Tilapia is an inexpensive, mild-flavored fish. It is the 4th most generally consumed form of seafood in the unified States.

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Many people love tilapia since it is relatively affordable and also doesn’t taste really fishy.

However, scientific studies have actually highlighted concerns about tilapia’s fat content. Several reports additionally raise questions neighboring tilapia farming practices.

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

This write-up examines the evidence and also reviews the benefits and dangers of eating tilapia.

What is tilapia?

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The surname tilapia actually describes several species of greatly freshwater fish the belong come the cichlid family.

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

It is perfect fish for farming because it no mind gift crowded, grow quickly and consumes a cheap vegetarian diet. These characteristics translate come a fairly inexpensive product contrasted to other types of seafood.

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

China is by far the world’s largest producer of tilapia. They create over 1.6 million metric tons yearly and provide the majority of the joined States’ tilapia imports (2).


Tilapia is the name for several varieties of freshwater fish. Back farmed almost everywhere the world, China is the largest producer that this fish.

It’s fantastic source of protein and also nutrients

Tilapia is a nice impressive resource of protein. In 3.5 ounces (100 grams), it package 26 grams of protein and only 128 calories (3).

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

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

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

Tilapia is also a lean source of protein, with only 3 grams of fat per serving.

However, the kind of fat in this fish contributes come its poor reputation. The next section further discusses the fat in tilapia.


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

Its omega-6 to omega-3 ratio may bring about inflammation

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

One that the main reasons for this is that fish favor salmon, trout, albacore tuna and sardines contain big amounts the omega-3 fat acids. In fact, wild-caught salmon has over 2,500 mg the omega-3s per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) offer (4).

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

The bad news because that tilapia is that it only consists of 240 mg the omega-3 fatty acids per serving — ten times less omega-3 than wild salmon (3).

If that wasn’t poor enough, tilapia contains much more omega-6 fat acids than it go omega-3.

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

The recommended ratio of omega-6 come omega-3 in the diet is typically as close to 1:1 as possible. Spend fish high in omega-3 prefer salmon will an ext easily help you satisfy this target, when tilapia go not market much help (9).

In fact, several experts caution versus consuming tilapia if you space trying to lower your hazard of inflammatory illness like heart disease (10).


Tilapia contains much much less omega-3 than various other fish favor salmon. Its omega-6 come omega-3 proportion is greater than other fish and also may contribute to inflammation in the body.

Reports the farming techniques are concerning

As customer demand because that tilapia continues to grow, tilapia farming provides a cost-effective an approach of producing a reasonably inexpensive product because that the consumer.

However, numerous reports end the past decade have actually revealed some concerning details about tilapia agriculture practices, especially from farms located in China.

Tilapia are frequently fed animal feces

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

Although this practice drives down manufacturing costs, bacteria favor Salmonella found in animal waste can contaminate the water and also increase the danger of foodborne diseases.

Using animal feces as feed no directly linked with any details fish in the report. However, around 73% that the tilapia imported to the joined States originates from China, whereby this exercise is an especially common (12).

Tilapia may be polluted through harmful chemicals

Another write-up reported that the FDA rejected end 800 shipments of seafood from China from 20072012, consisting of 187 shipping of tilapia.

It cited the fish did not fulfill safety standards, together they were polluted with perhaps harmful chemicals, consisting of “veterinary drug residues and unsafe additives” (11).

Monterey only Aquarium’s Seafood Watch additionally reported that number of chemicals recognized to cause toxic impacts were still being supplied in Chinese tilapia farming regardless of some of them gift banned because that over a decade (13).


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

Because of the concerning farming practices involving tilapia in China, that is ideal to stop tilapia from China and also look because that tilapia from other parts the the world.

When shopping because that farmed tilapia, the ideal sources include fish from the unified States, Canada, the Netherlands, Ecuador or Peru (14).

Ideally, wild-caught tilapia are preferable to farmed fish. But wild tilapia is an extremely hard come find. The vast majority of tilapia available to consumers is farmed.

Alternatively, other types of fish may be healthier and also safer come consume. Fish like salmon, trout and also herring have much more omega-3 fatty acids every serving 보다 tilapia.

Additionally, these fish are simpler to discover wild-caught, i m sorry will help avoid several of the banned chemicals provided in some tilapia farming.


If consuming tilapia, it is best to limit your consumption of fish farmed in China. However, fish choose salmon and trout are greater in omega-3s and may prove come be healthy alternatives.

Tilapia is one inexpensive, commonly consumed fish that is farmed anywhere the world.

It is a lean resource of protein the is additionally high in several vitamins and also minerals, such together selenium, vitamin B12, niacin and potassium.

However, there room several reasons why you might want to prevent or border tilapia.

Plus, there have been reports that using animal feces as food and the continued use of banned chemicals at tilapia farms in China. Since of this, if you pick to eat tilapia, that is ideal to avoid fish native China.

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Alternatively, picking fish high in omega-3 fat acids favor wild salmon or trout may be a healthier and safer selection of seafood.