Nutritive Value And Digestibility

One of the most natural substitutes for meat is fish. Its nutritive value is much like that of meat, although it contains a somewhat smaller proportion of proteid. It also has the advantage of being as a rule easily digested, and so is particularly adapted to the needs of a person of sedentary habits. It is probably this fact that has given rise to the false idea that fish is a particularly good brain food. As a matter of fact, it is no more a brain food than meat or eggs or any other proteid food. The cost of fish is generally less than that of meat, so that it furnishes a cheap source of the necessary proteid. The value of fish depends, however, upon nearness to the source of supply much more than does that of meat, since fish deteriorates rapidly upon keeping.

Classification Of Fish

For food purposes we may divide fish into white and fat fish; or we may take Hutchison's classification of, (1) fish with more than five per cent of fat, such as eels, salmon and herring; (2) fish with from two to five per cent of fat, as halibut and mackerel; and (3) fish with less than two per cent, such as cod and haddock. Fish with a small amount of fat is more easily digested than the more oily variety. Beside the proteid and fat in the fish, we obtain a certain amount of gelatine. The sturgeon furnishes isinglass, a very pure variety of this substance.

Cost Of Fish

I In estimating the cost of fish, allowance must be made for the large amount of waste so that the price per pound tells by no means the whole story of its value from an economic standpoint. The following analysis by Miss Williams shows the waste in cooked fish as served at the table, and also the amount of nutrient present.

Composition Of Fish

Fish

Part analyzed

Per cent

Waste.

Bones, etc.

Per cent Gelatin

Per cent Water

Per cent Nutrients

Sardines ..

Whole ..

4.91

....

42.17

52.92

Salmon ...

Section..

5.99

0 53

61.06

32.03

Trout...

Whole..

8 23

0 55

67 12

24.10

Eels...

Heads removed..

11.66

1.09

53.29

33.96

Mackerel..

Whole...

10 51

0.25

65.21

24.03

Cod........

Section

15.99

0.43

63 78

19.79

Salt cod...

Section...

6.13

0 33

67 68

25.85

Haddock..

Whole ..

35.10

0 80

46 46

17.64

Whiting...

Whole

21 50

0.86

61 29

16.35

Turbot..

Anterior and head..

31.20

0 59

53 09

15 12

Halibut...

Section..........

6.84

0.03

69 35

23.78

Plaice ..

Flesh...

...

...

79 85

20.14

Soles ...

Whole ..

22 02

0.74

61.18

12.06

Oysters....

Shell contents...

...

...

77 71

22 29

Smelts...

Whole

18.86

0 38

65 20

15.56