Tilapia was everywhere. Tilapia was advertised as a low fat fish that was perfect for any diet. At only 108 calories per serving it was perfect for those counting calories. And with the low “fishy” taste, it was recommended for those with aversions to anything fish. It also easily took on the taste of the dish you were making. Perfect for easy adaptability.
And there are even more benefits to tilapia. The fish could be grown relatively cheap on fish farms and was ecologically sustainable. The consumption of tilapia literally quadrupled from a quarter pound per person per year in 2003 to one pound of tilapia per person per year. It is now the fifth most consumed seafood in America, although it still ranks way behind shrimp (at 4.4 pounds of shrimp per person per year).
Tilapia typically is raised on farms, and is an herbivore. Approximately 95% of the tilapia this country consumes is from China which sells it here as frozen fillets. The US accounts for 20 million pounds of tilapia raised and sold within the US each year. Tilapia typically runs about $2 per pound as a frozen fillet, and $5-12 per pound fresh depending on the season and where you purchase it.
While there are many reasons to consume tilapia, in recent years it has come under attack. Just one year after a report in the Washington Post about the health benefits of tilapia came out, reports about the health risks of consuming tilapia were being reported across the country.
They are now finding that tilapia contains high levels of omega-6, or unhealthy fatty acids. Tilapia also contains lower levels of omega-3, or healthy fatty acids essential for our body. Tilapia has now been ranked as unhealthy as bacon and other fatty meats. It is recommended that those that have inflammatory diseases like asthma, diabetes, arthritis, or heart disease not eat tilapia.
Instead, choose healthier fish like cod, salmon, or tuna that contain high levels of omega-3 and low levels of omega-6.
“Two Sides to Every Tilapia” by the Washington Post, August, 8, 2007 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2007/08/07/AR2007080700470.html
“Popular Tilapia Might not Help Heart”