"Consumers have good reason to steer clear of fish." That’s the bizarre verdict of Amy Lanou, a nutritionist with the animal-rights Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). We’ve seen agenda-driven screeds against scrod before, as when Bruce Friedrich of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals was caught bragging in an unguarded moment about "terrifying [Americans] into not eating them." But PCRM’s latest declaration comes with a scientific study attached (co-authored by Lanou). So let’s take a look.
The study examined the eating habits of 1,441 diabetic patients, and concluded that the heart-healthy benefits documented in people who eat lots of fish (and those Omega-3 fatty acids we’ve all heard so much about) aren’t actually from the fish itself. No, it’s just a coincidence. People in this study who ate more fish, you see, also happened to eat less meat (which makes sense, since we all eat roughly the same number of meals each week). So it’s not that fish is good for your heart, but that red meat is bad. Sound like an animal-rights argument? We thought so.
Red flag number 1: Everyone in this study had type 1 diabetes. Is it possible that the conclusions of Lanou and her co-authors only apply to diabetics? (She’s not saying.)
Red flag number 2: Lanou didn’t disclose to the American Journal of Cardiology that she’s employed by an animal-rights group. (Can you say "conflict of interest," boys and girls?) She declared only her second job as a "health and wellness" professor in North Carolina.
Red flag number 3: Literally hundreds of studies have shown a connection between Omega-3 fatty acids (which are plentiful in fish) and a measurable improvement in heart health. Why is it that PCRM finds its own in-house study of 99 people sufficient to prove the superiority of a vegan diet, but decades of research on Omega-3s is so easily ignored?
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. Fish is one of nature’s health foods. But don’t take our word for it. The American Heart Association writes: