New UH research questions health benefits of eating fish

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Posted: May 8, 2007

HONOLULU - New findings by a University of Hawaii researcher disputes the popular notion that eating fish is healthy for you. Claudio R. Nigg, PhD, of the John A. Burns School of Medicine‘s Department of Public Health Sciences, points out that there has never been any data supporting the supposed health benefits of fish (omega-3 fatty acids) consumption.

"Our research, combined with an earlier study (CARDIO-2000 from Greece) strongly suggests that fish-eating is not beneficial for health; it‘s just not as bad as beef-eating," said Nigg.

The study is published in the current issue of The American Journal of Cardiology. Co-authors with Nigg are David Keith Cundiff, MD, of the Los Angeles County and University of Southern California Medical Center, and Amy Joy Lanou, PhD, of the University of North Carolina, Asheville.

"The major point is that fish eating is not proven to be healthy in and of itself, but rather it is a marker for low dietary saturated fatty acid intake and high fiber consumption. In other words, fish-eaters tend to be healthier because they also eat less red meat, fowl, dairy, and eggs and more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans," said Dr. Nigg.

"This is one of only two studies to look at the overall diets of fish eaters compared with non-fish eaters. The other study also showed that fish eaters eat more fruits, vegetables, and lentils, and less beef," he said.

The study is available on-line: