Anchovy Side Effects and Benefits

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 01/02/23 •  12 min read

What are anchovy benefits? Side effects? Are anchovies vegan? Gluten free? Acidic or alkaline? Low fodmap? Good for you? Healthy? Sustainable? Here is all the info on anchovies that every ethical consumer wants to know…

anchovy benefits and side effects

Food is something we consume every day. If you’re like me, you do all the research you can to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, the planet, animals or others when shopping. As an ethical consumer myself, I am giving you all the info I’ve found on anchovies.

You are going to learn all about anchovy side effects and benefits. This will include anchovy benefits for your health and potential risks, anchovy’s carbon footprint, sustainability, if anchovies are vegan or impact animals in other ways, and much more. 

After learning if anchovies are good or bad for you, the environment, animals and human rights, you will be able to make the best choices you can the next time you buy food.

This post is all about anchovy benefits and side effects that every ethical consumer should know.

Anchovy Side Effects and Benefits

HEALTH

Anchovy benefits for health may include:

Anchovy side effects may include:

Additionally, anchovies are…

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ENVIRONMENT

Water footprint: unknown

Carbon footprint: high, 5.4 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of marine fish, a car driving equivalent of 12.5 miles or 20 kilometers, UK market data, anchovies have a relatively high carbon footprint

Destruction: high, anchovy production is relatively destructive, greatly impacts marine ecosystems negatively, discarded fishing nets pollute oceans, fishing damages coral, sponges and poses severe threat to marine habitats

Anchovies are…

ANIMALS

Kills: anchovies, small marine fish

Harms: anchovies, small marine fish, farmed fish spend their entire lives (up to two years) confined in tightly packed spaces, most farmed fish are predators and eat smaller fish, billions of wild fish must be caught in order to feed them, it can take several pounds of ocean fish to produce just one pound of farmed fish 

Indirectly killed or harmed: sea-life, such as dolphins, sea turtles, protected fish, whales, seabirds etc. known as “bycatch”, unwanted marine life that unintentionally get caught, hooked and entangled in fishing nets

Anchovies are…

LABORERS

Health and safety: hazardous, fishing workers are at risk of accident, injury, and death, reports show 20% of workers and almost 50% of trafficked victims have been injured on the job, injuries include cuts, broken bone, lost fingers, hands and limbs, head injuries, electrocutions, workers get caught in machinery, get thrown overboard, deaths are reported, boat decks are slippery and in constant motion, there can be hazardous machinery present

Living conditions: poor, fishing boats often lack toilets, intensive labor, rapid exhaustion, workers are held at sea and work against their will, they load catch onto bigger, commercial fishing boats in exchange for food and supplies, seafood caught illegally from slave worker boats gets mixed in with legal, commercial fishing boats in order to remain undetected, boats filled with trafficked migrants do not dock, sometimes for years, keeping slave workers unseen, trapped at sea, continuing forced labor and abuse, fishing industries around the world are responsible for systematic, illegal,

continued…

fishing practices, human rights abuse, fishing workers are vulnerable to human trafficking and slave labor, in countries like Thailand (the third largest seafood exporter in the world), Burma, Indonesia, and Fiji seafood slavery is a major issue for migrant workers originally from Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, seafood consumed in the United States is mostly from foreign sources

Wages: low, recruiters promise well paying jobs to poor, unskilled and vulnerable laborers, recruiters trick migrants into thinking they must work to pay off their debts, referred to as “debt peonage”, and little to no compensation for their work is given for long periods and maybe even years and are paid below the minimum wage 

Anchovies have…

Where do most anchovies come from? 📍

The world’s top anchovy exporting country is Portugal, followed by Spain, Italy, Greece, France, Argentina, Canada, Morocco, USA and UK.

Are anchovies nutritious? 🥗

Anchovies are in protein, healthy omega 3 fats, calcium, iron, and zinc but are high in sodium and contain purines, mercury and antibiotics when farmed.

What is an anchovies substitute? 🍴

Anchovies substitutes include vegan Worcestershire sauce, vegan fish sauce, soy sauce, miso, capers and kalamata olives.

Are anchovies alkaline or acidic?

acidic foods and alkaline diet to improve ph levels

Anchovies are acidic. Fish is an acidic food group.

When you eat food, it breaks down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.

Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List

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Are anchovies low fodmap?

low fodmap food

Yes, anchovies are low fodmap, a food you can eat if on a low fodmap diet. 

A low FODMAP diet may help those with bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain, and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).

It’s all about knowing your body. Observe what works and what doesn’t. You body might even react negatively to a low-FODMAP food simply due to intolerance. Everyone is different! Be mindful and patient. Take time to get to know what’s best for your physical health and overall wellbeing.

See this High FODMAP and Low FODMAP List of Foods

Are anchovies gluten free?

gluten free foods and what to eat on a gluten free diet

Yes, anchovies are naturally gluten free. Anchovies do not contain gluten when unseasoned and unbreaded.

While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…

Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:

There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.

Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List

Are anchovies a common food allergen?

the most common food allergens include milk, wheat, soy, fish, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs and crustaceans

Yes, anchovies are a common food allergen: fish. Many people experience allergic reactions to anchovies.

A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:

These foods account for about 90% of all food allergies in the United States.

Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. 

Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.

Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List

Are anchovies high in mercury?

mercury levels in seafood and fish are dangerous

No, anchovy mercury levels are low compared to other seafood but anchovies contain mercury nevertheless.

Mercury is metal that produces toxic effects to the body. If consumed in high quantities it poisons the kidneys and nervous system. Mercury occurs naturally at low levels in rock, water and soil…

However, human activity (most notably the burning of fossil fuels) has dangerously increased mercury levels to be around 450% higher than natural. 

Which fish have mercury? Read more about Mercury Levels in Fish

Carbon footprint of anchovies?

carbon footprints of food and food emissions

Anchovies have a relatively high carbon footprint compared to other foods.

What is the carbon footprint of anchovies? It takes around 5.4 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of fish, a car driving equivalent of 12.5 miles or 20 kilometers.

Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Since carbon measurements are a bit more difficult to comprehend, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance which a car drives in miles or kilometers.

When calculating carbon emissions, some factors may be…

There are a number of steps we can take to reduce energy output. According to Oxford Martin School researchers, if the world went vegan, eliminating animal-derived products, it could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two thirds and avoid climate damages of $1.5 trillion.

It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:

Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

Are anchovies sustainable?

seafood is unsustainable food that pollutes oceans with plastic

Anchovy production is relatively unsustainable.

Whether farmed or wild caught, the seafood industry is environmentally destructive due to its direct impact on decreasing marine populations, polluting waters and habitat destruction.

Wild-caught fish and seafood is destructive due to overfishing (when populations die at a greater rate than they are able to replenish). Degraded ecosystems occur as a result and creates an imbalance that impacts important food chains. Consequently, vulnerable aquatic species like sea turtles and coral suffer. Scientists predict oceans will be fishless by 2048. Such a major loss in biodiversity would be catastrophic, as oceans regulate temperature and contribute to half of our oxygen on Earth.

Fish farming, or aquafarming, is not a sustainable alternative. Not only do farmed fish need to be fed fish to eat (perpetuating a never-ending cycle of fishing) but waters become contaminated with antibiotics (to prevent disease that inevitably occurs with overcrowded fish confinements), pesticides, parasites and fish feces. The toxic water then spreads to waterways and oceans, polluting ecosystems and eventually killing off wild fish populations.

All of the aforementioned fishing practices occur in order to meet global demand. The obvious solution for protecting our Earth’s oceans and waterways, marine habitats, ecosystems and wildlife is for consumers to significantly reduce or eliminate their seafood demand entirely.

Read more about ‘What Makes Food Sustainable Or Unsustainable?’

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Are anchovies vegan?

seafood and fish is not vegan

No, anchovies are not vegan. Anchovies are a type of fish, therefore making it an animal-derived food. An anchovy fish must be killed in order to produce anchovies. 

Animals of factory farming are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. Growth hormones allow all kinds of animals to become fatter faster and live short lives.

Go vegan for animals!

It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.

Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non-Vegan Foods List

Do anchovies have human rights issues?

labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues for the fishing industry

Yes. There are reports of serious worker mistreatment regarding the seafood industry. Anchovies is a product that has labor concerns.

There are high numbers of trafficked people promised work but then held at sea against their will. Boats filled with trafficked migrants do not dock, sometimes for years on end, keeping slave workers unseen and trapped at sea, continuing the forced labor. Recruiters trick migrants into thinking they must work to pay off their debts, referred to as “debt peonage”. There is little to no compensation for their work. Seafood caught illegally from slave worker boats mixes with legal, commercial fishing boats.

Fishing workers everywhere are at risk of accident, injury, and death. Injuries include cuts, broken bones, lost fingers, hands and limbs, head injuries and electrocutions. Workers get caught in machinery, get thrown overboard and deaths are reported. Boats are in constant motion, decks are slippery and there can be hazardous machinery present.

Fishing industries around the world are responsible for systematic, illegal fishing practices and human rights abuse. Fishing workers are vulnerable to human trafficking and slave labor, especially in countries like Thailand (the third largest seafood exporter in the world), Burma, Indonesia and Fiji. Seafood slavery is a major issue for migrant workers originally from Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

Seafood consumed in the United States is mostly from foreign sources. Only 3% of fish and shellfish is from American territory!

Many developed countries depend on imported seafood.

We improve lives around the world if we boycott problematic foods that are difficult for human rights authorities to regulate.

This post was all about anchovy benefits and side effects.

Sources:

Oceana takes government to court again over anchovy limits

Protein hydrolysates from anchovy waste: purification and chemical characterization

World Wide Fund for Nature: Overfishing

Presence of histamine in anchovies – NSW Food Authority

Animal equality: 4 WAYS THE FISHING INDUSTRY IS DESTROYING THE PLANET

Human rights watch: Hidden Chains Rights Abuses and Forced Labor in Thailand’s Fishing Industry

International Labour Office: Caught at sea

NRDC: Mercury Guide

PETA: Is fish good for you?

Adriane Marie

Hi, I'm Adriane, creator of HEALabel! I organize info for you to comprehensively see how purchases impact health, environment, animals and laborers. Stay aware because you care! Subscribe below to get my weekly newsletter with tips, new info and other ethical consumer insight.

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