For Moms-to-be, Fish could be even more Hazardous than Red Meat!
Hey There Beauties!
One day when I was 11 years old, I went to the beach in Byron Bay, Australia where I grew up.
I was about to go into the ocean when the awareness hit me that the ocean was not mine; the animals in the ocean were for and with the sea—not for me.
So I couldn’t eat them anymore.
That day, I went home and told my Mum I was not going to eat seafood anymore. She supported me in this for the rest of my life, as she supported me soon after in my transition to being vegetarian (when I was still 11).
What does this all have to do with pregnancy? Maybe everything…
Coincidentally—or maybe not—I also had a very healthy pregnancy, and a healthy recovery after labour.
Studies have confirmed that eating fish before (as well as during) pregnancy increases exposure to mercury and long-chain omega 3 DHA.
Let me break that down for you.
We all know about mercury. It can have a negative impact on a child’s brain development in utero. DHA you may be less familiar with. It actually increases brain development, but the negative effects of the mercury exposure from fish so far outweigh the stimulation from DHA that’s it’s pretty much irrelevant.
Somehow, though, surveys have shown that women of childbearing age are not aware of the dangers of mercury exposure through consuming fish.
It’s time to change that.
A key thing to remember, mama, is that this exposure is an issue even before you get pregnant. Mercury is kind of like your creepy ex—it sticks around way after you think it would be gone for good! So the latest scientific knowledge suggests “women should avoid fish at least a year before pregnancy to avoid the risks”. This is because the half life of mercury (the amount of time for its concentration in the body to decrease by half) is two months.
You’ve probably heard the hype around vaccines that contain mercury, too. And those are valid. But eating just one serving of tuna per week in the year leading up to conception, you’d expose your little one to significantly more mercury than what’s found in six of those vaccines.
That’s a lot.
And wait, it gets worse. Because mercury actually isn’t the worst of of the toxins found in fish. At least your body can detox from it 99% in just a year. Other pollutants found in fish have a half-life as high as 10 years—which means our bodies basically never get rid of them. (eg. certain dioxins, PBCs, and DDT metabolites.
What exactly do these bunches of letters do? Let me tell you…
High concentrations of these industrial pollutants have a demonstrated association with 38 times higher risk of diabetes. To put that in perspective, that’s the same association of smoking to lung cancer.
Why would contaminants in fish be linked to an obesity-related disease like diabetes? There are a couple explanations. Since these pollutants are fat-soluble, it could be that weight gain allows our bodies to store more of these toxic chemicals. Or it could be that higher concentrations of these pollutants are simply a marker, linked to greater consumption of animal products, which in turn is linked to diabetes.
Here’s what we know for sure: Data from the United States suggests that every serving of fish per week is linked to a 5% increase in diabetes risk. By those numbers, fish could be even worse than red meat!
So Mama, how about saving you and your future children the added risk. Cut the fish, cut the animal products, and give your family its best chance at health! Try Food Dynamics for the Whole Family: The Taste and Flavour Solution to make the shift easy, effective and delicious.