All about the pescetarian diet


  • What is a pescetarian diet?
  • Amino acid control concept
  • Classification of fish in the pescetarian diet
  • What are the nutritional values ​​of fish
  • The micronutrients of the pescetarian diet
  • Why a pescetarian diet helps you lose weight
  • What are the cons of the pescetarian diet?
  • An example daily menu of the pescetarian diet

A pescetarian diet is an eating regimen that allows you to eliminate annoying bloating and lose weight, but it has much deeper goals. It is actually a dietary regimen or rather a lifestyle that allows significant benefits for the health of the cardiovascular system, the brain, and more.

This type of diet also aims to help the environment by eating plant foods, vegetables, and proteins that come exclusively from nature (legumes) and fish. The pescetarian diet , in short, is an increasingly popular dietary choice that combines elements of a vegetarian diet with the inclusion of fish and seafood in recipes.

In this article, we’ll look at the basics of the pescetarian diet , its positive health effects, and some delicious meal options you can incorporate into your weekly menu.

What is a pescetarian diet?

Specifically, those who follow this diet add fish or seafood to the basic vegetarian diet. There are many reasons why some people decide to follow a pescetarian diet . These range from wanting to minimize the impact of daily habits on the environment, to making the most of the heart-healthy benefits of fish .

Thanks to the pescetarian diet – the term in question was coined in the 1990s – we have received many health benefits. Among the main ones should be mentioned the greater intake of omega-3 fats and the intake of proteins and omega-6. Meeting the needs of these nutritional principles in the best possible way is important when following a vegetarian diet.

Amino acid control concept

Essential amino acids are irreplaceable ones present in dietary protein in quantities lower than the body’s needs. Essential amino acids are those amino acids that our body is unable to synthesize on its own and that must therefore be consumed through our daily diet. The concept of amino acid control is particularly important for people following a vegetarian or vegan diet, as some plant protein sources may be deficient in one or more essential amino acids. When an essential amino acid is deficient in food, the body is unable to adequately synthesize the proteins necessary for the performance of certain physiological functions. This can lead to inefficient utilization of other proteins in the diet, reducing the overall efficiency of the body’s protein system and amino acid pool.

To avoid essential amino acid deficiencies , especially in weight loss diets, it is important to combine different protein sources that can provide all the necessary essential amino acids. For example, combining legumes (rich in lysine) with whole grains (rich in methionine) can provide a complete and balanced protein. In conclusion, the limiting amino acid is a key concept in planning a balanced diet, especially for those following a vegetarian or vegan diet. An adequate combination of protein sources can ensure an adequate supply of all essential amino acids and promote optimal health. This mechanism in the pescetarian diet is circumvented by the presence of fish sources in the diet.

Classification of fish in the pescetarian diet

From a biological point of view and depending on their habitat, the fish that are on people’s tables and kitchens every day are divided into:

– Marine fish: live in the open sea and represent the majority of existing species;

– Freshwater fish: live in rivers or lakes and represent a small part of the different existing species;

– Mixed water fish: they live in environments where there is a mixture between the two types of water, such as in river mouths and coastal lagoons.

But the classification of most interest to nutritionists and food lovers is the one based on nutritional characteristics and, in particular, fat content:

– Lean fish characterized by a fat content of less than 3%: sole, bream, turbot, cod, pike, shark, grouper;

– Semi-fatty fish, with a lipid content of 3-9%: anchovy, tuna, carp, trout, swordfish, sardine, mullet, mullet .

– Fatty fish that contain more than 9% lipids: eel, mackerel, salmon.

This is a division that should be used with caution, as fat content can vary greatly depending on both the age and life cycle of the fish and the region in which the fish was caught.

Fresh, frozen and deep-frozen fish – here are the differences:

– Fresh fish : fresh fish is freshly caught fish that has not undergone a low temperature storage process. It is sold at fish markets or fish stalls. The advantage of fresh fish is that it is immediately available for consumption, keeping its nutritional and organoleptic qualities intact. However, it has a very limited shelf life and must be consumed within a few days of fishing to ensure its freshness and safety;

– Frozen fish : Frozen fish has gone through a freezing process that involves reducing the temperature of the fish to very low temperatures, usually below -18°C. This process prevents the growth of bacteria and slows down the spoilage of the fish, allowing it to be stored for longer than fresh fish. Frozen fish can be sold whole or in portions and is a convenient choice for those who want to have fish available even when it is not immediately available.

– Deep-frozen fish: Deep-frozen fish is a type of frozen fish, but it differs from frozen fish in the freezing process. Deep-frozen fish is frozen very quickly at extremely low temperatures, so small ice crystals form, which prevents damage to the cells of the fish. This process allows the organoleptic characteristics, texture and taste of the fish to be preserved intact. Deep-frozen fish usually has a similar quality to fresh fish and can be stored longer without losing its nutritional properties.

What are the nutritional values ​​of fish

Broadly speaking, fish has the following nutritional characteristics:

– 60-80% water;

– 15-23% protein;

– 0.5-20% fat.

Carbohydrates, which are almost absent in fish, are usually found in molluscs such as clams and oysters. Proteins are present in all types of fish and have a greater biological value (like 95%) than those present in meat, although similar in quality and quantity. Due to the low content of purines and pyrimidines, which are instead abundant in crustaceans, fish is an excellent food suitable for uricemics, limiting the production of uric acid.

The micronutrients of the pescetarian diet

It should also not be overlooked that by eating fish, it is possible to get more vitamin B12, which is essential for preventing anemia and strengthening bones, but also more selenium, an important mineral for thyroid function. gland.

A pescetarian diet offers a number of health benefits as it is rich in nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins and iron. This diet can help improve brain function, cardiovascular health, and muscle strength and contraction. In addition, the high fiber content of fruits, vegetables and whole grains supports good digestion and can help maintain a healthy weight by modulating the absorption of fats and carbohydrates.

Why a pescetarian diet helps you lose weight

As experts point out, fish is generally lower in calories than meat. This allows those who follow a pescetarian diet – also known as a fish and vegetarian diet – to have a BMI that is generally lower than that of people who eat everything. Below we will summarize the features of the pescetarian diet that allow you to lose weight easily:

– Foods with low caloric density: The pescetarian diet is based primarily on plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, which are generally low in caloric density compared to foods of animal origin. This means that these foods contain fewer calories for a larger amount, which contributes to a reduction in total calorie intake for the day. Eating 200g of salad allows you to enter fewer calories, but fills you up more than a teaspoon of peanut butter;

– Lean protein foods: Fish and seafood, the main sources of protein in a pescetarian diet , are often lean and high in high-quality protein and low in fat. Proteins are key nutrients for maintaining muscle mass and promoting satiety, helping to control appetite;

– Omega-3: Fish is an important source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to have heart and brain health benefits. These fats can positively affect lipid metabolism and help reduce inflammation in the body;

– Dietary fiber: A pescetarian diet is usually high in fiber from fruits, vegetables and whole grains, as it is a modification of the vegetarian diet. Fiber contributes to good digestion and can help control appetite by reducing the desire to overeat and help modulate the absorption of fats and carbohydrates;

– Greater energy expenditure: those who follow a pescetarian diet should also have a more active lifestyle, tending to prefer outdoor activities such as swimming, hiking or water sports. This can lead to increased energy expenditure, contributing to weight loss and maintaining an athletic, active physique.

What are the cons of the pescetarian diet?

There are also some small downsides to consider, such as definitely not the low costs you have when shopping for fresh fish. In addition, it should be specified that some fish, especially larger species, often have an elevated composition of heavy metals. Among the most risky in this regard, we can mention swordfish and mackerel, which should be avoided during childbearing years, pregnancy and breastfeeding. However, small fish that have a shorter life cycle in the sea (such as anchovies and sardines) are preferable. If not planned properly, a pescetarian diet can lead to deficiencies in some essential nutrients such as amino acids, heme iron and other nutrients that a nutritionist will be able to integrate through nutrition or through specific supplements.

An example daily menu of the pescetarian diet

Let’s see the menu for an example day of a pescetarian diet .

– Breakfast: omelet accompanied by 100-150 g of berries;

– Snack before lunch: 20 g of dried fruit + yogurt;

– Lunch: mix salad with barley, flounder and pieces of salmon fillet + lemon + extra virgin olive oil;

– Afternoon snack: Fresh fruit;

– Dinner: Baked cod with potatoes and spinach in a pan + extra virgin olive oil


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