a fish stand amongst millions of others in the world...
Everyone agrees, we should eat fatty fish often. Even experts are recommending we eat, at least, 2 portions every week, and that we favour fish rather than red meat.
The reason is quite simple. Since most people consume conventional meat from factory-raised animals, it truly makes sense to make a shift in our diet. thanks to the paleo movement and paleo-led ketogenic diet (what I called a recycled paleo diet. e.g. Atkins diet now claims to be a ketogenic diet, all the while recommending more than 175 grams of protein daily, which — in all honesty — can never lead to dietary ketosis, because the excess protein is converted to sugar. But, as it is often the case, people are blindly following the 'experts'), a majority of people eat meat every day, mostly every meal and snack.
The very issue with 'factory' red meat is that — as the name implies — we consume meat products from animals that have been fed an obesogenic diet (feeds made of GMO grain flours, unsold human food, and quite frankly a lot of rubbish), are sick and tired, and literally dying by the time they are sent to slaughter. Like we observe in humans, grains are a major concern when it comes to disease because, more often than not, feeds are contaminated with mycotoxins (byproducts of fungi) putting the animal's immune system on high alert, residues of pesticides and other derivatives form the petrochemical industry.(1, 2)
Today, with intense farming, fish are condemned to suffer the same ordeal, often packed in their thousands, swimming in their own faeces, and diseased (farmed fish is well-known to carry lice that can contaminate wild fish as they escape. over 20,000 fish are believe to escape farms every year).(3)
Farmed fish is fed grain flours (processed foods made out of poultry meal and fat, soy, wheat, corn, rapeseed oil), none of which belongs in its diet. And so, it is not surprising that this obesogenic diet (and the condition in which they live) is killing them and that fish are either dead or dying by the time they are pulled out from the sea.
This has a major consequence on the nutritional value of the fish as well. As discussed in previous article (3), the ratio of omega-3-to-omega-6 is greatly altered and the ration of wild fish is nearly 300% more than farm fish, making farmed salmon a toxic meat because if contains a greater amount of pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids, when it should contain a greater level of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.
And so customers are lured to believe that salmon is still the miraculous food and with the explosion of sushi bars (and plastic-wrapped sushi platter sold in supermarkets with a use-by- date of 5 days), the explosion of salmon farming. And we wonder why we pay just a couple of pounds for a tray of sushi. Because to keep price low, fish farms 'grow' many more fish at once and feed them an obesognic diet so that they can grow twice as fast and weight more. The more the fish weight, the more it can be sold. That is because we continue to buy everything by the weight. If we were to buy by the piece, none of these 'health-damaging' farming methods would exist. Chicken breasts would be as small as the plan of a hand, and salmon free to grow at its own pace.
One of the other issue with farmed salmon is the colour of its flesh. No longer pink as it should. A diet high in krill, plankton and gives wild salmon its beautiful dark-pink colour. A fat farmed salmon appears more whiteish because it contains more fat and lack naturally-pigmented krill (or other astaxanthin-rich foods) in its diet.
While farmed fish shows greater levels of some nutrients like Vitamin A and Bs, it is because their diet in enriched in synthetic vitamins. They are twice as fat, contain less calcium, potassium, and iron and more phosphorus and sodium. Typically 1 fillet of wild salmon is around 562 kcal, while the same fillet is around 824 kcal for farm fish, with a fat content of 26 grams against 54 grams of fat for farmed fish.
To change the colour of farmed salmon, most fish farmers add pigmenting compounds to the food they give their salmon, so that the fish achieve the same deep pink colour that wild salmon get naturally from the crustaceans and other food in their environment. Without the chemicals in their feed, the farm-raised salmon would naturally be white — not an appealing look to customers seeking the classically reddish-pink fish.“If we didn’t do it, customers wouldn’t buy it,” said Read, who runs West Creek Aquaculture, a British Columbia-based fish farm. “Consumers buy what they’re familiar with. Consumers buy what they are comfortable with. They won’t go into the store to buy white salmon.”
The issue is that the synthetic astaxanthin farmed salmon received is derived from the petroleum industry. Again, nothing closely related to nature.
"This stress and lack of exercise also often makes the flesh of farmed salmon grey and flabby. But instead of improving the lives of the fish in their care, by offering them more space and a better diet, fish farmers can instead pick and mix from an additive colour chart to dye the fish a more customer-appealing colour — which then demands a higher price...
"Farmed fish are denied both these things [diet and exercise], so they're unnaturally dosed with artificial astaxanthin to make them look wild." writes Animal Australia.(4)
If we know that almost 90% of the salmon sold in supermarkets is farmed, this raises a greater reason for alarm.
"Concerned that the chemical being fed to farmed salmon to give them their bright hue may also be harming people's eyesight, the maximum amount of artificial colouring allowed in the fish by the EU is to be slashed by a factor of three. The pigment at the centre of the scare, canthaxanthin, is also fed to chickens to give their skin and eggs a brighter yellow complexion; the maximum authorised levels for poultry will also be cut." warned the Guardian as far as 2013.(5)
Research from the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future revealed how disease-ridden fish farms in Asia, where pig and chicken faeces serve as a cheaper alternative to standard fish food (tilapia being the worse of all fish). While the FDA vehemently denied any of these goings-on, the Johns Hopkins investigation revealed only 2 percent of imported seafood to the US is actually tested for contamination. As it is the case in factory animals, experts worry that the large amounts of antibiotics given to the fish to ward off infections may give rise to antibiotic-resistant bugs.
Analysis from salmon bought in stores from Edinburgh to Seattle, a team led by Ronald Hites, PhD, of Indiana University, found that the farmed product contained up to 8 times more PCBs — cancer-causing industrial chemicals that were banned in the 1970s — than the wild variety. Other chemicals found in farmed fish include dioxins from herbicides and many more toxic chemicals (remains from sanitising products used to clean between each batch and from low-grade feed from GMO and/or containing various levels of residues of pesticides)
If it wasn't enough, to trick consumers, plastic-wrapped fish is gassed with carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide treatment results in the formation of carboxymyoglobin in fish flesh that alters or fixes the color of the fish. It’s relatively stable when frozen and can last beyond the shelf-life of the fish.
While the treatment helps retain the color of the fish and may even help deepen it, carbon monoxide treatment doesn’t retain the quality of the fish. This can easily trick consumers into buying fish that is well into realm of spoilage, and so it is vert difficult to judge of the quality of fish just by just looking at it.
That's why I would always advise to buy whole fish from a fish counter and never ever buy plastic-wrapped fish. Including, sushi trays.
1. Swamy, HV. et al. (2004). Effects of feeding blends of grains naturally contaminated with Fusarium mycotoxins on growth and immunological parameters of broiler chickens. Poultry Science Association. 83(4), pp. 533-543. doi:10.1093/ps/83.4.533
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