Clam Side Effects + Benefits

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 03/12/22 •  11 min read
clam benefits and side effects

HEALTH

Energy: clam side effects may include memory loss from PBCs, sickness from bacterial contamination, seafood is the number one cause of food poisoning in the United States, which leads to many side effects and causes extreme discomfort, high levels of mercury can lead to depression and anxiety

Longevity: clam side effects may include toxic chemicals known to cause cancer and brain degeneration, toxic contaminants and heavy metals from polluted water habitats, PBCs may cause liver damage, nervous system disorders, and fetal damage, dioxins, also linked to cancer and death, radioactive substances like strontium 90 and other dangerous contaminants like cadmium, mercury poisoning, lead, chromium, and arsenic, which can cause health problems such as kidney damage, impaired mental development and cancer, high levels of mercury can lead to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, autism, mercury exposure can also lead to high blood pressure, an increased risk of heart attacks and higher “bad” LDL cholesterol

Appearance: clams benefits may include muscle building

Clams are…

a kids book about plant based eating
Teach Kids Where Our Food Comes From. Look Inside!

ENVIRONMENT

Water footprint: unknown

Carbon footprint: high, 5.4 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of crustacean seafood, a car driving equivalent of 12.5 miles or 20 kilometers

Destruction: high, clam production is relatively destructive, marine ecosystems, discarded fishing nets pollute oceans, fishing damages coral, sponges and poses severe threat to marine habitats, a method known as “clam dredging” is used commercially that involves dragging heavy metal boxes along the ocean floors behind fishing boats

Clams are…

ANIMALS

Kills: clams, a type of shellfish

Harms: clams, a type of shellfish

Indirectly kills or harms: sea-life and marine-life, such as dolphins, sea turtles, protected fish, whales, seabirds etc. known as “bycatch” (unwanted marine life caught, hooked and entangled in fishing nets)

Clams are…

LABORERS

Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible

Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation

Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits

Clams have…

Where do most clams come from?

The world’s top clam exporting country is the USA, followed by China, Italy, South Korea, France, Portugal, UK, Netherlands, Spain and Canada. China, is the largest producer of marine bivalves (85% of the world production). 

Are clams nutritious?

Clams are high in protein and contain minerals such as selenium, zinc, iron and magnesium and B vitamins like niacin but also contain purines, cholesterol, sodium and mercury.

acidic foods and alkaline diet benefits that improve ph levels

clams are acidic.

Are clams alkaline or acidic? Clams are acidic. What is the pH level of clams? Clams and all shellfish have a 6.0 pH level once digested.

When you eat food, it is broken 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 found in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.

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

clams are gluten free.

glutinous foods have side effects but a gluten free diet can help

Are clams gluten free? Yes, clams are gluten free. Clams do not contain gluten when unseasoned. Clams are a type of mollusk, therefore making it a naturally gluten free food. 

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

clams are a common food allergen: crustacean shellfish.

side effects of common food allergens like milk, wheat, soy, fish, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs and crustaceans

Are clams a common food allergen? Yes, clams are a common food allergen: crustacean shellfish. Many people experience allergic reactions to clams.

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

clams contain low levels of mercury.

mercury levels in seafood and fish have dangerous side effects

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. 

Air pollutants from coal burning factories, for example, can travel around the world into lakes, rivers, and oceans. It is then absorbed and ingested by small aquatic organisms and starts working its way up the food chain.

Large, predatory fish on top of the food chain the highest levels of mercury, namely:

All fish and shellfish contain at least some traces of mercury. Nearly all mercury that we acquire within our bodies comes from eating seafood.

Too much mercury can cause the following symptoms:

The only way to ensure you do not consume mercury is to eliminate seafood from your diet entirely. Fish and crustaceans can be replaced by foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins such as D and B2 (riboflavin). 

Here’s an excellent book for further information on seafood: Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood by Taras Grescoe

clams have a high carbon footprint.

carbon footprints of food and food emissions

Do clams have a high or low carbon footprint? Clams have a relatively low carbon footprint compared to other foods.

What is the carbon footprint of clams? It takes around 5.4 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of crustacean seafood, 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 include…

There are a number of steps that can be taken 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.

But that’s not all!

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

clams are unsustainable.

seafood and fish is not vegan

Overall, are clams eco friendly and sustainable? No, clam 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 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.

There’s also an alarming amount of plastic pollution in our oceans. Abandoned and lost fishing gear make up more than 85% of all plastic pollution. Nets, traps and hooks continue to kill marine life. According to Greenpeace, “Abandoned fishing nets kill and injure more than 100,000 whales, dolphins, seals and turtles each year”.

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.

clams are not vegan.

Are clams vegan? No, clams are not vegan. Clams are mollusks, a marine animal, therefore making it an animal-derived food. Mollusks must be killed in order to produce clams. 

According to Sentient Media, “more than 200 million land animals are killed for food around the world every day. Including wild-caught and farmed fishes, we get a total closer to 3 billion animals killed daily.”

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.

Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.

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

clams are a product that has labor issues.

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

Are clams a product that has known labor issues?

Yes. There are reports of serious worker mistreatment regarding the seafood industry. Clams are 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 which is given for long periods -maybe even years. Seafood caught illegally from slave worker boats gets mixed in with legal, commercial fishing boats in order to remain undetected.

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.

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

Sources:

Talking fish: Clam Dredging: A Path of Destruction

NRDC: Mercury Guide

How many animals are killed for food every day

Adriane Marie

As an educator, author and conscious consumer advocate, I study and organize ethical info for you to quickly see how our purchases impact animals, people and the planet. I hope you find this HEALabel knowledge useful and can apply it to your life for personal and societal improvement and empowerment.