This headline drew much attention after Wake Forest University conducted a study and concluded, “the inflammatory potential of hamburger or pork bacon is lower than the average serving of farmed tilapia.” Well first off, this does not make me want to jump up and start consuming bacon in place of fish because bacon is incredibly high in sodium, fat, and calories. However, the information in this study did bring up a good point… that not all fish is created equal in terms of being the most nutritious choice.
Basically what this study did was look at different types of fish and examine the amount of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids present. Omega-3, which is present in most fish, has been proven to have very beneficial effects on heart health (showing anti-inflammatory effects), and where as omega-6 is needed in certain proportion to omega-3, too much omega-6 has been linked to being a pro-inflammatory (inflammation/pro-inflammatory is not good for your heart!).
Fish such as salmon, bronzini, and farmed trout are very high in omega-3 whereas tuna, grouper, and snapper do not provide a significant source. Certain fish, including farmed catfish, tilapia, and salmon are rich in omega-6; more importantly are high in arachidonic acid (pro-inflammatory omega-6). Tuna, farmed tilapia, and farmed catfish, three of the most commonly eaten fish, actually contain more omega-6 than omega-3 fatty acids.
While conducting this study, the researchers found that some of the tilapia sampled contained more arachidonic acid and less omega-3 than bacon or hamburger. The biggest thing to pull from these findings is being skeptic about buying farm raised fish; it is very likely that their feed could be responsible for the increased omega-6 occurrence. From all my readings and research, I highly recommend buying “wild” fish and avoiding all “farm-raised” fish.
Although bacon may be lower in arachidonic acid, it is definitely higher in sodium, fat, and calories versus fish/tilapia. I have said before and it has been clearly proven time and time again, that a high calorie and fat intake directly correlate to heart problems and disease (with an increase in inflammation).
So, I recommend sticking with fish, because it is a great source of high quality protein and fewer calories then bacon, but try to buy “wild” fish. If you want to eat bacon, please limit the amount you eat and try to only eat it on occasion.