Saturday, June 15, 2013

WHAT IS THE PLACE OF FISH ON A ZERO CARB DIET?


Sincerely, I am far away from pretending to know what is the BEST answer to this question. But I think folks on Zero Carb, as big “meat eaters”, must sometime get “out of their box” and ask themselves some questions about sutable alternatives to their very common “all red-meat muscle” diet.

Just to give you an idea of what is the actual “trendy nutrition advice” about fish, the American Hearth Association recommends to eat fish TWICE a week. On a 3 meals per day mode, this means 90% of your weekly meals should be FREE OF FISH. Smells fishy to me…

Ok, fish has good qualities. It scores 100% on the essentials amino acids content, which means it is a complete protein. If you consider minerals, it is also an excellent source of iron, calcium, selenium, iodine and zinc. As for vitamins, fish is also a good source of vitamins A, D, E and the B vitamins. Fatty fish like salmon and tuna are especially rich in vitamin D. Also, and no the least, fish is a serious source of omega-3, one of the main reason it is highly recommended.

But…

But there are serious problems with eating fish, this being the reasons we are advice by doctors and nutritionists not to eat too often some of these aquatic creatures.

Fish do contain heavy metals, including lead, chromium, chrome and especially mercury that is found in dangerous quantities is tuna. And not only tuna... but also in “albacore” which is marketed as “white tuna” and is NOT tuna… and still, is the most common fish in the “canned tuna” sold in supermarkets…. 

To reduce the risk of mercury contamination, it is recommended to avoid eating swordfish, shark, tilefish and king mackerel altogether. As of this “white canned tuna which is not real tuna albacore stuff”, it is advice not to have more than 6 ounces per week… Also interesting, the larger the fish, the older it will be, and the more the flesh will contain heavy metals. So looking to eat "small fishes" is a smart choice (ex: sardines).

The other big concern about fish is they contain a lot of preservatives. As they do not age well, contrarily to red meat, they are sprayed with preservatives like polyphosphates, sulfites, sodium benzoate and polytrisorbate to control growth of mold, yeast and bacteria. This keeps the fish a nice fresh smell and a nice color; in other words, instead of keeping 24 hours from catching at fridge temperature, they will keep for several days… and an eternity when frozen… Guess who wins here? Certainly not the consumer…

Then comes the new concept of “farmed fish”. Even if you try to get “wild caught”, do not forget 75 % of today’s fish is from industrial farming and this is what you will get 75 % of the time… When you purchase “Atlantic salmon from Canada”, you must forget about the idea of “fishermen on their boats fishing in the cold Canadian waters” and replace this image with huge overcrowded seaside industrial pounds to which is added antibiotics to prevent diseases, some dye to improve appearance and God knows what else… The “what else” being fish is very often soaked for hours in chemical solutions to increase weight and texture… and selling price. Did you ever noticed how fish tends to shrink when sauté in the pan? Of course, the other bad effect is the heavy metals will "bioconcentrate" in farmed fish...

I will avoid the subject of “genetically modified fish” as this is a delicate and complicated question, just as the “genetically modified corn” given to our favorite sources of red meats…

So, as you see, fish is not that great after all. But there is more…

The problem for Zero Carbers is fish contains very low fat. And when they contain fat, they are the polyunsaturated types, which are extremely sensible to oxidation. For a rule, fish from cold water tends to be fatty and those from warm water, tend to be white and very low in fat. Which can be translated in the need to add some fat, butter or coconut oil being the ideal choices. Olive oil is always a “trendy option” but I have a personal opinion about olive oil and this will be the subject of a separate posting.

So clearly, on a Zero Carb diet, fish can be an option; an option for variety; an option for a source of omega-3. But considering the “overall nutrition value” of fish, when compared to meat, it has nothing really great to offer except, maybe, and I say maybe, the iodine. Which you will NOT get in farmed fish…

For myself, I keep fish occasional, not more then ONCE a week and it is usually WILD salmon that is served VERY RARE to avoid oxidation of fats. And, of course, it is soaking in a mix of melted butter and coconut oil…!!!

Denis






4 comments:

  1. great post denis. i do not eat very much fish. i think i remember a fish recipe of yours awhile back. i think you cooked it in foil with a lot of spices or curry of some sort.

    Sara

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  2. You are right Sara: folks on ZC, just like you and me, do not seem to eat that much fish…

    And yes, it was a fish with curry cooked in foil… but, honestly, that is more for when there are some guests around the dining table…

    Denis

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  3. The only fish I eat is ahi tuna sashimi when my family opts to go to a Japanese restaurant for hibachi. This is maybe 1-2x a month. I truly enjoy the tuna sashimi but would not eat any fish if it weren't for the above scenario of finding something suitable to eat at a Japanese restaurant.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Tuna is certainly a good choice as it is still one fish that CANNOT BE FARMED so it has to be wild. Of course, with the important demand for tuna, they will certainly find a way to go around the problem…

    Denis

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