Is it safe to eat fish…

In this interview I ask Jamie if it is safe to eat fish considering all the health risks associated with heavy metals.

I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I do.

Jamie McDermott is a registered dietitian and specializes in sports diets and eating disorders and she also teaches at UTC.   For more information about Jamie,

Stan: Hi I am Stan Starsky author of the Healthy Snack Cookbook; Peace Love and Snacks. And I’m back with Jamie McDermott, who is a Registered Dietitian, specializing in sports diets, and eating disorders. Jamie also teaches at UTC and takes on individual clients.

And I’ve got another great question for Jamie.

One last question, I like to eat a lot of sushi and I like to eat the different varieties. Is there much of a danger of mercury and heavy metals when eating fish?

Jamie: Well I would love sushi right now. I haven’t had it in nine months because I’m pregnant.

Stan: Okay, okay.

Jamie: I’d love to have sushi right now, so I envy you. But, honestly we just want to look at the source of where the fish is caught. If it’s a farm raised fish, then we want to be careful. And it might not be just because of mercury but it might be because of other contaminants. You know when fish are raised in a very small area, they’re prone to infection and they may be given antibiotics. They might be given other non-conventional things that might not be found in the ocean.

So we just want to make sure that we’re avoiding farm raised fish. We’re looking for wild caught fish which is easy to find. You can find it at Walmart even in the freezer section. It’s not exorbitant as far as cost is concerned.

And then regarding the mercury issue; the mercury is going to be found in fish that are larger. So the larger the fish, the more tiny fish that they eat, the more mercury that they will accumulate in their bodies. And then obviously when we consume it, then we are consuming the mercury.

If someone is eating fish and they ask me, is it okay to have sea bass or is it okay to have tuna, I say definitely. You know, it’s not fine to have it three days a week with that same type of fish. But certainly in moderation it’s okay to eat a tuna steak once in a while. Tuna is one of the fish that is higher in mercury. It’s basically tuna, sharks, mackerel, tile fish, sword fish and Sea bass. Those are higher in mercury because they’re the bigger fish.

But we don’t need to eliminate them completely. But again we want to try to look for a variety when we’re consuming sea foods. So get your shellfish, get salmon, get any other type of sea food that you enjoy and just don’t exclusively eat one type of fish that might be high in mercury. And obviously for women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant the mercury is something that we want to just be careful of. And it’s not that you can’t ever have tune when you’re pregnant. You just want to try not to overdo it because it’s something that can be harmful to the developing baby.

The benefits of eating seafood far outweigh the benefits of not eating seafood if someone is scared about mercury. So we get so many omega-3 fatty acids from a lot of types of fish. It’s a very lean and a low calorie source of protein. So it’s a wonderful source of nutrition for most people.

So certainly it shouldn’t be just because someone is fearful of mercury to make that a reason to eliminate fish. We just want to be aware, and try to make responsible choices and try to eat the freshest wild fish we can.

Stan: Okay, interesting point about eating smaller fish. A

Jamie: Yes

Stan: That are less contaminants and mercury. I didn’t realize that.

Jamie: Yeah, the older the fish the longer it’s been around, the more mercury it is likely to contain.

Stan: That makes sense. I hadn’t really thought about it like that though.

Jamie: Yeah.

Stan: Well good. Well good. Well Jamie, thanks a lot for your time. This has been great.

Jamie: You’re welcome.

Stan: And once again, yeah this is really good stuff. I learned quite a bit

Jamie: Good.

Stan: I am Stan Starsky from Peace Love and Snacks and I’m with Jamie McDermott who’s a Registered Dietitian specializing in sports and eating disorders. Jamie teaches at UTC and you also take on individual clients. And was there anything else that I missed or you wanted to add or can we wrap it up.

Jamie: No I think that’s it. I teach at UTC University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Just to make sure that was clear. I don’t know if you said ETC but UTC.

Stan: I did. I’m sorry.

Jamie: That’s okay. That’s okay. So, UTC here in Chattanooga and so that’s it.

Stan: That’s great.

Jamie: You can refer to my website if anyone has any question. It’s and I’ll be taking a little break here due to expecting baby number two here in a few weeks but hopefully be back on the roll after the new year.

Stan: Very good. Very good and that’s

Jamie: All right. Thanks so much.

Stan: Okay that wraps it up. Thanks for listening everybody. Thanks again.

While you are here, why not get 3 mouth-watering, nutritious, wholesome snack recipes.  Click here to get the recipes.

Speak Your Mind