There are a range of different nutrition plans that can be adopted to incur many positive changes on the human body. Some diets are adopted for their health benefits whilst others may be adopted for environmental or ethical reasons. The pescatarian diet may be chosen for either health-related or ethically related reasons. But what’s a pescatarian?
A pescatarian is basically someone who is vegetarian but eat fish or seafood. Typically the pescatarian will avoid animal meat products and sometimes dairy products too.
The diet is typically a very healthy diet and is much less restrictive than a vegan or vegetarian diet. There a number of pescatarian diet benefits to be aware of. One particular area where vegetarians and vegans can particular struggle is with their daily protein intake – this is because vegetarians and vegans don’t eat fish or meat products. Protein is an essential substance that the body requires for maintenance and rebuilding of body tissues. By failing to consume enough, muscle atrophy (wastage) may occur. Because fish and seafood and naturally high in protein, pescatarians do not have the same protein challenges as vegans and vegetarians.
Another pescatarian benefit is that oily fish and other seafood products are very high in an unsaturated fat known as Omega-3. This fat is a healthy fat which the body cannot manufacture by its own means and therefore it must get it through one’s diet. This substance is essential for structure and normal function of body cells and without it, problems with the brain, heart and circulation can occur. The other side of the coin is that by regularly consuming omega-3 you can lower your risk of developing chronic diseases – specifically in regards to disease involving the heart.
There are many excellent seafood choices that are high in protein and Omega-3 including salmon, herring, mackerel, halibut, sardines, tuna, and trout.
Finally, the pescatarian, as they do not eat many meat products (outwith of seafood), will have to find protein from other sources typically products such as grains, nuts, seeds and vegetables. Consuming these types of food will provide the body with not just protein, but more of the essential fats, key vitamins and minerals. Consuming these types of foods in combination with having a high daily protein intake will make controlling appetite a lot more manageable as both have been linked to increasing levels of fullness.
What about weight loss? Is there such a thing as a pescatarian diet for weight loss?
Whilst the pescatarian diet can certainly be a healthy diet, there is no guarantee it will cause weight loss. This is because weight loss does not occur through consumption of specific foods rather, it occurs through consuming less calories than your body burns over a prolonged time period – also known as a calorie deficit. Only through creating a calorie deficit can you reasonably expect fat loss to occur so be aware that just because you’re eating a healthily, does not necessarily mean that you are eating appropriately to cause fat loss.
Can the pescatarian lifestyle lead to a calorie deficit? Yes, it can, providing you are ensuring to consume the correct amount of calories for fat loss to occur. A pescatarian diet does perhaps have the benefit in that you do not eat any meat products and sometimes dairy products too which can typically be high in calories. By avoiding these food groups, you are avoiding calorie dense foods which can make creating a calorie deficit more likely.
So, we now have an understanding that a pescatarian is simply a vegetarian that eats fish. Let’s now have a look at some simple pescatarian meal ideas. Designing a nutrition plan can be a complex thing as some pescatarians may not like eating dairy produce which limits the options for meals. Be aware that the following meals do include dairy produce.
Pescatarian meal plan
Fried / Poached Eggs
Side of green vegetables
Avocado Toast with Ricotta
Greek Yoghurt w/ berries
Side of green vegetables
Handful of nuts and seeds
In conclusion, a pescatarian diet can be a healthy one – which often comes down to the high protein and essential fatty acids content of the diet. However, be aware that calories drive body compositional change, not the health of one’s nutrition.