Why Choose Pescatarian Diet: What is Included in the Diet of Pescatarian, Its Benefits and Drawbacks

Pescatarians are the people who add seafood to the diet. There are numerous reasons people leave meat and add seafood to the diet, the reason being seafood is heart-healthy. This term was coined in 1990 and is a combination of pesce means fish and vegetarian, which comes to pescatarian.

This diet is also described as pesco-vegetarian and is lumped into the spectrum of vegetarianism.(1)

It is mostly a plant-based diet including nuts, grains, legumes, and healthy fats and adding fish and seafood as main protein sources. The diet of pescatarian also includes dairy and eggs.

Pescatarian diet can vary widely including all the processed starches, junk food, and fish sticks.

Why Choose Pescatarian Diet?

Why Choose Pescatarian Diet?

There are several reasons to choose a pescatarian diet.

Health Benefits

A plant-based diet has numerous health benefits that include lowering the risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes.(2,3) A study showed people following a pescatarian diet had a lower risk of developing diabetes as compared to the omnivores.

A large study was done to look for the risk of heart disease in people who eat meat and those who were pescatarian. It was found that the pescatarians had a 22% lower risk.

There are many protective benefits linked with a pescatarian diet. A study found that women who had a pescatarian diet gained fewer pounds than those who ate meat.(4)

Also, limiting red meat in the diet cuts down the chances of getting cancer.

Ethical Reasons

There are numerous ethical reasons why people choose to go vegetarian. A few of which include:

  • Opposing slaughter as they do not want to kill animals for food.
  • Opposing factory farms as they raise livestock in inhumane conditions.
  • Do not like to support factory farms that have poor conditions for the workers.
  • Producing grains for animal feed is an unjust use of land and resources when people are hungry in the world.

What is Included in the Diet of Pescatarian?

Pescatarian diet mostly includes a plant diet including seafood.

Foods included in the pescatarian diet are:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Nuts and nut butter
  • Dairy products
  • Fish and shellfish
  • Eggs

Foods not included in pescatarian diet:

  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Turkey
  • Lamb
  • Pork

Benefits of Eating Fish Along with Vegetarian Diet

By simply following a vegetarian diet, people fall short on certain nutrients such as vitamin B12, zinc, calcium, and protein.

Adding fish can add beneficial nutrients and variety to the normal vegetarian diet.

  1. More Omega-3 Fats

    Fishes are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.(5)

    Some plant foods such as walnut and flaxseeds are also rich in alpha–linolenic acid a type of omega-3 fatty acid. This type of alpha linolenic acid is not easily converted into eicosapentaenoic acid (EHA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which have additional benefits.

    EHA and DHA, along with helping the heart improves brain function and mood.(6) Oily fishes and sardines contain EPA and DHA.

  2. Boost Protein Intake

    The human body needs a good amount of protein to stay healthy. Eating just a plant-based diet cannot be helpful in fulfilling the total protein demand of the body. Fish can be an excellent source of lean protein.

  3. Seafood is Rich in Nutrients

    Along with omega-3 and protein, seafood is rich in many other nutrients. Oysters are rich in vitamin B12, zinc, selenium, magnesium, and B vitamins. Similarly mussels in super-rich in vitamin B12, selenium, and B vitamin. There are many fish varieties that may not be rich in omega-3 fats but can be extremely rich in lean protein.

Drawbacks of the Pescatarian Diet

There are not many drawbacks to the pescatarian diet. Fish may contain mercury and other toxins.(7)

Children and women of childbearing age, especially pregnant females are recommended to avoid tilefish, swordfish, shark and king mackerel.(8) Also, it is easy to overeat carb especially if lots of processed grains are included in the diet. Pescatarian diet is a healthy diet. It provides flexibility and some additional nutrients to the normal vegetarian diet.