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The Pescatarian Diet Explained

The vegetarian diet with fish

In the current day, there are lots of different diets that you can follow, and some alternative diets which were once rare, are now becoming a lot more popular. Veganism and vegetarianism has skyrocketed in popularity, and simultaneously the popularity of the pescatarian diet has also increased. It is now estimated that around 3% of the world’s population follow this diet. 

Pescetarian

But what is a pescatarian diet? What is so good about it? And what is the difference between a pescatarian and a vegetarian diet? In this guide, we’ll be answering these questions and lots more, so keep on reading. 

What is a Pescatarian Diet?

First things first, let’s take a look at what a pescatarian diet is. A pescatarian diet is a diet that falls into a similar category to veganism and vegetarianism. Except instead of excluding meat entirely from their diet, pescatarians eat seafood and fish. 

There are lots of reasons why you might choose to follow a pescatarian diet. This style of diet is reported to be healthier, more ethical, and safer than some diets. So, everybody who follows a vegan diet does so for a different reason. But what makes a pescatarian diet so special?

Pescetarian dish with shrimp

Unlike some weight-loss diets, such as keto and juice diets, a pescatarian diet does not exclude entire food categories from your diet. Instead, it simply puts a restriction on the types of meat that you cannot eat. Meat is not excluded from the diet entirely, but those following a pescatarian diet should use seafood as their main source of protein. 

Other than meat, a pescatarian can eat whatever they wish. There is no restriction on sugar, fat, or carbohydrates. In most cases, a pescatarian diet is followed for ethical reasons, rather than weight loss reasons. 

What is the Difference Between a Vegetarian and Pescatarian Diet?

We’ve already mentioned a vegetarian diet, so let’s take a look at what the difference between a vegetarian and pescatarian diet is. Out of all the diet styles that exist, these are the two that are most commonly confused, and this is because there is quite a lot of overlap between these diets. 

As we have said, a pescatarian diet is a diet that is primarily made up of vegetables, but pescatarians will also eat fish and seafood as a source of protein. In contrast, a vegetarian diet contains completely zero meat, and all protein is sourced from meat alternatives. 

Pescetarian foods

A lot of people get pescatarian and vegetarian diets confused. This is because a pescatarian diet is essentially a hybrid of a vegetarian diet. A lot of people choose a vegetarian diet because they do not agree with the ethics of eating meat. But, a lot of people also struggle to get a healthy diet by excluding meat entirely. Due to this, a lot of people chose to add fish and seafood to their diet. 

This process does confuse some vegetarians and vegans who struggle to see the difference between meat and fish, from an ethical perspective. But some people see fish differently, and believe that eating fish is a lot more ethical than eating meat which comes from chickens, cows, pigs, and so on. 

What is the Point of Being Pescatarian?

Of all the ethical diets that exist, the pescatarian diet is the one which seems to cause the most confusion. While people might not agree with vegan and vegetarian diets, it is clear to see the ethical reasons behind these diets. The health benefits also cannot be ignored. But, some people seem to struggle with how it can be unethical to eat meat from animals, but fine to eat meat from fish. 

There are lots of different reasons for this. One of the major ones being the way that people view fish. When we see cows and pigs, and even birds, a lot of people see them as sentient beings. This is the main reason why people follow a vegetarian/vegan diet, as they find it unethical to kill a living being just for us to eat them. But, people view fish differently. Some people do not see fish as sentient beings, and so they do not have an issue with eating them. 

But ethical reasons aren’t the only point of being pescatarian. A lot of people also choose to follow a pescatarian diet for the health benefits, and for the positive impact that it has on the environment. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of this diet. 

Pros of a Pescatarian Diet

  • Health Benefits – A pescatarian diet has been linked with lower blood pressure, and lower risk of heart problems, including fatal heart attacks. 
  • Good for the Environment – A pescatarian diet, like a vegetarian diet, significantly reduces your carbon footprint. 
  • Ethical – A pescatarian diet is the perfect stepping stone to a fully vegetarian diet, which is very ethical. 

Cons of a Pescatarian Diet

  • Limitations on your Diet – You cannot eat any meat when following a pescatarian diet, other than fish and seafood. 
  • Risk of Heavy Metals and Pollutants – There is always a risk of contamination when consuming any food that comes from the sea. 
  • Could be Dangerous – If you are a young child, pregnant, attempting to get pregnant, or breast-feeding then you will need to avoid some fish as they could cause health problems to occur. 

Summary

In short, a pescatarian diet is a diet that primarily consists of vegetables, but also allows for fish and seafood to be eaten. A lot of people see this diet as a stepping stone to vegan and vegetarian diets. In this guide, we’ve given you all the key information you need to know about this diet, so check it out to find out more. 

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Written by Brian N

Brian has been an influencer in the food and beverage industry for over 20 years. He not only loves to eat and drink at restaurants on a regular basis, he also knows the business inside and out.