If you listen to the experts, you should be cutting out meat and adding more seafood to your diet.
For example: The American Heart Association recommends “eating ﬁsh (particularly fatty ﬁsh) at least two times a week,” presumably to obtain the omega-3 fish oils linked to cardiovascular health.
The American Dietetic Association suggests consumers “Include a variety of seafood more often in place of some meat and poultry.” For older adults, ADA recommends that they “Vary your protein choices. Eat a variety of foods from the protein food group each week, such as seafood, nuts, and beans and peas.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges Americans to “Choose a variety of lean meats and poultry, seafood, beans and peas, eggs, processed soy products.”
Harvard School of Public Health, the self-styled “authority” on all things nutritional, urges its followers to eat lots of fish and seafood because they are “major sources of omega-3 fatty acids and healthful nutrients, such as vitamin D and selenium.” In fact, HSPH states that “eating approximately one to two 3-ounce servings of fatty fish a week—salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies or sardines—reduces the risk of dying from heart disease by 36%.”
Even the hardcore Center for Science in the Public Interest—which eventually finds fault with pretty much every food category for one reason or another—has spent years banging the drum about mercury contamination of seafood (solution: more regulatory oversight, including mandatory recalls and point-of-sale warning labels on fish). That cautionary stance is not something to dismiss, but in between the “Mercury can kill you!” warnings, even CSPI manages to squeeze in a plea for adding “healthy, wild seafood” to one’s everyday diet. “Experts estimate that [eating wild salmon] could save 300 lives for every one death from cancer caused by the contaminants in salmon.”
Yikes. I’m no expert on actuarial statistics, but I guess that’s an acceptable tradeoff.
Last of the forage fish
However, the larger problem with the “eat more seafood instead of meat and poultry” mandate, the one hardly anyone talks about, is this: Every bite you take out of a seafood product takes a bigger bite out of the environment.
That’s not my opinion, that’s the conclusion of a host of scientists who have been tracking the world’s deteriorating fisheries for decades. Part of the problem—obviously—is overfishing in unregulated waters, where giant factory trawlers literally vacuum up the ocean from seabed to surface, decimating target species such as tuna and cod. On top of that, widespread pollution, particularly in the estuarine ecosystems that support so much of the marine food chain, is wreaking havoc with seafood harvests.