Food and Nutrition Experts Catch the Australis Barramundi Wave

Posted on Oct 18, 2011 by kate

Thousands of Food and Nutrition Experts Get Hooked on Barramundi American Dietetic Association Conference 

I recently returned from the American Dietetic Association Food and Nutrition Conference (www.eatright.org), one of the largest nutrition conferences in the world, bringing thousands of food and nutrition experts together to see what’s new in science and trends, as well as what will soon be coming to a grocery store near them.

I was honored to be signing books at the Australis Barramundi booth! I absolutely loved the chance to introduce the country’s leading nutritionists to such a delicious new tool in transforming the way America eats. Over three days, with over 8,000 people in attendance, here’s what we commonly heard at the barra booth - after they were done oohing and ahhing over our delicious samples, that is:

1.     White fish is an easier sell for most people to add to their shopping list. Call it a “gateway” fish, if you will; most Americans are still struggling to consume heart healthy, omega-3 rich seafood twice a week as part of a diet for optimum health and weight management; That’s what the 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommend, but in reality most of us consume less than half of that. Tilapia was the white fish nutritionists said they commonly recommend, and many were pleasantly shocked to learn that ounce per ounce, barramundi packs nearly 3x the omega-3s as tilapia! (consider a 5 oz. portion of tilapia has 294 mg, while Australis barramundi boasts 833 mg). It’s actually right up there with Coho salmon, which has 900 milligrams, but in a more acceptable white fish package for finicky palates.

2.     Optimum ratio of omega-6 to omega 3 is critical. One topic covered repeatedly in multiple education sessions was the fact that Americans are consuming far too many omega-6 fats and far too little omega-3 fats in their diet. Processed foods, fast food, and feedlot agriculture have stripped the typical American diet of omega-3s and have replaced them with an abundance of omega-6 fats.  This is one of the underlying contributors to many of the leading pro-inflammatory, chronic disease like heart disease and obesity. While the typical American diet has a ratio of between 11:1 and a staggering 20:1 omega-6 to omega-3, barramundi is one of nature’s perfect proteins. It has a 1:1 ratio, making it a deliciously healthy food whether you’re in the high chair or seated at the head of the dinner table.

3.     The freezer aisle is where you often find the best bargains and safest seafood.Did you know frozen fillets are one of the best options from a food safety standpoint in your kitchen? This insight was overheard when any of the hundreds of food safety experts attending the conference dropped by for a taste. Frozen filets, with today’s state of the art processing methods, typically have a lower risk of food borne illness than fresh fish and seafood. As a busy mom, I also love that there’s no waste or spoilage if dinner plans change, and I can’t get to them right away. And as I blogged http://kategeagan.com/2011/04/7-myths-about-sustainable-seafood/ about in my interview with legendary sustainable seafood chef Barton Seaver http://www.bartonseaver.org/ , buying frozen is also a more eco-friendly and cheaper option than fresh,  especially when you can load up your freezer when the fish goes on sale.

What else did I love (aside from the glorious weather of San Diego where the conference was held)? Sharing the story of this award winning fish with folks who are recommending fish to patients and clients all the time. After all, while the ADA meeting features a dizzying array of new food formulations and “better for you” versions of familiar favorites, how often do you really get to learn about a brand new, super clean fish? One that delivers all the things we health professionals want (nutrient rich protein, omega-3 fats) and none of the things we don’t (mercury, hormones, antibiotics, PCBs, or a large environmental footprint). Talk about a delicious combination!

What are some of your favorite ways to prepare family friendly recipes with barramundi? I’d love to hear from you!

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