Seafood: Are we eating to little or too much?

Rhetoric:Eating too much fish can cause mercury poisoning.


Reality:The World Health Organization estimates that “a billion people rely on fish as their main source of animal proteins.” Even though they consume abundantly more commercial seafood than Americans, they do not suffer from adverse effects or face mercury poisoning epidemics. Rather, they realize greater health benefits.

According to Dr. James McGregor of the USC Keck School of Medicine, “where most fish is eaten … Northern Europe … the Mediterranean area, Japan and the shoreline of Asia, there are different positive trends. … There’s less diabetes … depression … less heart attacks … less stroke.” Meanwhile, declining seafood consumption, and consequently, worsening public health, in Japan is so worrisome to the nation’s government and fishing industry that they are desperately working to reverse the trend.

In America, seafood deficiency is having real and negative consequences for our health. Low seafood consumption is the second-biggest dietary contributor to preventable deaths in the U.S., taking 84,000 lives each year. Although 20 percent of the protein we eat should come from seafood, only 7 percent does. In fact, the average American eats 15 pounds of seafood per year, or less than on meal per week. That puts us at having “one of the lowest [omega-3] DHA levels … in the world. The Sudan in Africa is below us … we’re in comparison to some severely deprived groups,” according to Susan Carlson, Nutrition Scientist at the University of Kansas Medical Center.


It’s time Americans catch up to the rest of the world; our health is at stake.