By Dr Willie Ong (Internist and Cardiologist)

The internet has many health claims and some may not be true. Let us look at the validity of these claims.

For example, a misleading report has been circulating in the internet that Tilapia is worse than bacon. Because of the catchy and unusual angle of the article, this false report has been widely circulated.

If you are a pork, lechon and fat lover, then you may taken comfort from this article. Unfortunately, the article is false and has been fooling the public for a long time.

Here are the facts:

  1. Tilapia is affordable, a good source of protein and easily grown.
  2. Salmon is healthier than tilapia. The 2008 study cites a comparison between salmon and tilapia. The study shows that salmon has a better omega-3 fatty acid ratio to omega-6 fatty acid, compared to tilapia.
  3. Fish like tilapia are many times healthier than bacon. For tilapia, a 4-ounce serving has about 1 gram of saturated fat, 29 grams of protein and around 200 mg of omega-3. By comparison, a 1-ounce serving of bacon (about 4 strips) contains 4 grams of saturated fat, 10 grams of protein and only 52 mg of omega-3.

Therefore, it is clear that bacon has more saturated fat (the bad kind that can cause heart attacks and strokes). Moreover, bacon has very little omega-3 fatty acids, which is beneficial to your heart.

Hence, when your doctor tells you to eat more fish, then eat a variety of fish, including salmon and tilapia.

“Not all fish have the same fatty acid profile, but tilapia in moderation is fine. It has lower cholesterol than red meat – plus it’s easy to cook,” says New York registered dietitian Melainie Rogers.

Another issue raised against tilapia is the 2006 report that tilapia grown in China were given animal feces as feeds. Because of this, China was given an “Avoid” status. However, since that time, China has raised its standards to comply with export requirements. Today, tilapia from China has a rating of “Good Alternative.”

In conclusion, eat a variety of fish every week including tilapia. If you can afford it, salmon is a better choice. Finally, doctors and experts agree that pork fat is still the unhealthy kind of fat. Take care.

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