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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In response to confusing reports, an international coalition of more than a dozen doctors spoke out today to clarify that fish like tilapia are low in total and saturated fat, high in protein and clearly part of a healthy diet.
A report from Wake Forest University in the July issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association about the types of fats in popular seafood has led to reports that bacon, hamburgers, and doughnuts are a better choice than certain fish.
The 16 dietary fats experts, led by Dr. William Harris of the Sanford School of Medicine, write, "Replacing tilapia or catfish with 'bacon, hamburgers or doughnuts' is absolutely not recommended.'"
In explaining the specifics of the omega-3 versus omega-6 debate, the researchers note that omega-6s are not only found in fish like tilapia, but vegetable oils, nuts, whole-wheat bread and chicken. They go on to highlight the fact that the American Heart Association and the American Dietetic Association agree that, "omega-6 fatty acids are, like omega-3s, heart-healthy nutrients which should be part of everyone's diet."
The coalition, including one expert from Wake Forest University, says unequivocally that while they are not rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fish like catfish and tilapia, "should be considered better choices than most other meat alternatives."
"In this letter we see doctors from schools in England, Germany, Korea and Australia teaming up with researchers from US institutions including Sanford School of Medicine, Penn State and Harvard school of Public Health to say wait a minute, what you are reading in the press is misleading," said Jennifer Wilmes, registered dietitian with the National Fisheries Institute. "It's heartening to see careless, sound-bite-science being challenged."
William S. Harris, PhD, FAHA Sr. Scientist and Director Metabolism and Nutrition Research Center Sanford Research/USD Sioux Falls, SD (605) 328-1304
Co-signers: Thomas Barringer, MD, FAHA Medical Director, Center for Cardiovascular Health Carolinas Medical Center Charlotte, NC (704) 446-1823
Philip Calder, PhD Professor of Nutritional Immunology University of Southampton, UK
Marguerite M. Engler, RN, PhD, FAHA Professor Dept. of Physiological Nursing UC San Francisco, CA
Mary B. Engler, PhD, RN, MS, FAHA Professor and Director Cardiovascular and Genomics Graduate Program Dept. of Physiological Nursing UC San Francisco, CA
Bruce Holub, PhD Professor Emeritus Dept of Human Biology and Nutritional Sciences University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada
Peter Howe, PhD Professor and Director Nutritional Physiology Research Centre University of South Australia, Adelaide
Penny Kris-Etherton, PhD, RD, FAHA Distinguished Professor of Nutrition Penn State University University Park, PA (814) 863-2923
Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, DrPH, DSc Assistant Professor Harvard School of Public Health Boston MA 617-432-2887
Joyce A. Nettleton, DSc Editor, PUFA and Fats of Life Newsletters Denver, CO 303-296-9595
Yongsoon Park, PhD Chair and Assistant professor Department of Food and Nutrition Hanyang University Seoul, Korea
Eric Rimm ScD, FAHA Associate Professor Harvard Schools of Medicine and of Public Health Boston MA 617-432-1843
Larry Rudel, PhD, FAHA Professor of Biochemistry Wake Forest University Winston-Salem, NC (336) 716-2821
Frank Sacks, MD, FAHA Professor of Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Harvard School of Public Health Boston, MA (617) 432-1420
Andy Sinclair, PhD Chair in Human Nutrition School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences Deakin University Burwood, Australia
Clemens von Schacky, MD Cardiology Ludwig Maximilians-Universität München Munich, Germany