Here's the dish on the fish! I'm sure you've heard of and have even consumed the infamous tilapia fish, but I bet you don't know how unhealthy it truly is! Having eaten this fish, or lack there of, for 9 months straight when I competed as an athlete in my younger days, I gained a great deal of knowledge of tilapia. Consumers do not know the reality behind tilapia and more shockingly it's falsity of being a healthier alternative for meals. Did you know tilapia technically isn't a real fish? Are you familiar with the term 'genetically engineered'? Well there you have it! I will thoroughly break this down for you, but I can promise, after reading these cold hard facts you will NEVER eat this so called fish again.
Stay in the know, stay informed, and more importantly know where your food comes from and what the breeding and/or harvesting process consists of. Did you know you cannot find tilapia in the wild? Tilapia is a farm raised genetically engineered fish, meaning man has created the fish and its environment. Many fisheries who supply grocery stores and fish markets aren't what you'd believe them to be either. The prison systems are in business to not only house criminals, but also drive revenue. You're asking yourself, how does this relate to tilapia right? Those fisheries that supply your food markets are located and sourced within prisons. Yes, its highly likely inmates are breeding that fish you're planning to prepare for dinner. Although this may seem like the worst case scenario, I can assure you it is not.
The term "responsibly farm raised" can hold value to a food, but with tilapia you're taking a chance regardless, due to the lack of a natural sourced breed of fish. Tilapia is the worst of fish because of this, but other species like that of red snapper and salmon are too, being replaced and often imitated by tilapia. I'm baffled by this and utterly disgusted that tilapia is not truly a fish, yet it is being portrayed as one and a healthy food as well. This merely exemplifies the great decline in our food sourcing and quality worldwide. In addition, restaurants in many cases aren't aware of the source for the food they sell or what the breeding to consumption process entails.
As I write this entry I cringe, but I will continue to explain because my mission is to educate others to live a healthier life. Informing those who do not know is a priority, always, especially with tilapia because of the unhealthy craze. Typically tilapia is sold everywhere and for peanuts. As a consumer we think less expensive, white, low fat fish, this is healthy right? You couldn't be further from the truth! Tilapia isn't considered a bottom feeder, but they can and will eat anything. As a breeder or farmer, cutting costs is the goal to maximize profit. With this, tilapia are generally fed chicken and/or pig feces as their diet. Now let that digest. That is not all! Tilapia more times than none are left to breed in over crowded environments causing more issues while being exposed to genetic modification and antibiotics. The idea of eating fish in general is typically for nutrients, yet tilapia really lacks any nutrient values. Having low omega 3 fatty acids (good fats) and high omega 6 fatty acids (bad fats) alone make it a no-brainer. One of the 6 omega fatty acids, arachidonic, has been linked to Alzheimer's Disease. The risk of cancer heightens as well from consuming this creature; being up to 10x more likely to carry carcinogens because of the farm raised approach and what they're fed. Now for someone like myself who consumed this years ago without prior knowledge to the negatives, I was alarmed by this last fact. The toxic chemical compound dioxin, is found in tilapia, meaning once consumed dioxin enters the body and takes years to clear from the system, leading to the possibility of long term damage.
Over the years I've purchased fish from every chain supermarket and many independent fish markets, but I've come to learn first Whole Foods and second Trader Joe's are best among grocery stores and ultimately my go to sources for fish. It's always best to go directly to a fish market or fishery when purchasing fish, but when you don't have the resource, those two stores have excellent ratings and you're able to track and know the origin location and process your fish has endured. I also suggest checking out local markets that have vendors like local fisheries who sell directly from their seasonal catch in neighboring waters, that way you know it's local and wild caught. Do your research even outside of the fish industry, you should know where ALL of your food or anything you consume for that matter originates and the entire process from breeding to consumption.
Sustainable Wild-Caught Seafood