Debunking Prevention’s Fake Food Facts

Off to a questionable start

When a list of “foods you should never eat” begins with whole wheat bread, you know you are in for a hyperbolic ride. Prevention’s article, 50 Foods You Should Never Eat, According to Health Experts, which was carelessly syndicated by MSN, also suggests avoiding foods like canned tomatoes, non-organic strawberries, apples, green beans, and a handful of seafood products.

Marginalized “experts”

In the slides that discourage readers from seafood, half of the “health experts” appear to have no background whatsoever in health.  The source who says you shouldn’t eat the most popular seafood in America –  shrimp – is the CEO of the ocean conservation group Oceana, Andy Sharpless. His background is in law, economics, and advocacy; not public health or nutrition. Not to mention his day job is to lobby against the seafood industry.  The source cautioning readers about tuna is Philippe Cousteau, an “explorer” and cofounder of EarthEcho – also holding no background in nutrition or health sciences.

Some of the claims do appear to come from sources with health credentials, but – at least in the case of seafood – their advice flies in the face of the latest science and public health recommendations. For example, Doctor Margaret I. Cuomo says you should not eat farmed salmon because of toxins and PCBs. The reality is that Harvard University research finds seafood broadly, not just farmed salmon, makes up only 9% of the PCBs in the average American diet, while products like vegetables make up 20%. Would Dr. Cuomo suggest her patients never eat vegetables? Ironically, in this article teeming with irresponsible advice, the answer might be yes.

Both wild and farmed seafood provide omega-3 fatty acids

Furthermore, a USDA study conducted at the Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center involving farmed salmon reported that “…consuming farm-raised salmon was an excellent way to increase omega-3 fatty acids in the blood to levels that corresponded to reduced heart disease risk.” The bottom line is farmed seafood, including salmon, is something Americans need to eat more of, not less.

Research shows eating more seafood could save your life

A recent study published in JAMA found 10 specific foods and nutrients affect the risk of dying from cardiometabolic disease (CMD). The study found that eating suboptimal levels of 10 foods or nutrients — too much of some and not enough of others — was associated with more than 45% of deaths due to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Not eating enough “seafood-based omega-3 fats” contributed to 7.8% of the CMD deaths – even higher than not eating enough fruits and vegetables.

Perhaps it’s time to do a study on the effects of Prevention’s sub optimal consumption of facts.

For real facts about the role of seafood in the diet, subscribe to the new AboutSeafood YouTube Channel. For facts about seafood during pregnancy, find this comprehensive guide.