Is salmon bad for you?


Is salmon bad for you? Horrified, sad, frustrated, confused… This is how I felt when I found out a few years ago that salmon -one of my favourite foods- was not a healthy choice at all. And I know this article will make many of you… horrified, sad, frustrated as I was. But this is my mission to help you make informed choices… and to give you solutions too – which I’ll do in this article as yes, you can -if you know how- find healthy salmon!

If last time I showed you eggs did not deserve their bad rep at all,  this week we’ll look at why the reputation of salmon as an healthy choice is totally questionable.

We are what we eat… and we are what we eat, eats.

The French are absolutely evangelical about this principle. Commit it to memory (write it on a Post-it and stick to your computer or fridge) and you will always eat REAL FOOD (and be able to live by my motto which helps so many of my clients: Real Food + Pleasure = Health). In other words, you will never consume anything that is low in nutrients, has been altered from its original state, is loaded with chemicals and consists of empty calories.

Healthy fish are wild fish that eat smaller fish and algae and as a result are loaded with omega-3 critical for brain health and fat metabolism. This is that simple.

However, most of the fish we now eat is farmed and full of antibiotics. 99% of salmon (one of the most popular types of fish) is farmed (even if it’s called Atlantic or any other names to make you think it’s healthy). Farmed salmon is often dyed pink to make it look appealing, has much higher levels of mercury, steroids, antibiotics, PCBs and dioxin. Its omega-6 content is much higher and therefore tampering with the omega-3 benefits. Sadly, this makes salmon one of the worst foods to consume. 

Inflammation is our enemy.

Inflammation fuelled by our western diet is at the root of many modern lifestyle diseases. Our consumption of omega-6 and omega-3 is the best example of this. Both these essential fatty acids are required by the body for good health, but while omega-3 is anti-inflammatory, omega-6 is pro-inflammatory (causes inflammation).

Ideally, our diets should include an equal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3, or at least a ratio of 1.3. However, this ratio has risen dramatically over time. In the 1930s it went from 8.5 to 1; in the 1980s from 12 to 1; and now it’s estimated to be at 25 to 1, which means we’re consuming 25 times more omega-6 than omega-3! The reason for this is mainly due to butter being widely replaced by corn and soybean oil in processed foods and animals being fed grains instead of grass – including salmons that were never supposed to be fed that way.

Is salmon bad for you? Unfortunately yes, most of the time.

Is salmon bad for you? Unfortunately yes, most of the time.

Salmon has been sold to us as one of the richest foods in omega-3. It was true decades ago when it was caught in the wild and before fish farms took over the salmon industry. It is not anymore. When you eat salmon, you do more harm than good to your body. So please at least reduce your consumption of salmon. I’m sorry but it also includes salmon sushis (which by the way were listed in my list of 8 food traps!)…

I know how difficult it is to stop eating a food you love. I was like you. But now I don’t even crave salmon given what I know. And the worst is yet to come: the salmon industry is planning to sell GMO salmons very soon. Awful. Sad. Shocking. No wonder the epidemic of diet-related diseases is killing us.

However… there’s some good news…

Yes, some great news! There’s still a type of salmon, which is super healthy: 100% wild salmon. You don’t find it easily (it’s distributed in healthy/organic food stores only), it’s expensive and it often comes from Canada. But it’s REAL salmon.

The texture, the flavour, the colour, everything is different… and so good! It’s to die for and loaded with beneficial B and D vitamins, selenium and proteins. Sometimes in the year I buy some for very special gourmet occasions.

bearsIf you live in Australia, the Canadian Way imports the best wild salmon. They are not in New Zealand unfortunately. If you do know where to find wild salmon in New Zealand, please let me know!

Another option is to eat other fish but please follow these few simple rules. At your fish shop, look for fish labelled ‘wild-caught’. If it’s not stated, the fish is probably farmed and once again, you don’t want that toxic food.

Sardines (even canned) are a great option – one of my favourites! They are loaded with omega-3 and minerals and are always wild-caught as nobody has found how to farm sardines… yet!

And what about fish oil?

Well, let’s keep this very interesting topic for another article very soon where I’ll talk more broadly about supplements.

Talk to you next week… From France!

Au revoir!


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This advice in this document is not professional medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please see an appropriate medical practitioner.

  1. If everyone attempts to eat wild fish, there will very rapidly not be any left. Wild fish stocks have plummeted in recent decades.

    The solution is to invest in making the farmed supply better, not to abandon the farmed supply.

    • Very good point, Trevor! This is a real and extremely concerning issue. However not all wild fish stocks have plummeted. Sardines can still be found in large quantities. However we need to be extremely aware of wild fish stocks and act now.

  2. Thanks for this article, Yves! Very useful; I had been eating lots of salmon thinking it was the healthier option, but I can see it’s not. Is there an alternative to salmon that provides the same nutrients, without having to go for 100% wild salmon (which as you said is hard to find and it’s $$)?

    • Thank you so much Tony. Very happy you found the article useful. Sardines are the best options. We have not found a way to farm them yet so they are 100% wild… and even richer in omega-3 and other nutrients than salmon! Yves


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