Is Eating Tilapia Healthy?
Agriculture|September 2017

TILAPIA (Oreochromis niloticus) is the second most important farmed fish in the Philippines next to milkfish or “bangus.” Our country produces over 250,000 metric tons of tilapia from culture in freshwater ponds and lake cages every year. Per capita consumption of tilapia among Filipinos is 3 kilograms (kg)/year (yr) compared to 2.5 kg/yr for milkfish and 1.6 kg/yr for roundscad or “galunggong.”

Dr. Rafael D. Guerrero III

There are unfavorable reports in the United States media that tilapia is not healthy to eat. It is claimed that the fish has “poor nutritive quality” because it contains higher amounts of omega-6 fatty acids that increase levels of bad cholesterol—which is a risk factor for heart disease—than omega-3 fatty acids that increase levels of good cholesterol. It is also been said that farmed tilapia has antibiotics and mercury in its flesh.

How true are such allegations? Is eating tilapia really not healthy? Let’s look at the facts and figures.

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