As others have said, just because a fish is farmed does not at all make it toxic or dangerous. If someone grows his own fish, he controls everything that goes into it. Tilapia are basically garbage disposals (in a good way) and will eat just about anything. Alternative protein sources are being developed, such as single-cell proteins from bacteria and insect protein that have the potential to replace fish meal. I also raise fish and vegetables for a living and have never added any chemical, pesticide or antibiotic to my water (and my densities are over 3/4 lb/ gal).
        This article was either written by someone who has an agenda or who is just severely misinformed.

  21. Debbie Butler on

    I understand the problem with farmed tilapia but what about wild caught? You spoke to wild caught salmon but not tilapia.

  22. Kim Hawley on

    My LDL and HDL are killing me a little each day. This article didn’t help me know what to do… Food scares me… I had my heart stop in 2012 for over an hour ( yes I said an hour) from the fact that I can’t get the meds needed to control the problem so I have been trying to control it with diet and failing. We don’t need to be told what not to eat but more to the point what to eat to get a cholesterol level from in the 600 to less than 200. I really don’t wait to die again.. I am fairly sure that I want come back next time. Michael post was informative but just caused me more confusion in what to eat. Asking the Doctor don’t help he just says eat more fish, but salmon is not financially reasonable on SSDI so I am between a rock and a hard place. I was watching Dr. OZ for advice but it was not helping some of the stuff okay all of it is not affordable on SSDI. I had no idea that SSDI made less than SSI til I had to get on it. It like the Doctor saved my life for nothing since I can’t make enough to get my heart back to a point that I can work again. If you want to write an Article that would truly help ones with heart issues write a recipe book on what to eat for the worst heart problems. I know Michael that I still have the heart problem even if I get my HDL and LDL right but I have a better life and chance of living longer if I can get it under control. I think that one if I can get it under control that I can go back to working like I want too. So, DR. Axe if you want to help find a great chef to collaborate with and make the recipes really affordable for some one with a budget on SSDI to get healthy again. Thank would be priceless and very informative.

  23. Lee on

    Do you ever wonder how we survive with will all the negatives about the food we all buy? People live longer now than ever and they get the food at market basket , good lion and on and on.

    • ss on

      Your an idiot.Seriously I don’t remember hearing about dementia 100 years ago or breast cancer.Really?We have so much different kinds of illness I could write a book on it.People are waking up to the ingredients in the foods and some of the people are getting smarter but disease?? still there.

      • janiakor on

        WHAT?? Both of those diseases very much existed and were serious problems 100 years ago, and before that. It’s a shame that you’re calling someone else stupid.

  24. Sandy Fiocca on

    I always check to see if a seafood is “farm raised” and never buy that kind. At this point I think I would rather buy gulf shrimp and risk petroleum contamination, than the farm raised, esp. from the eastern countries. We get sock-eye from a mail order company.

  25. Art Gregoire on

    I no longer eat bacon or any pork or beef products but I thought all fish was good for you. I mainly eat chicken or fish in moderate portions without fat and calorie loaded sauces and cook with no salt seasonings Just sayin….Feeling a bit confused :( That being said I have lost 80 pounds since Feb 1st eating 5 small meals and following a low carb diet and exercising every day. I have about 10 more pounds to lose. Feeling Successful :)

  26. Patsy Hirlston on

    The reference to Leviticus is not applicable today. After Christ’s death on the cross, he took the Old Law out of the way, nailing it to the cross. Since Christ’s death, we are in the Christian age and under His law, New Testament. No restrictions on what we eat is found in the New Testament. Two laws as in two wills cannot be in effect at the same time. The latter law or will is, of course, the one you follow.

  27. RN Ghosh on

    From Dr Axe’s descriptions on reasons for avoiding Tilapia are primarily due to the feed it gets. What about home grown tilapia that eats algae, azolla, and home made food (wheat, de oiled seed cake, rice bran). I am cultivating these in two tanks and seem to have a continuous supply of fish for the table.

    Will the Tilapia still be a health hazard ?

  28. RN Ghosh on

    I think I will Axe Dr Axe’s method of putting the above topic. One cannot build an argument on a partial truth. Yes, worse than bacon if the input is what Dr Axe says, but is not a universal argument.

    It may be a good idea to read the below which is what I just did after I posted the earlier comment

    • Jordy Velez on

      farmed fish are usually fed corn, which lowers omega 3 and raises omega 7 which is actually bad for you. a lot of problems with feeding corn to animals such as chickens and cows as well. do you know our beef is washed in ammonia to kill e. coli which only develops in beef raised on corn? do you know 99% of our tilapia comes from china where its used to clean the rivers and streams of human feces. That tilapia is not allowed to be sold as food to the Chinese so they ship it here. I started raising tilapia at home, eats mostly vegetation and I know what my fish eat, so I know what I eat. got my tilapia from

  29. Joe on

    I pond and tank raise tilapia and can say this article is complete fabrication. We carefully hand sort fish looking for sick or diseased fish regularly. We NEVER use antibiotics or hormones the entire premise is flawed. There is such a small profit margin on tilapia that the expense would put any tilapia farmer out of business. We protect against disease with a mild salt solution rinse as that will kill every fresh water parasite. Where I can not speak to imported tilapia I can speak to tilapia raised in the states. There are strong state guidelines in every state concerning mammal wastes in aqua farming. The risks of contamination and regulations make it prohibitive to even consider such nonsense. Most of us raise Tilapia in a closed system using the fish wastes to fertilize organic grow tanks where we in turn grow duckweed and other plant matter that is in turn the sole food source for tilapia. Tilapia are herbivores the fiction that farms feed them animal bi-product is fictitious to the extreme, once again why would anyone spend profits of a animal feed when they can easily as a bi-product grow all the organic feed they need with zero cost involved.

    Personally find this entire article to sensationalist bullshit.

    • ss on

      Do you sell your fish to Long John Silvers,Captain Dees,Any other huge multi-million dollar restaurants? He is talking about Monsanto.The big corporate industry’s that own farms.It is true and its not just fish.We are not talking about small family farms.

    • Scott on

      I could not agree more. My initial brood stock came from a pond, it took 3 days in a tank to clean out their system which turned clean water disgusting. Since then we feed only natural high protein vegetable food.

  30. Francisco Murillo on

    Interesting that only the first point refers to tilapia, while the others make very general comments about other species. For additional information about the unfortunate Wake Forest study please read this article

  31. Megan on

    On an episode of “Dirty Work” they featured a place that raised many types of fish. The Tilapia was the Feces eating fish and was used in all the areas to “clean” the areas of all the fish. Then they sold it to the public to eat! GROSS! I’ll never Eat Tilapia or any other Farm Raised Fish! Yes I know our oceans are getting more polluted but it’s a better option!

  32. Mike Pfirrman on

    The only sustainable wild caught Salmon is priced around $30 per pound, so if you’re not paying close to that, it’s not wild, sustainable salmon. Most people that sound alarmist warnings don’t even know that. There’s only one kind of salmon from one river in Alaska that’s wild and sustainable.

  33. Kojack70 on

    Wow…what exactly is wrong with bacon? I love bacon and I buy the uncured, no nitrate/ nitrite, no hormones or antibiotics bacon. To deprive yourself of such a simple pleasure as bacon is purely unacceptable.

    • Wandile on

      Well its clear that this article is biased. farmed fish has its benefits. As a Food Technologist the is reason bacon is cured and curing bacon or sausage have no implications on customers.

      • Rebecca on

        Well, the title is an attention-grabber and it does not really represent what the article is actually about. However, just to clarify (from my understanding,) the statement reaches out to people who are avoiding bacon for its fatty content and possibly eating tilapia instead, since they heard fish is good for you and tilapia is cheap. So, in that regard, the title is appropriate. It is saying “if you are trying to eat healthy, clean meat, or reduce the fat in your diet, tilapia won’t help you and can hurt your health.” If fish were farmed under cleaner and less populated conditions, without the added pesticides and antibiotics, I am sure they wouldn’t have so many health problems. But, as it is, it’s easier to just avoid farm-raised fish, especially tilapia. It seems to be the McDonald’s burger of beef. Fast, quick, easy, and without much concern for the consequences.

  34. Eve on

    The title for this post is highly misleading since it doesn’t even talk so much about eating tilapia in general, but just farmed FISHES. Wasted 5 minutes of my time to realize this post had nothing to do with title and bold statements made.

    You should correct it so you don’t mislead people. Instead of putting “eating tilapia is worse than eating bacon,” you should be putting “eating FARMED tilapia is worse than eating bacon”. Heck I think you should even put “eating FARMED FISHES are worse than eating bacon” since you talk generally about the farmed fish population.

    • Leyla on

      Tilapia is a farmed fish not a sea fish. I am sure you will not expect to get catfish from the ocean

  35. Scott on

    Not once did I see the comparison and contrast with pork. Pork which is known to have worms in the meat. Pork, which must be cooked to 165F to make sure it does not poison you. Pork which by its very nature is a filthy animal and cannot be consumed by millions of people due to religious beliefs. Really you want to compare tilapia to bacon? Next you’re going to try to sell me a bridge.

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