Health Benefits of Eliminating Fish - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 08-11-2015, 10:34 AM
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Health Benefits of Eliminating Fish

The health benefits of fish are regularly touted in the media. While meat and dairy are being increasingly exposed as harmful to health, almost everyone you speak to still believes that fish is some kind of miracle health food.

Yet a number of now high profile Dr's argue for a fully plant based diet specifically for its health benefits. Red meat is increasingly receiving the thumbs down and now dairy (once 'needed' for healthy bones) is being exposed as seriously problematic.

The only animal food which still seems to be promoted as a health food is fish. I'd like to better understand the arguments against this popularly held belief.

In particular I'd like to better understand the animal protein causing 'inflammation' thing. I'm pretty foggy on this, but so far as I understand, all forms of animal protein are 'inflammation causing'.

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#2 Old 08-11-2015, 01:11 PM
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Fish are by far most peoples biggest source of poisonous organic mercury, its also an excellent source of poisonous dioxins, banned pesticides, PCB's, and various other industrial wastes.
The ocean is the worlds toilet, and how many of us would think it healthy to eat something flopping around in a bus station toilet?
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In particular I'd like to better understand the animal protein causing 'inflammation' thing. I'm pretty foggy on this, but so far as I understand, all forms of animal protein are 'inflammation causing'.
Animal protein is used as a marker for animal flesh consumption. Its the animal flesh that causes inflammation.
Think of it like this, the more power lines there are in a neighborhood the more likely you are to get mugged in that neighborhood. That doesnt mean the power lines mug you
It used to be they used saturated fat as a measure of peoples animal flesh consumption. It was more accurate than questionnaires because you could suck out some blood and see, with a reasonable margin of error, how much meat people really ate. Meat was shown to cause heart disease. Confused journalists and inept scientists misunderstood the papers published on it and said saturated fat caused heart disease. People began eating lean meats and had just as much heart disease, but less saturated fat intake. Stuff like that happens all the time. In another example it was observed that tomato eaters seemed to have less prostate cancer. Again, questionnaires are notoriously inaccurate so researchers tested peoples blood for lycopene, since the tomato accounts for over 90% the lycopene intake of most westerners, just to see who was eating tomatoes and how much. People misinterpreted the data, thinking lycopene prevented prostate cancer (despite the established fact that tomatoes have alkaloids known to kill cancer) and lycopene pills became a billion dollar industry. After 20 years someone bothered to test it and lycopene itself causes prostate cancer.

People claim fish is healthy because an extinct foodways culture from the mediterranean which was based mostly on fresh nutrient dense vegetables included a moderate quantity of fish, and those extinct people had little heart disease.
It could just as easily be attributed to dandelions or figs, but people love excuses to eat animals.
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#3 Old 08-11-2015, 01:13 PM
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I know that pregnant women are advised against eating fish, so it can't be that healthy if it's potentially dangerous to a fetus.
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#4 Old 08-12-2015, 08:35 AM
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Thanks for this. I had a quick read up on the PCB issue, and it seems that oily fish in particular (the kind of fish most promoted for its health benefits) is the worst offender, which is a tad ironic.
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#5 Old 08-12-2015, 11:00 AM
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i'll suggest taking a look at dr. michael greger's site, nutritionfacts.org.

here is his take on fish
http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/fish/

dr. greger tends toward hyperbole, but he does have some interesting insights. also he is entertaining.
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#6 Old 08-12-2015, 04:36 PM
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eh.. I still think fish are healthy. Major health organizations still tout it as healthy don't they
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#7 Old 08-12-2015, 06:48 PM
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Enough said?
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#8 Old 08-13-2015, 12:17 AM
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Originally Posted by cuberail View Post
i'll suggest taking a look at dr. michael greger's site, nutritionfacts.org.

here is his take on fish
http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/fish/

dr. greger tends toward hyperbole, but he does have some interesting insights. also he is entertaining.
Thanks for these, I like the videos with citations.
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#9 Old 08-13-2015, 01:41 AM
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I think that Auxin covered a lot of the fish health myths.

There's a big difference in how we eat fish today and how we ate fish 200 years ago. Oily fish is problematic because it contains a lot of pollutants (mercury being the big one). Salmon, which is mostly farmed, has it's own problems. With any farmed meat you immediately start to have problems with the conditions the animals are kept in (ignoring the ethical issue for a moment here) which necessitate the addition of unnatural foods and antibiotics.

Even the big institutions are being cautious in how much fish they recommend we eat these days. Also we don't need to eat meat to survive ... especially not in the western world where most of us can access supplements to ensure we're not deficient.

As for the inflammatory thing (and this is why I am vegetarian) - I posted this article recently
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/heal...ists-find.html
Also the Daily Mail (a lot of scaremongering here but this time they weren't wrong
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/ar...ule-blame.html

Some more links

The British Heart Foundation
https://www.bhf.org.uk/heart-matters...hOEaAmJu8P8HAQ
NHS
http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/...shellfish.aspx

And in the news
The Telegraph (as far back as 2004)
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/heal...d-herring.html
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#10 Old 08-13-2015, 08:47 AM
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Some things to consider outside of the health related repercussions of the environmental impacts of commercial fishing ( our fisheries are collapsing in many cases or have collapsed in some cases too )

-bioaccumulation of toxins in large pelagic species is very high. Organizations like Oceanwise etc touch more on environmental issues but also should touch on toxic load.

-farmed fish are often fed questionable feedstocks. Check your supply for GMO's, deep sea trawling bycatch etc.

-This may not be what you are looking for but I also do feel the karmic debt of taking a life impacts health and wellbeing.


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#11 Old 08-26-2015, 09:49 AM
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I think the problem with fish is mostly about the polluted waters and the unnatural food they're fed, which in turn is reflected on the nutritional profile of the fish. The toxins, I believe, are the biggest problem. Plus I don't like the greedy and irresponsible fish production going on today — either unnatural, harmful farming methods or overfishing.

I do eat fish in moderation, choosing as good as I can get in terms of environmental toxin content and responsibility. I like that it as a wholefood source of B12, EPA and DHA. I have contemplated my ethical stand on this and for now I have deemed this the best solution for me.

According to many experts, the benefits of fish still outweigh the harm, but it's a tough question! I'm definitely open to new research on the subject. But as I said, all fish is not equal!

And this is what I have understood from my years of getting familiar with the subject: The inflammation thing is about balance. A certain amount of inflammation is necessary for the immune system to do its job, for example. And nutrition is affects it on so many levels. Adequate intake of vitamins and minerals and all essential nutrients, certain additional compounds in food, like antioxidant phytochemicals also play a role. As do toxins (environmental, those formed in cooking, etc), radiation and such. And the balance of many nutrients, and the combination of them — many antioxidants work synergistically with each other, for example. It's also said that the balance of omega-3s (like EPA and DHA) and omega-6 fatty acids is also very important, not just the amount but the ratio. Likewise, almost all lifestyle aspects influence inflammation: exercise (too little, too much), stress, sleep, air quality and pretty much anything!

It's definitely not black and white and there are a lot of unanswered questions, and it's not easy to know what solution's best. I believe food quality is often overlooked, and I'm not a fan of sorting foods into good and bad foods, or nutrients either. It's a more intricate web of relationships. Of course, SOME things I think really are bad, like mass-produced meat that involves unethical treatment of animals. Personally, I don't eat meat, but I don't believe meat as such is bad, nor fish as such. A fresh, wild-caught fish from pure regions (if such still exists!) cannot be compared to industrially farmed fish fed a diet unsuitable to fish, at least in my books. Then, how much fish you eat and what other things you eat in addition to it (so how it affects your ratio and balance of things) and how you cook it also make the world of difference.

With the tons we still don't even know about food, I like to rely on wholesome, well-produced food and my instincts, taking what wisdom I can out of the modern research but without getting too caught up in the debates on some details. I like to look at traditional diets that has provided health to the people eating it and taking some lessons from that. I personally think it's best to choose nutritious, mostly natural wholefoods that are also ethically produced. What that means in practice naturally varies from person to person depending on their views, individual physical aspects, life situation, preferences, where you live etc.

Oh dear, long stuff!
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#12 Old 08-26-2015, 01:50 PM
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Ellekatila, please don't defend eating fish here. We are vegetarians, and we come here to get away from that kind of talk. Thanks.
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#13 Old 08-26-2015, 02:17 PM
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I do eat fish in moderation
Personally, I don't eat meat
The two statements are contradictory. You can only choose one.
Fish trees aren't real!
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#14 Old 08-26-2015, 08:55 PM
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Ellekatila, please don't defend eating fish here. We are vegetarians, and we come here to get away from that kind of talk. Thanks.
I'm so sorry if I came across a bit wrong! And I completely understand that. Fish eating is a question I myself sometimes struggle with as I'm not quite sure about my stand there, as I said for me it's been a tough one. I mostly eat it when I'm having dinner at someone else's place. I'm a pescetarian but I avoid farmed fish.

I didn't mean to defend fish eating per se, just take up different arguments like pros AND cons as the person who started this thread was wondering about the arguments leading to the confusion going on and it's something I have wondered myself.

Again, my sincere apologies, I didn't mean to annoy anyone It's a problematic question really!
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#15 Old 08-26-2015, 08:57 PM
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The two statements are contradictory. You can only choose one.
Fish trees aren't real!
And yes, that's true I was a bit unclear with my terms, sorry! I'm a pescetarian (though I rarely do eat fish and as I said, I'm still contemplating that) so I just meant red and white meat or all other meat and I don't eat dairy either
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#16 Old 08-27-2015, 10:09 AM
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And yes, that's true I was a bit unclear with my terms, sorry! I'm a pescetarian (though I rarely do eat fish and as I said, I'm still contemplating that) so I just meant red and white meat or all other meat and I don't eat dairy either

Do you avoid eggs also? I'm asking because we stumbled upon this question where are there any pescetarians who don't eat eggs or dairy
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#17 Old 08-27-2015, 05:39 PM
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#18 Old 08-27-2015, 06:44 PM
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I hope @ellekatila stays, i think she has a lot to offer, and can easily give up fish
I was thinking it must be very different in Scandinavia than here--the way people fish that is.
I'm not advocating it, just saying if you're conditioned to fishing and eating fish you wouldn't think of it as being necessarily painful and unnecessary
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#19 Old 08-28-2015, 02:33 AM
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I hope @ellekatila stays, i think she has a lot to offer, and can easily give up fish
I was thinking it must be very different in Scandinavia than here--the way people fish that is.
I'm not advocating it, just saying if you're conditioned to fishing and eating fish you wouldn't think of it as being necessarily painful and unnecessary
I hope she stays too silva. I sense in her posts that she is really thinking about vegetarianism and the issues surrounding eating fish and is on the fence, which is why I chose to leave her posts here.
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#20 Old 08-29-2015, 09:26 AM
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I hope she stays too silva. I sense in her posts that she is really thinking about vegetarianism and the issues surrounding eating fish and is on the fence, which is why I chose to leave her posts here.
+ @silva (I hope the tag works I'm the worst with all this technical stuff!)

Thank you guys as I said I was absolutely not meaning to promote meat eating! And hearing some people understood it that way and were affronted really made me bad for days! I'm new here and if I wrote in a way that came across inappropriate, once again I'm so sorry.

To explain why I wrote what I wrote I want to say that I'm very, VERY passionate about animal rights and everyone close to me knows that. I eat about 90% vegan, and when eating un-vegan, I'm very conscious of choosing ethical-options of eggs and fish. I have always been very interested in it and I'm trying to raise awareness of the problem. Initially, some of my relatives really probably thought I was a bit nuts (in a good way though, I think) and the food culture is quite heavy on dairy and meat. But then again, not too long ago most people here were farmers, and eating mostly just home-produced stuff and with little growing here in the winter I think it's natural. My grandparents were farmers and my aunt and uncle are still keeping the family farm up part-time and they also do a lot of fishing and stuff like that.

My biggest issue with meat and dairy and all animal products is mass-production and the cruel treatment it involves, plus the surplus of it these days. And the lack of appreciation. I understand that my Grandma's view is different from mine as she grew up when it wasn't an issue and hew experience is completely different — stuff grown on an own farm (though I'm not personally quite okay with consuming that either), or even better, wild stuff isn't at all the same as how most animal products are made today (which is just apalling).

But when the beginner of the thread asked about health, I just thought it would make more sense to mention things that might explain why fish is often both promoted and advised against by experts from a purely health perspective. BUT I truly understand if you want to keep that kind of conversation out of here! I really just thought it from a different perspective — trying to answer why the conversation and advise may be so contradictory and messy. But I'm very sorry maybe I expressed myself little bit wrong. Also, why I didn't really think was that in Finland, meat is usually thought of as red and white meat and fish and seafood is another thing (or at least that's how most people around me think of it). But I'm sorry it didn't occur to me of course that's not so everywhere. Just explaining that I wasn't trying to do anything that's not accepted here.

Ethical questions are of course another topic, but if I talk about health with a friend or someone, I just talk about it in as unbiased way as possible, and then make my ethical decisions. Why I don't eat red and white meat and dairy is mostly about ethical issues, though I also feel better without it. But if someone wants to discuss the health aspects of those, I can talk about the good and the bad in them even if I personally don't eat them, but I also want to respect if people don't want to hear about that here, I can of course leave it out of these conversations or just not take part in those but personally, I think it's important to be conscious of what you're leaving out so you can replace it and still have balanced nutrition but as I said, I will of course respect whatever way you prefer to do it here just meant that all this doesn't mean I support such things (though I respect that every person has their own perspective and make their own conclusions and I will never be found judging that.)

I'm very happy to hear someone say they hope I'll stay, it's very wonderful to connect with other like-minded people! As I mentioned, vegetarianism and veganism aren't too common here and most people don't really get it in my experience and I'm sometimes very self-conscious about it especially with my family&relatives as it's so different from their way of eating and dinners together are really precious to me and we spend a lot of time together. But though I think they accept my decisions, it's a bit confusing for them I think and sometimes there isn't anything meat and dairy-free and it's a stupid that I eat just salad though increasingly they are always making something vegetarian for me and I really appreciate it though I sometimes worry I'm causing them extra work. Anyway though I like to talk about health and talk about it objectively I also try to be as ethical as I simply can and that always been how I am but I'm learning everyday and like to keep my mind and heart open

Last edited by ellekatila; 08-29-2015 at 09:54 AM.
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#21 Old 08-29-2015, 09:42 AM
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Do you avoid eggs also? I'm asking because we stumbled upon this question where are there any pescetarians who don't eat eggs or dairy
Despite a lot of effort, I really haven't reached any real conclusion about eggs! I'm trying to learn more about how they are produced and so on. I avoid non-organic eggs for now. I'm just trying to figure out more about how organic eggs are produced and whether there are any ethical issues with it. If there aren't, I probably won't, but most of what I have heard is so contradictory I'm still unsure.

My cousin has chickens but they're mostly just pets (she's 10 and in love with them she always talks about them and spends so much time with them), and in a little home farm and even though they often get eggs from them for their family it's not comparable to the average egg farm But as I said, yet to reach real conclusion but really trying to do my best
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#22 Old 09-01-2015, 11:43 PM
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It's true that the condition of the ocean and fish farms make the quality of fish worse. That doesn't change the fact that fish is a food which is not very suitable for human consumption (for example a healthy fish from a pristine water). The only advantage I can see in terms of health is for people like the Inuit who had no better options available.
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