Tag Archives: Foods

Is Farmed Fish Beneficial or Harmful to Health?

December 7th, 2018
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Is Farmed Fish Beneficial or Harmful to Health?

The debate of farm-raised fish vs. wild-caught fish has persisted since the dawn of the aquaculture industry. Many fish farms have appeared in recent years to meet the world’s increasing demand for fish, but there are distinct differences in the nutritional value of fresh-caught fish and farm-raised fish.

There are valid arguments on both sides of this debate. On one side, farmed fish helps meet the demand for fish at a lower cost than fresh-caught fish, while also preventing the destruction caused by commercial fishing. Wild-caught fish typically offer better nutritional value, but commercial fishing has already damaged the world’s ocean ecosystems to staggering levels.

Benefits of Farm-Raised Fish

Farmed fish generally subsist on a cheap diet of corn and soy. While this offers little in nutritional value, it does help keep prices manageable. Unfortunately, the drawbacks of farmed fish far outweigh the perceived benefits.

Potential Drawbacks of Farmed Fish

Supporters of fish farming primarily claim that fish farms reduce the need for commercial fishing operations that damage different fishes’ natural habitats and wild fish populations. However, fish farms have the potential to cause serious ecological damage. Fish kept in farms typically spend their lives in very tightly packed pens, making it easy for sickness, diseases, and parasites to spread in farm populations.

Sickness and parasites from farmed fish can also affect the surrounding wild fish populations. For example, a sea lice infestation recently wiped out roughly 80% of the pink salmon population off the coast of Western Canada*. This contamination could easily affect local wild fish populations which will then harm the predatory species that depend on those fish as food sources, such as birds, bears, and killer whales.

Some predatory farmed fish like salmon also require enormous amounts of feeder fish like mackerel and anchovies. For example, it can take as much as two pounds of feeder fish for every pound of farm-raised salmon. This puts incredible strain on the anchovy and other feeder fish populations, which have faced overfishing nearly to the brink of extinction. Ultimately, fish farming is one of the least sustainable forms of fishing and poses significant risks to the environment and consumer health.

Imported Fish Risks

Another serious risk of eating farmed fish arises with foreign-sourced fish. For example, there are no health and safety inspectors overseeing the fishing industry in China, and some Chinese fish farm workers have reported appalling conditions at many Chinese fish farms**. Some workers have reported sewage in fish pens, rampant disease, filthy working conditions, and dyes used to conceal contaminated fish.

Why Go for Fresh-Caught?

Unless you buy fish directly from a fish farm and have confidence they use safe and healthy practices, there is simply no way to tell where the farmed fish in your grocery store came from. Many farmed fish can be some of the most toxic food in the average store, depending on its source. It’s ultimately better to choose wild-caught fish whenever possible. It may be more expensive, but it is healthier than farmed fish and discourages the fish farming industry from persisting.

Better, Natural Nutrition

Wild-caught fish survive on a natural diet, which can include smaller prey fish, ocean-based plants, algae, and other natural foods. This leads to healthier development, and fish in the wild may roam and move as they please rather than contending with the hyper-confinement of a pen at a fish farm. Penned fish generally experience severe stress during their entire lives, increasing the chances of infections and other health issues and diminishing their nutritional value.

Devastating Struggling Ecosystems

Fish is a highly sought-after food due to its perceived nutritional value, but wild-caught fish offer significant nutritional benefits over farmed fish. For example, one of the most commonly farmed fishes in the world is tilapia, one of the most farmed fish in the world. Many people avoid tilapia due to its generally unsavory reputation and potential health risks, but choosing wild-caught salmon puts strain on the wild salmon population.

Tilapia nutrition is a far cry from the dietary value of wild-caught salmon, and wild-caught salmon is harder to procure. Naturally, the salmon will cost much more. This creates incentive for commercial fishing operations to capitalize on fish in high demand, but they in turn devastate existing wild fish populations. This approach may not be as harmful as fish farming, but it isn’t sustainable either.

Finding Out Which Fish Is Right For You

If your main concern is nutritional value then avoiding farmed fish is your best option. This may be more expensive, but take the time to shop around your area to see the types of fresh fish available. This will be more difficult in some areas than others due to distance from the ocean and shipping issues.

Some fish provide more health benefits than others, and some people may benefit from different types of fish. For example, some wild fish have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids while others have higher protein content.

Schedule Your Nutritional Assessment Today

If you are unsure about your fish options, the Dietary Rehab team can help. The best way to approach nutrition is with an individualized breakdown of your unique nutritional needs. Preexisting medical conditions, allergies, and food sensitivities are important considerations when developing a diet plan.

A nutritional assessment can help you with your dietary and weight loss goals. If you’re looking for ways to improve your overall health or boost your immune system, an assessment can help with this, too. Visit Dietary Rehab online and learn more about our dietary counseling services and how they can help you.

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Is the Whole 30 Diet Healthy for the Long Term?

November 30th, 2018
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Is the Whole 30 Diet Healthy for the Long Term

One of the most popular new diets is the “Whole 30” diet, a program that entails extensive dietary restrictions with the promise of “resetting” the body’s many systems. Although many people have reported positive results and the program developer has boasted about over 100,000 satisfied customers since 2009, many dietary researchers and other experts claim the diet could be dangerous or ineffective for many people.

If you’re curious about trying the Whole 30 diet it’s vital to prepare for the restrictions you’ll face. Unlike other diets, the Whole 30 diet functions on a 30-day framework. Following such a restrictive diet beyond the intended 30 days may have negative results.

How the Whole 30 Diet Plan Works

The developers of the program claim that many foods, even seemingly healthy foods, can have adverse effects on various parts of the body that many people may not even realize, which is the basic reasoning behind the Whole 30 diet. The Whole 30 diet, then, aims to remove these potentially harmful foods from the body so the body can repair whatever damage has occurred and the person can make more informed choices about his or her nutrition and diet.

After the 30 days of the dieting period are over, a person on the Whole 30 diet should start gradually reintroducing previously restricted foods by food group and see if any of their health issues return. For example, a person who experiences sleep problems and digestive trouble may notice these symptoms fade during the Whole 30 diet. After reintroducing milk into his or her diet, the person notices those symptoms return. This could be a sign that he or she may have a mild lactose sensitivity that previously went unnoticed.

Restrictions

One of the biggest issues with the Whole 30 diet, for many people, is how restrictive it is. This 30-day diet plan requires a complete refrain from several types of foods, including:

  • Grains. While on the Whole 30 diet you won’t be able to eat bread, cereal, rice, noodles, oats, or even quinoa.
  • Dairy. You can eat no dairy or drink any milk products during the Whole 30 diet. This includes yogurt, ice cream, cheese, and cream.
  • Legumes. Soybeans, peanuts, peanut butter, beans, lentils, and all other legumes are another Whole 30 restriction.
  • Sugar. You must avoid all refined and unrefined sugars during the Whole 30 diet, and this includes artificial sweeteners like stevia and Splenda. You must also avoid maple syrup, agave syrup, honey, coconut sugar, and all other “alternative” sweeteners.
  • Alcohol. Alcoholic beverages are high in calories and some may also have high sugar content. Removing alcohol from your diet for 30 days can also help identify issues that alcohol may be causing in other aspects of life.

Dieting Beyond 30 Days

The Whole 30 diet recommends avoiding checking weight and counting calories during the 30 days. The developers of the program instead recommend focusing on making healthier dietary choices and paying close attention to the effects of reintroducing different foods after the 30 days are over.

Once the 30 days are over, a person on the Whole 30 may notice that certain foods cause problems that bothered them before starting the diet. Now he or she knows to avoid or limit those foods in the future while enjoying other previously restricted foods.

Potential Problems With the Whole 30 Diet

One of the major criticisms of the Whole 30 diet is that it deprives a person of some very important nutrients from the restricted food groups. Legumes are a fantastic source of plant-based protein. Grains provide fiber for easier digestion, and dairy is a very important source of vitamin D and calcium. Some health researchers suggest that the harm of 30 days of deprivation of these vital nutrients eclipses the potential good the diet may do.

Some dietitians also criticize the diet for promoting meat consumption, which many health experts agree is a generally bad decision, and most people should limit meat consumption. The diet also encourages you to eat healthy diet foods including seafood, vegetables, some fruits, nuts, seeds, and foods with minimal ingredients.

Working a Whole 30 Regimen Into Your Regular Diet

The Whole 30 diet may not be ideal for a long-term meal plan, but as a 30-day diet meal plan it may have positive results for some people. Before starting any diet it’s important to consult a physician about potential health risks, preexisting conditions, food sensitivities or any other issues that may complicate the diet. It’s also a good idea to develop a healthy diet plan that incorporates a wide range of the available foods you can eat.

Whole 30 Recipes for You to Try

The Whole 30 diet plan may be restrictive, but it could also provide the opportunity to try new foods or new twists on old favorites. Results can vary, and 30 days is a relatively short time to give a new diet a try, so with some proper planning and a few new recipes to try, the Whole 30 diet may offer relief from symptoms that have bothered you for a while.

The Whole 30 diet may offer some quick weight loss and help you identify problems in your current diet, but it’s important to plan and execute any new diet safely. At Dietary Rehab, we know how challenging it can be to stick to a new diet, especially one that is as restrictive as the Whole 30 diet.

Dietary Rehab features several fantastic and healthy recipes you can try online. Check out some of these ideas and think about ways to build your own 30 day diet plan with the Whole 30 system.

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