Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Truth About Tilapia

It turns out that tilapia is not the miracle fish that we’d been looking for (i.e., healthy and cheap), all due to the inevitable meddling of the human race, of course. Now we had no idea, but were listening to the radio and one of the so-called self help gurus mentioned that tilapia was not so healthy after all. We mentioned this to mom, and she did a little research.

It turns out that tilapia is a heavily farmed fish, originally from Africa. It apparently does well in crowded and less than ideal conditions, making it a good candidate for farming. Also, it has a bland flavor, and doesn’t really taste like fish, which the American consumer likes. I noticed from the get-go that the fish was lacking in flavor. The goal of food producers is to make tilapia like chicken from the sea, so much so that it even resembles chicken in that it is somewhat bland.

Now I know the point is to have a sustainable model, but something about farmed fish just seems a little off, even when they’re organically raised. They feed farmed fish all sorts of things that maybe they just weren’t meant to eat, not unlike the meat industry on dry land, particularly beef. Farm raised fish tend to get things like soy or grains, and their meat tends to reflect this diet. As a consequence, tilapia may be a good source of protein, but their omega-3 content seems to suffer. It’s complicated, but R mentioned that if you’re eating tilapia to get good fish oils, you may be barking up the wrong tree. The gold standard remains wild salmon.

Oh well, back to the drawing board. I wasn’t so thrilled the tilapia, anyway, but it sure was cheap. It just goes to show you, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to roolrool for the pic.

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