Can You Overeat Fish?

“The dose makes the poison” is a toxicologist saying that the terms “toxic” and “non-toxic” are relative. The amount of substance consumed will determine whether it is toxic or not. Such an adage can be applied to food, including fish, too.

So can you overeat fish? Yes, you can overeat fish. It is especially if you eat great quantities of it daily. But you can eat fish in moderate amounts every day.

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Read on and find out why certain people have to limit their fish consumption. We will also look at the recommended amounts for fish, seafood, and shellfish consumption. 

People Who Should Limit Their Fish Consumption

Fish provides several health benefits since these are delicious sources of protein, essential fatty acids, and micronutrients. But there are also health concerns about their consumption, particularly in large amounts. Fish contain low levels of dioxins and methylmercury from their diet and surroundings.

Dioxins are harmful by-products from natural events, such as wildfires and volcanic eruptions, and waste management systems. Methylmercury is created when mercury interacts with bacteria, and it’s considered a poisonous compound.

Because of the presence of these chemicals in fish, certain groups of people should avoid eating certain types of fish. Pregnant women should avoid eating tuna and swordfish, which have longer lifespans and larger.

These fish are likely to accumulate toxins in their body and pass it on to the people who eat them.

Unfortunately, these toxins are harmful to the developing fetus. It is also the reason why children shouldn’t eat tuna and swordfish frequently, if at all.

By itself, mercury doesn’t cause long-lasting physical and mental damage among adults. But fairly high levels of mercury in the body can result in temporary neurological effects.

Studies show that people who eat fish, particularly tuna and sushi twice a day, experience neurological issues. These include trouble concentrating and dizziness. But once they stop eating fish or limit their consumption, their mercury levels decrease, and their symptoms pass.

The bottom line: Avoid overeating fish so you can enjoy its benefits while reducing your risk of overconsumption. You should also consider expanding your diet by eating a wide variety of fish, shellfish, seafood, and even seaweeds.

Recommended Servings Per Week

It brings us to the question: Just how much is too much? According to nutritionists, a balanced diet should include at least two portions of fish a week. The portions should ideally be divided into one each of oily fish and white fish.

One portion is equivalent to 140 grams of fish when cooked. Keep in mind that fish will shrink a bit when cooked, whether it’s baked or fried. 

Again, there are exceptions. The following should limit their consumption of oily fish to just two portions per week:

  • Girls
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women
  • Women who are planning on becoming pregnant

As for white fish, you can safely eat more portions per week as you like. But we suggest limiting your consumption of sea bass, turbot, rock salmon, and sea bream. These may have similar toxin levels as oily fish.

Conclusion

For most individuals, eating fish every day is fine, even healthy. It’s better to eat a wide variety of fish every day than to eat pork, beef, and chicken every day! But it’s also best to watch your intake and keep it to moderate levels.