Nutrition
best fish for weight loss

9 Best Fish For Weight Loss (And 11 To Stay Away From)

There might be a lot of fish in the sea some of which will help you lose weight while others will cause you more harm than good.

Fish are a very important part of your diet not only helping with weight loss but will also improve your healths.

Eating fish can help reduce the chances of getting lifestyle related diseases such as cardiovascular disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes that are rising to an alarmingly high rate.

Fish are an excellent source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Yet, for some fish the benefits will not outweigh the risks associated with them.

The 9 Best Fish For Weight Loss

Eating fish is associated with a reduction of cardiovascular disease, which is evermore important these days considering it’s the number one killer in the United States.

This three-cohort study found those who consumed fatty fish had a 34% reduction in cardiovascular diseases.

Fish are also very important for your brain health as it’s been found to prevent serious neural diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Not to mention fish consumption has been found to ensure good neuron development in children for cognitive and visual development.

If you’re interested in knowing the best fish for weight loss then you’ll be happy to know the choices below are associated with helping you decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes.

But you also need to be careful stay away from the worst fish for weight loss as well since they can cause a lot more harm to you than their supposed benefits.

Eating these bad fishies could be putting yourself at risk for environmental toxins.

Alaskan Wild Salmon

wild alaskan salmon

My favorite and number one choice for the best fish for weight loss is Alaskan Wild-Caught Salmon.

It’s significantly high in omega-3 fatty acids which have been proven by numerous scientific studies to reduce inflammation in your body.

Alaskan Wild-Caught Salmon are loaded with protein, vitamin D and the omega-3’s as a natural anti-inflammatory helping improve the integrity of your bones and joints.

The omega-3’s found in Alaskan Wild-Caught Salmon have been found to help prevent neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease.

Even the carotenoid antioxidants astaxanthin will greatly reduce the damage causing free radicals in your body. This will help prevent unnecessary accelerated aging in your body.

Not to mention these omega-3 fatty acids can help prevent cancer in your body. The more of these cancer fighting foods you can put into your body the better.

Just make sure when you’re buying salmon if it’s labeled “wild caught” it could not be what you think.

Some salmon labeled as “wild caught” are actually born in hatcheries, then released in to the wild before being caught again.

This is definitely not the same as finding Alaskan Wild-Caught Salmon. I like to go with Alaskan style as they’re the least contaminated species according to the George Mateljan Foundation.

Wild Pacific Cod

wild pacific cod

With their high protein content and amino acid profile Wild Pacific Cod is another one of my favorite fishes for weight loss.

A huge benefit to eating Wild Pacific Cod is the incredible satiating effect they have on your hunger so you don’t eat as much.

A study by the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found people ate 11% less at dinner when they ate cod for lunch versus beef.

This means you’ll end up eating less calories throughout the day so you keep can keep losing weight.

Another 8 week study found eating cod resulted in losing 3.75 more pounds than a counterpart group that consumed the same amount of calories.

Be sure to search out Wild Pacific Cod as most Atlantic cod is higher in mercury and nearly on the endangered list.

Word of Warning: Fish’n’Chips even though made from cod is not on my approved fish list for weight loss. Haha

Halibut

halibut

Doin’ it for the halibut!

Ok all jokes aside halibut is seriously another great option for fish if you’re looking to lose weight.

It’s high in protein, vitamins and minerals while not the highest in omega-3 fatty acids the profile is still pretty good.

When you go to nearly any grocery store you’ll be sure to find halibut there unlike some of the other awesome hard-to-find fish options on this page.

The easier it is for you the more likely you are to do it.

Light Canned Tuna

light canned tuna

It’s pretty well known that most tuna is high in mercury so consumption of it should be limited.

This is why it’s important to search out Light Canned Tuna next time you’re at the grocery store.

Light Canned Tuna is a low mercury fish that’s a quick and easy high protein snack you can take anywhere.

Whenever I’m on the run I’ll usually have a can of Light Canned Tuna in the car so whenever I’m getting hungry I can just pop it open for a high protein meal instead of driving to McDonalds.

It’s not only super high in protein but it’s a great way to get your omega-3 fatty acids in for the day.

canned tuna good for you

Even the Journal of Lipid Research found omega-3’s had the ability to turn off your stomach fat genes.

The DHA in fish can be 40-70% more powerful at down regulating fat genes in your abs compared to EPA.

Just make sure you keep your intake of tuna on the lower end throughout the week to be on the safe side.

The FDA recommends you keep it at 2-3 per week.

Even though albacore tuna has a higher amount of omega-3’s it’s also much higher in mercury than light canned tuna.

If you do decide to go with albacore tuna just make sure you really limit your weekly intake as putting mercury in your body is not going to be good at all for you.

And if you’re pregnant than it would be a good idea to avoid albacore tuna completely.

For me Light Canned Tuna is king of the tunas.

Sardines

wild sardines

Sardines are another one of my favorite on-the-go snacks with it’s high protein, B12, selenium and vitamin D content.

The high amount of omega-3 fatty acids found in sardines will help you lose weight and stay young especially compared to the worst fish on the list below.

Another huge benefit to eating sardines is you really don’t have to worry about mercury and sustainability.

Sardines are naturally on the bottom of the food chain so they’re more than sustainable.

Since they eat plankton you’ll also have a much lesser chance of being exposed to mercury as much as other fishes.

I really like to keep some Wild Planet Sardines around the house, in my to-go bag and in the car so I always have a quick and easy high protein meal with me at all times.

See my post on Why Eating More Sardines Is Good For You for more on this awesome superfood.

Oysters

oysters

Oysters earned a well deserved spot on my superfoods list for a very good reason.

They’re super high in omega-3’s along with iron and zinc.

Considering most people are deficient in zinc eating just 3 oz. of oysters will give you nearly 500% your daily requirement.

Oysters are also considered a libido raising aphrodisiac mostly from their high zinc content. A deficiency in zinc is associated with impotence.

This is one of those rare circumstances when eating farmed is better than wild.

Oyster farms improve the quality of life in oceans and bays as they feed on particular matter and nutrients that would otherwise pollute waterways.

Oyster farms also help to prevent the depletion of wild populations by controlling and regulating their growth.

Just like Light Canned Tuna and Sardines you can conveniently find canned oysters in your local grocery health store.

Scallops

scallops

Scallops are one of my favorite meals to eat at any seafood restaurant.

They’re not only delicious pan-seared but they have a good amount of protein in them as well.

Even this study in Journal of Food Science found the bioactive compounds in scallops had a significant anti-obesity effect in your body.

So you’ll not only get a delicious meal from eating scallops, but they’ll also help you lose weight.

Clams

clams

Even though clams are very low in omega-3’s and protein they still earn a spot on this list with their high B12 content.

Clams are totally safe to eat after cooking and a half dozen of them contain 40 times your daily requirement of vitamin B12.

Clams are lower in fat and calories while packing in some other critical vitamins and minerals such as selenium, zinc, iron and magnesium.

Women and vegans have a notoriously rough time getting enough iron in their bodies so eating more clams can really help to fight these deficiencies.

Fish Oil and Krill Oil

fish oil krill oil

I’ll admit these are technically considered a fish in the common sense, but they really deserve on spot on this list of the best fish for weight loss.

Along with Athletic Greens, the other must-take supplement everybody should be using is Krill Oil.

Krill Oil is better than fish oil because of these three reasons…

  • higher levels of DHA than EPA
  • Astaxanthin (powerful antioxidant)
  • more bioavailable (absorb more of it)
  • smaller pills (no horse pills)

But fish oil does have it’s benefits as well and in an ideal world you would be taking both.

A 6 week study found fish oil significantly increased lean mass while also having a significant impact on reducing fat mass.

Just imagine what krill oil can do for you considering how much more powerful it is than fish oil.

Kyoto University researchers found it actually transformed fat storing cells into fat burning cells.

They found it would activate receptors in your digestive tract, fire up the sympathetic nervous system and then force storage cells to start burning fat.

The Worst Fish For Weight Loss

bad fish for weight loss

Ahhh-choo!

The nine fish above are fantastic for helping you lose weight, prevent cardiovascular diseases and even improve cognitive strength.

Yet, there are also some bad fish out in the sea you should avoid and I’m not just talking about the shark in Jaws.

These fish while having some benefits will have cons that far outweigh anything positive you could get from them.

It’s best to stay away from these fish to not only lose weight, but to avoid any serious health problems.

Farmed Atlantic Salmon

salmon farming

Farmed Atlantic Salmon are on of my most hated fish that I unaffectionately call the “Evil Twin.”

It’s really too bad most people unknowingly pick up this bad salmon in the grocery store are putting themselves at risk for some serious health problems.

Farmed Atlantic Salmon are fed a soy-based diet and they’re found to be high in toxic Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCB’s).

Many farm-raised salmon are dyed pink to make it look like they have the same bountiful omega-3’s as their “Good Twin” Alaskan Wild-Caught Salmon.

salmon farmed vs wild

While having only 1/4 the vitamin D as Alaskan Wild-Caught Salmon they’re crammed into pens where diseases and parasites can flourish.

This requires the farmers to use antibiotics and pesticides on the farm-raised salmon that make their way onto your plate.

Disturbingly enough, the FDA in November 2015 approved genetically engineering salmon while not requiring any labeling for consumers.

And this study found farmed salmon to actually cause weight gain in mice. The mice also showed signs of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

So if I were you I’d really try to avoid farmed salmon at all costs.

Atlantic Bluefin Tuna

bluefin tuna

The New York Times found Atlantic Bluefin Tuna to have the highest amounts of mercury than any other tuna.

Mercury is not only toxic for you but it can also cause weight gain by disturbing your thyroid gland and pancreas.

Both of which are extremely vital to regulating your hormones.

The International Union for Conversation of Nature have deemed Atlantic Bluefin Tuna to be extremely over harvested and at risk for near extinction.

It’s much easier and better for your belly to eat Light Canned Tuna instead of going with this mercury laced fish.

Tilapia

tilapia

This might be a shock to you as most restaurants and quick food eateries use tilapia for their fish.

Tilapia is the iceberg lettuce of the fishes.

They’re low in omega-3’s and higher in belly fat causing omega-6 fatty acids.

While omega-3’s have been found to lower abdominal fat, omega-6 fatty acids have been associated with an increase in stomach fat.

Also be aware most tilapia is farm-raised and fed a corn based diet when they should be out in the wild eating lake plants and algae.

Swordfish

Swordfish

If you’re going to eat swordfish then you might as well just start drinking a big glass of mercury right now.

Swordfish is notorious for being super high in mercury.

Mercury is a well known endocrine disruptor than can wreak havoc on your thyroid and pancreas.

This will cause your hormones to get out of whack and make you start to store more fat along with a plethora of other health problems.

The mercury in swordfish tricks your body into storing more fat, burning fewer calories and even reduces the appetite regulating hormone Leptin.

Even though swordfish does have a good amount of selenium and vitamin D the risks really do outweigh any benefits you’ll get from eating it.

Fish Sticks

fish sticks are bad for you

This might be a no-brainer but I thought I’d include fish sticks on my list of the worst fish for weight loss.

Fish sticks are breaded and fried, which usually also means they have trans fats in them.

Don’t forget they’re also high in calories and sodium.

Just one fish stick contains 78 calories. In fact, I’d even go so far as recommend eating chicken nuggets as the lesser evil here.

If you have a love for fish sticks and won’t give them up then be sure to search for fish sticks that are reduced fat and baked instead of fried.

American Eel

american eel bad for you

Eel is a popular choice for sushi you can find at virtually every sushi restaurant on the planet.

I’ve eaten at many a sushi place in my day and for the longest time thought eel was good for me.

Sure, it has some protein but they’re almost all highly contaminated with PCB’s and mercury.

It’s best to stay away from eel as best you can.

Luckily, it’s not a popular choice for fish but it can be dangerous if you like to eat sushi a lot.

Shark

shark bad for you

Sharks are at the very top of the food chain, and with this means they’re extremely high in mercury.

They’re also very low in protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

Sharks are just not a smart choice for healthy fish that will help you lose weight.

Additionally, shark consumption can cause the ocean ecosystems to suffer since they’re at the top of the food chain.

Without them rays and jelly fish become over-populated leading to the rest of the ecosystems suffering.

Plus, to me it doesn’t sound all that enticing to eat a fish that could also eat me. Haha

Tilefish

tilefish bad for you

There isn’t much to say about Tilefish other than you should avoid them at all costs.

They’re notoriously high in mercury, and its even worst when you get Tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico.

Just stay away.

King Mackerel

king mackerel bad for you

King Mackerel contain such a dangerous amount of mercury even health officials warn against eating it.

Mercury builds up in your body and before you know it causing damage.

If you just love King Mackerel then make sure you eat one that’s less than 33 inches and limit your consumption.

Pregnant women should avoid completely as the mercury could cause neurological damage to your unborn baby.

Imported Shrimp

imported shrimp bad for you

Shrimp normally would be on the approved fish list for weight loss, but considering 90% of shrimp in the U.S. is imported there are things you need to know about.

Shrimp are not only lacking in the nutrition department but imported ones are high in contaminants.

There isn’t much regulation for shrimp in foreign countries and you can expect to find chemical residues, antibiotics and even traces of E. coli.

Shrimp is fine when you buy it domestically and even has a good amount of iodine that can be good for your thyroid.

Just be sure to search out for domestic shrimps instead of the gross imported ones.

Catfish

vietnam catfish bad for you

Catfish are bottom feeders that don’t deserve a spot on your dinner plate.

They’re exposed to toxins such as man-made PCB’s that have been found to cause cognitive deficiencies in infants and also affect your hormonal metabolism.

Unfortunately, 90% of the imported catfish comes from Vietnam where they also use antibiotics.

The Federal Government doesn’t consider this imported catfish from Vietnam (Swai and Basa) to technically even be catfish so they’re not held to the same inspection rules.

Best to keep these nasty bottom-feeders out of your body.

Conclusion

When eating the best fish for weight loss you have to make sure you also stay away from the bad ones.

The worst fish above can really cause metal toxicities in your body along with serious disrupting your hormones leading to weight gain.

These bad fishes have risks clearly outweighing any small benefits they may have.

And if you’re pregnant then it’ll be a good idea to avoid these bad fishes at all costs, and at least talk to your doctor before deciding to eat any.

The best fish on this list will help you to lose weight and will also give you inflammation and disease fighting omega-3’s.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition fully endorse dietary fish as a major component for weight loss and should not be avoided.

Just make sure you eat the right fish and stay away from the bad ones.

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