Guidelines on Eating Seafood - Especially During Pregnancy
Published: 2011-01-31 - Updated: 2022-06-17
Author: Disabled World | Contact: Disabled World (Disabled-World.com)
Peer-Reviewed Publication: N/A
Synopsis: Updated government dietary guidelines include new advice about eating seafood, especially during pregnancy, as seafood makes a short list of foods Americans should eat more of for better health. Dietary Guidelines for Americans released names of seafood among the handful of foods Americans should eat more of because of its heart and brain benefits. Seafood is nutrient-rich and packs healthy nutrients, including omega-3s, into less than a couple hundred calories per 4-ounce serving. The new Dietary Guidelines provide the scientific rationale for the health benefits, and now we need to focus on making fish and shellfish a more regular part of our meals.
- Seafood is defined as any form of sea life regarded as food by humans, prominently including fish and shellfish. Shellfish include various species of mollusks (e.g., bivalve molluscs such as clams, oysters, and mussels, and cephalopods such as octopus and squid), crustaceans (e.g., shrimp, crabs, and lobster), and echinoderms (e.g., sea cucumbers and sea urchins). Edible sea plants such as some seaweeds and microalgae are widely eaten as sea vegetables worldwide, especially in Asia. Seafood is an important source of protein in many diets around the world, especially in coastal areas. Semi-vegetarians who consume seafood as the only source of meat is said to adhere to pescetarianism.
The United States Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, released today, name seafood among the handful of foods Americans should eat more of because of its heart and brain benefits.
This article is part our digest of 77 publications relating to Nutrition and Healthy Food that include:
At a time when people are told to limit many foods because they contribute to the obesity epidemic and other widespread medical conditions like heart disease, a thorough review of dozens of seafood studies show Americans should increase the amount of seafood they eat to at least 8 to 12 ounces (two to three servings) each week.
The Dietary Guidelines specifically clear up persistent consumer confusion by saying:
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should eat at least eight and up to 12 ounces (two to three servings) of seafood each week to boost babies' brain and eye development. Pregnant and breastfeeding women currently eat less than two ounces of seafood per week.
"Seafood is nutrient-rich, meaning it packs healthy nutrients including omega-3s into less than a couple of hundred calories per 4-ounce serving," said Dr. Louis Aronne, Internist and Director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Program at Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center and Clinical Professor of Medicine at Cornell University. "Omega-3 deficiency is a leading dietary contributor to preventable deaths, mostly from heart disease, in America. So it's about time that the benefits of seafood are more clearly recognized in the Dietary Guidelines."
Key takeaways about seafood from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, upon which Federal food and nutrition education programs like the iconic food diagram are based, including the following:
- "Increase the amount and variety of seafood consumed by choosing seafood in place of some meat and poultry." Pg. 34
- "An intake of 8 or more ounces per week (less for young children), about 20% of total recommended intake of protein foods of a variety of seafood is recommended." Pg. 39
- Eat "at least eight and up to 12 ounces of a variety of seafood each week" during pregnancy and breastfeeding to improve eye and brain development in babies. Pg. 39
- "Moderate evidence shows that consumption of about 8 ounces per week of a variety of seafood, which provides an average consumption of 250 mg per day of EPA and DHA, is associated with reduced cardiac deaths among individuals with and without pre-existing cardiovascular disease." Pg. 39
Current Seafood Consumption Insufficient to Realize Health Benefits:
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the average American eats about one serving of seafood a week. And the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimates pregnant women eat less than half a serving. Additionally, consumer survey data from SeaPak shows that 91 percent of parents with children 12 years and younger say their children eat seafood less than twice a week. Misinterpretation of FDA advice may contribute to these low consumption numbers. The new Dietary Guidelines provide further support for a call to update FDA advice, which experts say "may be inadvertently causing harm."
"Seafood has gotten lost in the American diet, and as a result, we are missing out on the meaningful health benefits that the omega-3s in seafood provide," said Jennifer McGuire, MS, RD, manager of nutrition communication for the National Fisheries Institute. "The new Dietary Guidelines provide the scientific rationale for the health benefits, and now we need to focus on making fish and shellfish a more regular part of our meals."
Ideas for eating more seafood to make it easier to meet the new Dietary Guidelines recommendations include:
- Think beyond lunch and dinner: Seafood can be a part of snacks, appetizers, and even breakfast.
- Consider convenient forms: Whether fresh, frozen, or canned, seafood is healthful and full of nutrients. The important thing is to choose light cooking methods like grilling and broiling instead of frying.
- Swap out the same old proteins: Take recipes you're already familiar with and replace the usual protein with seafood. Beef burgers become salmon burgers, or chicken quesadillas become canned tuna quesadillas.
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Cite This Page (APA): Disabled World. (2011, January 31). Guidelines on Eating Seafood - Especially During Pregnancy. Disabled World. Retrieved August 10, 2022 from www.disabled-world.com/fitness/nutrition/seafood.php
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