Government Nutrition Advice Gives Mixed Message to Pregnant Women

Eating fish offers pregnant women nutritional benefits for both themselves and their developing babies. But, looking at newly published advice from the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, you might miss that fact.

The one-page document prioritizes choices based on mercury content instead of emphasizing the nutritional benefits of fish consumption. It also assigns fish to “best,” “good” and “avoid” categories based on distinctions that may be hard for consumers to follow. For example, tilefish is a good choice for pregnant women – unless it comes from the Gulf of Mexico. Likewise, tuna is a “best” choice if it’s canned light; “good” if yellowfin, albacore or white. If it’s bigeye, however, the FDA and EPA advise pregnant women to pass.

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