The National Environmental Trust is attacking last week's recommendation by the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies coalition for pregnant women and nursing mothers to eat 6 ounces of fish as an "industry-backed" manipulation.
The National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies coalition recommendation runs counter to Food and Drug Administration and Environmental Protection Agency advice to avoid fish because of mercury contamination, which can disrupt the normal development of the brain. The coalition argued that women are failing to get enough Omega-3 fatty acids because they aren't eating enough fish, and that the need for Omeg-3 fats outweighed the risk from mercury.
The National Environmental Trust says the coalition admitted to taking $60,000 to help promote its recommendation from a fishing industry group, the National Fisheries Institute.
"Fish are not the only source of essential omega-3 fatty acids. Pregnant women can eat eggs, flax, nuts, and kiwi fruits and still receive high concentrations of omega-3s without worrying about possible contaminants," the group said. "Not all fish are equal in the nutrition benefits they offer. This selective repacking of science, combined with push polling, misleads and confuses the public."
If you're concerned about what fish to eat and what fish to avoid because of mercury -- particularly if you're thinking of getting pregnant, pregnant or breast feeding, consider the data provided by Oceans Alive, a project of Environmental Defense. It analyzes a number of fish based on both the level of Omega-3 fatty acids and the level of contaminants. Its recommended choices are those that are high in fatty acids but low in contaminants like mercury, pesticides and PCBs. As to whether you should eat fish at all, that's a personal choice to make, based on the conflicting recommendations being promoted.
Here's a list of the fish Oceans Alive says have the most Omega-3s and the least contaminants (and which are sustainably harvested). For the complete list, click here.
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