When Good Food Goes Bad
Nutritionists advise that we should eat lots of heart-healthy and brain-healthy omega-3 fats, and that salmon is a good source of these. It is true that today's farmed salmon is high in fat, but maybe this isn't such a good thing after all. Wild salmon has a fat content of 6 percent, while its farmed counterpart in 2010 was twice as fatty (12 percent) and by 2017 tipped the scales at triple, a whopping 18 percent fat . That’s higher than most other industrial muscle foods.
Farmed salmon is today comparable to a fatty cut of beef. Seriously, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's FoodData Central, which is considered to be the world's most authoritative database on food components, a scotch fillet (rib eye) steak is 13% fat, a T-bone is 11%, a lamb shank is 15%, centre loin pork chops are 9%, restaurant ham is less than 4%, and a boneless skinless chicken breast is only 3%. Even plain old lean beef mince from the supermarket is only 10% fat. Moreover, many toxic substances accumulate in fat, so foods high in fat can carry a dangerous payload. There’s something you won’t see on the label for farmed salmon, but maybe it should be.
Not only is farmed salmon very high in fat, the nutritional composition of salmon fat isn't as good for us as it used to be. If science were consistent and the world were fair, omega-6 fats would be twice as healthy as omega-3's. But alas, such is not the case. Due to manipulations of the feed ingredients in farmed salmon, the omega-3s are declining while there's been about a ten-fold increase in omega-6s . Omega-6 fats have been associated with inflammation, cardiovascular disease, cancer, dementia, and a host of other chronic illnesses . And if that's not enough to make you sick, consider this. Omega-6 fats interfere with the body's absorption of omega-3s .
So let's take stock:
- Farmed salmon is much lower in healthy omega-3s than it used to be or compared to wild salmon
- It is much MUCH higher in inflammation-promoting omega-6s than we are led to believe
- The omega-6s interfere with absorption of omega-3s
If this offends you, disgusts you, or frightens you, join us in demanding a better product. It is technologically, environmentally, and financially feasible to farm salmon safely and wholesomely. We deserve this.
We have been told that the Tasmanian salmon farming industry considers any such changes to be financially unpalatable. But we argue that any pursuit of profit that causes harm to people and the environment, as well as to the long term viability of the industry itself, is misguided.
Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fats
Image Ewa Urban via Pixabay CC BY 3.0