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Fishing Around

Whenever we would go on a beach vacation, we always would focus our meals on the opportunity to eat fresh local fish. Now that we have made a big move from the Midwest to a coastal community, we have found that we are eating fresh fish two to three times per week. Why not, right?

The American Diabetes Association and heart association recommend eating fish twice per week for heart health benefits. Fish is a lean protein choice, low in saturated fat, and some varieties offer an extra benefit of Omega 3 fatty acid.

What’s the catch with fish?

But here’s the catch. While fish should be included in your diet, some fish has been found to have higher levels of mercury. Mercury is a naturally occurring metal, and can be harmful to our brain and nervous system. In January 2017, an updated report was issued from the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) and EPA (Environmental Protect Agency).

Fish with higher levels of mercury include tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico, shark, swordfish, orange roughy, bigeye tuna, Marlin, and king mackerel.

Here’s the line on how to choose fish safely

  • Review the fish choice document and select “best choices” as your “go to” fish. Fish listed in the “good choice category” can be consumed once per week. The cautions are especially important for the higher risk population which includes women of childbearing age, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and young children.
  • If using canned tuna, choose light tuna over white or albacore. Albacore or white tuna can be consumed once per week and has this limitation due to the higher content of mercury.

What does this this mean for someone with diabetes?

Know that there are plenty of fish varieties that you can include in your weekly menu. I recommend that you include fish twice per week from the FDA’s “best choice” category (baked flounder, cod or tilapia, grilled salmon, shrimp or scallops), and that you add “fresh seafood” to your list of reasons to take a beach vacation.

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