Snakeoil Salesmen at it Again

The sensational story about tilapia seen this week in the “Healthy Food Team” and “Danified.com” is nothing short of embarrassing. The alarmist article dispenses hyperbole about tilapia that has been debunked and discredited by doctors, dietitians, and scientists years ago. However, it shouldn’t necessarily come as a surprise, these are the same websites claiming the combination of salt and oil will make you “not feel pain for couple of years” and that their Homemade Apple Vinegar Recipe is “Proven to Melt Fat!” (Hmmm…might Dr. Oz run their editorial board?)

Questions about the healthfulness of tilapia, one of America’s most-consumed fish, have been asked and answered. In fact, the very scientist, Dr. Floyd Chilton of Wake Forest University, who got the conversation started about tilapia in 2008 when he compared omega-6 and omega-3 levels in the fish, has said on-the-record, that his comments about tilapia were taken out of context. “We never intended to paint tilapia as the cause of anything bad. Our goal was to provide consumers with more information about their fish.”

Furthermore, after Dr. Chilton’s study saw a misguided and confused media reaction, an impressive panel of 16 doctors spoke out about the issue to clarify that fish like tilapia are low in total and saturated fat, high in protein and clearly part of a healthy diet.

Additionally, a pair of registered dietitians at the world-renowned Mayo Clinic also weighed in after the Wake Forest paper and the media reaction. In their Nutrition-wise blog they wrote, “Does this mean you should give [tilapia] up? No!” “My take? I’m going to continue to eat fish — at least twice weekly. I’m going to choose a variety of fatty fish — including tilapia.”

For a well-balanced, heart-healthy diet, eat a variety of seafood, including tilapia. And yes, I’m sorry to report that there is also likely no basis in the truth for Danified.com’s article “Drinking water on an empty stomach can help get rid of deadly diseases.” Don’t shoot the messenger.