The findings were made by researchers at the Clinical Institute 1 at the University of Bergen (UiB).
They fed obese rats with raw and baked fish over four weeks and found that baked fish was just as healthy as raw fish.
“Many people think that raw fish is healthier than heat-treated fish, which is perhaps also one of the reasons that sushi has become so popular. We wondered if the baking would make the salmon less healthy,” researcher Oddrun Gudbrandsen told Norwegian newspaper Bergens Tidende.
PhD student and dietitian Linn Anja Vikøren and Gulbrandsen have detailed a study in which 18 obese rats were divided into three groups. For four weeks the rats were fed a diet with normal amounts of fat, vitamins, minerals, fibre, carbohydrates and proteins.
In the control group, rats received their proteins just from milk. In salmon groups 25 per cent of the milk proteins were replaced by proteins from either baked or raw salmon.
“We wondered whether some of the omega 3 fatty acids and proteins in the salmon would be destroyed by baking. But what we found was surprising: there was a greater reduction in cholesterol levels in the rats who ate baked salmon than those who ate raw salmon, although omega 3 levels in baked and raw salmon were similar,” said Gudbrandsen.
She is unsure why the baked fish came out best in the study, but thinks the effect may be the same in humans.
“We concluded that [the study] did not have so much to say about eating raw or baked fish. But the baked fish is in any case not less healthy than the raw, as many think,” said Gudbransen.