FDA Highlights Seafood Benefits for Children’s Brain and Body Development in Updated Guidelines


“Fish is part of a healthy diet and provides essential nutrients during pregnancy, lactation and / or early childhood to support the development of the child’s brain”The FDA reiterates in its guidelines released Oct. 28.

The updated advice includes new information explaining that eating fish provides the necessary omega-3 and -6 fats, iodine (during pregnancy), choline for the development of the baby’s spinal cord, iron and zinc to support children’s immune systems and other nutrients like protein, vitamin B12 and D, and selenium.

He also calls “Strong evidence shows that eating fish as part of a healthy diet can help your heart health,”and “Moderate scientific evidence shows that a healthy diet including fish is associated with a reduced risk of overweight or obesity and the risk of hip fracture, colon cancer and rectal cancer. “

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While the updated guidelines did not change the recommended servings or serving sizes for frequency of consumption, they did clarify that one-year-olds can eat about an ounce of fish twice a week as recommended. of the FDA. “Best choices”list, which includes anchovies, mackerel, catfish, clams, crab, crayfish, plaice, haddock, mullet, oysters, plaice, pollock, salmon, sardines, scallops, shad, shrimp, sole, squid, tilapia, trout and whiting.

As children get older their serving size also increases with recommendations for ages 4-7 doubling to 2 ounces, 8-10 year olds can be 3 ounces, and children 11 and over can have 4 ounces, according to the FDA.

The guidelines also reaffirm that pregnant and breastfeeding women should consume two to three 4-ounce servings from the “Best Picks” list per week or one serving from the “Good Choices” list each week.

In addition to calling the subset of fish “Best Choices,” which are listed in the dietary guidelines for Americans as “even lower in mercury,” the FDA has not changed the way it categorized the different. types of fish on the graph – which also includes “Good Choices” and “Choices to Avoid” due to the higher mercury levels. It also didn’t change the fish on every list.

“A step in the right direction”

The updated guidelines have been hailed by industry stakeholders for helping to clarify a historically confusing dietary decision for pregnant and lactating women and young children, who for decades have been urged to avoid seafood. due to concerns about the build-up of toxic elements, including mercury.

“The updated FDA advisory is a step in the right direction”,Linda Lai Cornish, president of Seafood Nutrition Partnerships, said in a statement.

She explained: “Too many women and children are missing out on the important health benefits of eating seafood. This revised FDA language encourages women and children to eat more seafood for their brains, hearts and their immune health. “

Closer to Zero action plan includes re-evaluation of mercury in fish

While this update is based on the best data currently available, the FDA has acknowledged that it will continue to examine mercury in fish – and all foods consumed by babies and toddlers as part of its plan to ‘Closer to Zero action, which was launched in response to the concerns. on heavy metals and toxins in baby food.

Starting next month, the FDA says it “To examine more comprehensively the role of fish in the diet, taking into account both harmful (like mercury) and beneficial (like nutrients) components and evaluating their respective and interactive roles in the development of the child.

“Our goal is to have the most up-to-date understanding of the science of eating fish in a whole diet context, which will help us determine if and how to update our fish advice in the future. . “

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