Nobmann and Lanier, 2001). Native Alaskans who switched from their traditional diet high in seafood products had few affordable healthful substitution foods from which to choose. When they decreased their seafood intake, they purchased more processed foods that were less nutrient-dense (such as manufactured snack products) and actually decreased the overall quality of their diets (see discussion Chapter 2, American Indian/Alaska Native and First Nations Populations).

Table 5-2 illustrates the available sampling data on nutrients and contaminants in food. The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has begun updating its nutrient database through its National Food and Nutrient Analysis Program in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This ambitious project, which began in 1997, includes instituting a monitoring program for key foods and critical nutrients; conducting a thorough analysis of selected poultry products, restaurant foods, and items on FDA’s list of the most commonly consumed fruits, vegetables, and seafood; and developing databases of foods of importance to ethnic subpopulations (Source:

In the committee’s judgment, it is important to conduct substitution analyses of the potential impacts of changes in consumption despite the uncertainties about the underlying nutrient and contamination levels. These analyses are incorporated into the balancing of benefits and risks in the following discussion.

Part D: Balancing the Benefits and Risks to Arrive at Specific Guidance for Healthy Consumption

To complete the scientific analysis considering benefits and risks together, the committee developed the following consumption guidance for each of the four target population groups:

  1. Females who are or may become pregnant or who are breastfeeding:

    1. May benefit from consuming seafood, especially those with relatively higher concentrations of EPA and DHA;

    2. A reasonable intake would be two 3-ounce (cooked) servings but can safely consume 12 ounces per week;

    3. Can consume up to 6 ounces of white (albacore) tuna per week;

    4. Should avoid large predatory fish such as shark, swordfish, tilefish, or king mackerel.

  1. Children up to age 12:

    1. May benefit from consuming seafood, especially those with relatively higher concentrations of EPA and DHA;

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