Tilapia is one inexpensive, mild-flavored fish. The is the 4th most typically consumed form of seafood in the united States.

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Many human being love tilapia due to the fact that it is relatively affordable and also doesn’t taste an extremely fishy.

However, clinical studies have highlighted concerns around tilapia’s fat content. Numerous reports also raise questions neighboring tilapia agriculture practices.

As a result, many people claim that you must avoid this fish altogether and that it may even be harmful to your health.

This short article examines the evidence and also reviews the benefits and also dangers of eat tilapia.

What is tilapia?

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The surname tilapia actually refers to several species of greatly freshwater fish the belong to the cichlid family.

Although wild tilapia are aboriginal to Africa, the fish has been introduced throughout the world and is now farmed in over 135 countries (1).

It is an ideal fish for farming due to the fact that it doesn’t mind being crowded, grow quickly and also consumes a cheap vegetarian diet. These attributes translate to a reasonably inexpensive product contrasted to other species of seafood.

The benefits and dangers of tilapia depend largely on differences in farming practices, which differ by location.

China is by much the world’s largest producer that tilapia. They create over 1.6 million metric tons annually and provide the bulk of the united States’ tilapia imports (2).


Tilapia is the surname for several types of freshwater fish. Although farmed anywhere the world, China is the largest producer of this fish.

It’s great source that protein and also nutrients

Tilapia is a pretty impressive source of protein. In 3.5 ounces (100 grams), it package 26 grams the protein and also only 128 calories (3).

Even an ext impressive is the quantity of vitamins and minerals in this fish. Tilapia is wealthy in niacin, vitamin B12, phosphorus, selenium and also potassium.

A 3.5-ounce serving consists of the following (3):

Calories: 128Carbs: 0 gramsProtein: 26 gramsFats: 3 gramsNiacin: 24% of the RDIVitamin B12: 31% the the RDIPhosphorus: 20% of the RDISelenium: 78% that the RDIPotassium: 20% of the RDI

Tilapia is likewise a lean source of protein, with just 3 grams of fat per serving.

However, the form of fat in this fish contributes come its bad reputation. The following section more discusses the fat in tilapia.


Tilapia is a lean resource of protein the is complete of assorted vitamins and also minerals.

Its omega-6 come omega-3 ratio may result in inflammation

Fish are practically universally taken into consideration one the the healthiest foods on the planet.

One of the main reasons because that this is the fish choose salmon, trout, albacore tuna and also sardines contain large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, wild-caught salmon contains over 2,500 mg of omega-3s every 3.5-ounce (100-gram) offer (4).

Omega-3 fat acids are healthy fats that lower inflammation and also blood triglycerides. Lock have also been linked with a reduced risk the heart condition (5, 6, 7).

The negative news for tilapia is that it only contains 240 mg the omega-3 fatty acids every serving — ten times much less omega-3 than wild salmon (3).

If that wasn’t bad enough, tilapia contains an ext omega-6 fatty acids than it go omega-3.

Omega-6 fat acids are very controversial however generally pertained to as less healthy and balanced than omega-3s. Some civilization even think omega-6 fatty acids have the right to be harmful and also increase inflammation if consumed in excess (8).

The recommended proportion of omega-6 come omega-3 in the diet is commonly as close to 1:1 together possible. Spend fish high in omega-3 choose salmon will more easily assist you meet this target, if tilapia go not market much aid (9).

In fact, several experts caution versus consuming tilapia if you room trying to lower your risk of inflammatory conditions like heart condition (10).


Tilapia has much much less omega-3 than other fish prefer salmon. That is omega-6 come omega-3 proportion is greater than other fish and also may contribute to inflammation in the body.

As customer demand for tilapia continues to grow, tilapia farming provides a cost-effective method of creating a reasonably inexpensive product for the consumer.

However, numerous reports over the previous decade have revealed some concerning details around tilapia farming practices, specifically from ranches located in China.

Tilapia are regularly fed animal feces

One report native the United states Food and also Drug management (FDA) revealed that it is usual for fish farmed in China to it is in fed feces indigenous livestock pets (11).

Although this practice drives down manufacturing costs, bacteria choose Salmonella discovered in pet waste deserve to contaminate the water and increase the hazard of foodborne diseases.

Using pet feces as feed no directly associated with any details fish in the report. However, roughly 73% the the tilapia imported to the unified States comes from China, where this practice is specifically common (12).

Tilapia may be polluted with harmful chemicals

Another short article reported the the FDA rejected over 800 shipping of seafood native China native 20072012, including 187 shipments of tilapia.

It quote the fish did not meet safety standards, together they to be polluted with potentially harmful chemicals, including “veterinary drug residues and unsafe additives” (11).

Monterey bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch also reported that several chemicals well-known to cause toxic results were quiet being offered in Chinese tilapia farming in spite of some that them being banned for over a te (13).


Several reports have actually revealed highly concerning practices in Chinese tilapia farming, consisting of the use of feces as food and also the use of banned chemicals.

Because that the worrying farming practices entailing tilapia in China, the is ideal to prevent tilapia indigenous China and also look because that tilapia from various other parts the the world.

When shopping because that farmed tilapia, the best sources encompass fish native the unified States, Canada, the Netherlands, Ecuador or Peru (14).

Ideally, wild-caught tilapia room preferable come farmed fish. But wild tilapia is really hard come find. The vast majority of tilapia obtainable to consumer is farmed.

Alternatively, other varieties of fish might be healthier and also safer to consume. Fish prefer salmon, trout and also herring have much an ext omega-3 fatty acids per serving than tilapia.

Additionally, these fish are easier to discover wild-caught, i beg your pardon will assist avoid few of the banned chemicals provided in part tilapia farming.


If consuming tilapia, the is ideal to limit your consumption of fish farmed in China. However, fish favor salmon and also trout are higher in omega-3s and may prove come be healthy alternatives.

Tilapia is an inexpensive, typically consumed fish the is farmed all over the world.

It is a lean resource of protein that is likewise high in several vitamins and minerals, such as selenium, vitamin B12, niacin and potassium.

However, there are several factors why you may want to prevent or border tilapia.

Plus, there have actually been reports of using pet feces as food and the ongoing use the banned chemicals at tilapia farms in China. Due to the fact that of this, if you select to eat tilapia, that is finest to avoid fish from China.

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Alternatively, selecting fish high in omega-3 fatty acids prefer wild salmon or trout might be a healthier and safer choice of seafood.