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Popular Tilapia Might Not Help Heart
Date:7/11/2008

Study finds farm-raised fish has high levels of unhealthy omega-6 fatty acids

FRIDAY, July 11 (HealthDay News) -- The wildly popular farm-raised fish known as tilapia may actually harm your heart, thanks to low levels of healthy omega-3 fatty acids and high levels of unhealthy omega-6 fatty acids.

New research suggests the combination could be particularly bad for patients with heart disease, arthritis, asthma and other diseases involving overactive inflammatory responses.

"If you're in a vulnerable population such as a heart disease patient, you need to be very careful with what you're eating, and that includes everything," said senior study author Dr. Floyd H. Chilton, director of Wake Forest Center for Botanical Lipids, in Winston-Salem, N.C. "But when it comes to fish, there's not a more important thing you can do for heart disease than eat the right type of fish or take dietary fish oil. There is evidence that you may harm yourself by eating the wrong kind of fish, and [farmed] tilapia and catfish are the two that fall into that category."

"I don't think that this is an issue for everyone, any more than eating a hamburger is an issue for everyone," Chilton added.

The study was published in the July issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

As for suppliers, "the industry needs to improve ways of farming fish," said Katherine Tallmadge, a national spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. "The whole idea of farming is a great one, but they're feeding the fish food that's inexpensive, so they can keep the price down, and it's having an adverse effect on the nutritional quality of the fish."

Several health groups, including the American Heart Association, recommend eating two servings of fish a week, preferably fatty fish such as salmon. The reason: primarily to increase omega-3 fatty acids.

But no one has really looked at the nutritional e
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