3

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Pescatarian-- Am I really missing out?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 19, 2012 at 2:28 AM

The idea of the paleo lifestyle is really growing on me. I feel as though I've stalled in my fitness goals (still have ~10-15 lbs of fat to burn off. I am now 29 and have been a pescatarian for about 7 years. In the last 3 years, I've lost about 50 pounds and have begun to add a fair amount of muscle in the last year.

My question is if adding meat to my diet will make a difference in my goals to continue to burn fat and add muscle. I began this pescatarian diet believing it was healthier and more humane (I still believe in the latter). Also, to make a transition to meat more difficult, my wife is also a pescatarian and has no interest in changing.

Thanks for any input.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on June 21, 2012
at 05:24 PM

It depends on which fish and how heavily they're relied on. If someone relies on fatty fish for protein they will be consuming an astronomical amount of omega-3. That's what I'm concerned about.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on June 21, 2012
at 05:23 PM

One third of a pound of salmon has 4g of omega-3 http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/finfish-and-shellfish-products/4231/2 that's a lot of omega-3 already. More than Kresser recommends, more than Perfect Health Diet recommends, and more than reason suggests that people need.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on June 21, 2012
at 05:21 PM

If you overeat fish it's extremely easy to get too much omega-3.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 21, 2012
at 02:13 AM

Sorry I can be more help, but i think at least the forebrain thing, which is generally a predictive and imaginative system, can help explain some of the mental differences between higher and lower mammals, as the forebrain in lower mammals is much less developed than in higher mammals.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 21, 2012
at 02:06 AM

I have the vague recollection that the cow study was on cows going to the slaughterhouse. But I am not certain.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 21, 2012
at 02:03 AM

Any animal can be conditioned to experience fear of pain however, so if the pain or suffering is repeated in such a way the link is obvious, then the whole psychological anticipation thing is less relevant I would guess. Sorry I can be more help, but i think at least the forebrain thing, which is generally a predictive and imaginative system, can help explain some of the mental differences between higher and lower mammals, as theres is much less developed than higher mammals.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 21, 2012
at 01:56 AM

Any animal can be _conditioned_ to experience fear of pain however, so if the pain or suffering is repeated in such a way the link is obvious, then the whole psychological anticipation thing is less relevant I would guess. Sorry I can be more help, but i think at least the forebrain thing, which is generally a predictive and imaginative system, will help explain some of the mental differences between higher and lower mammals.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 21, 2012
at 01:46 AM

I cant remember where I read about the studies on cows and pain anticipation, I spent some time researching animal intelligence in university, so perhaps it was in class. Its fairly well studied in humans and I found this - "In fact, it has been shown that the anticipation of pain activates areas in the forebrain and midbrain that are part of this pain-modulating circuit, and that anticipation of pain can produce and enhance pain.", which may help explain why lower animals with less developed forebrains may experience less psychological anticipation of pain.

3ff7a6428ecc00e45cb31504d4960a57

(30)

on June 21, 2012
at 01:33 AM

Thanks! I really appreciate your time and your response.

3ff7a6428ecc00e45cb31504d4960a57

(30)

on June 21, 2012
at 01:31 AM

This is great info-- thank you all for your advice!

3ff7a6428ecc00e45cb31504d4960a57

(30)

on June 21, 2012
at 01:30 AM

Thanks! This is incredibly helpful... I appreciate your insight on this.

Ae3b7ea9f3755af32287825db8d98796

(2022)

on June 21, 2012
at 01:08 AM

Jamie, I'm very curious about what you just wrote re: cows and pain anticipation. Where did you get your info? I'd love to read up on that. Thanks!

A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c

on June 20, 2012
at 08:24 PM

Grassfed ground beef might be 80% lean too. Regularly, we see recommendations to eat lean CAFO meat if we can't get grassfed, and supplement dietary fat from healthier sources. Adding fat to the diet does not require anything resembling a "strong effort." I find the claim that a pescatarian diet is too lean totally specious.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on June 20, 2012
at 06:29 PM

I've never actually met a pescatarian who at nothing but fish. Do you eat nothing but groud beef?

44739854bd06eb5c32af5d33aa866864

(859)

on June 20, 2012
at 06:08 PM

If you buy the bones/skin red salmon, the ratio is closer to 50/50, protein to fat... add a little EVOO and I think you could easily make it 40/60. You should definitely add good fat to everything!

44739854bd06eb5c32af5d33aa866864

(859)

on June 20, 2012
at 05:36 PM

Honestly, I don't think the Omega-3 levels from eating whole food (fish, seafood) will be a problem... Chris is talking about supplementing fish oil for O3, which can be easily overdone by popping too many pills.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on June 19, 2012
at 01:27 PM

Fish *is* meat ;)

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on June 19, 2012
at 06:17 AM

Read "eating animals" by Jonathan Safran Foer. The fishing industry is no more humane than the industrial animal industry. Unless you're getting the fish yourself, of course.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 19, 2012
at 05:30 AM

^ good point, and its not like theyll kill more cows to get more liver etc, its all excess from people with their muscle meats, few people eat it....

3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on June 19, 2012
at 05:02 AM

That, and let's not forget offal. Offal is even more rich in nutrients, e.g. Q10 and PQQ, that are not found in fish too much. So even if this dieter doesn't want to do meat, at least he should eat some offal occasionally.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on June 19, 2012
at 03:15 AM

pescatarian is Seafood only (as your meat)?

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8 Answers

best answer

6
Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on June 19, 2012
at 04:46 AM

Red meat has things that fish doesn't have like carnitine and carnosine/beta alanine. Those are beneficial and red meat has a whole lot more of them than fish. So you could consider supplementing with them. I don't know any other nutrients that you can't get from fish that you can from red meat.

It might not be wise to over-rely on fis, though. A paleo diet usually has quite a bit of animal protein and fish has the mercury, PCBs and all of that which isn't much of an issue in small amounts, but it depends on how much you eat. You might end up eating a lot. And there is such thing as too much omega-3 http://chriskresser.com/when-it-comes-to-fish-oil-more-is-not-better

That's not to say you can't be successful and reach your goals with plant protein. Have your moderate amount of fish, take the supplements, and get pea or hemp protein or something and you just might be set. That's my best advice.

Cheers.

3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on June 19, 2012
at 05:02 AM

That, and let's not forget offal. Offal is even more rich in nutrients, e.g. Q10 and PQQ, that are not found in fish too much. So even if this dieter doesn't want to do meat, at least he should eat some offal occasionally.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 19, 2012
at 05:30 AM

^ good point, and its not like theyll kill more cows to get more liver etc, its all excess from people with their muscle meats, few people eat it....

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on June 21, 2012
at 05:24 PM

It depends on which fish and how heavily they're relied on. If someone relies on fatty fish for protein they will be consuming an astronomical amount of omega-3. That's what I'm concerned about.

44739854bd06eb5c32af5d33aa866864

(859)

on June 20, 2012
at 05:36 PM

Honestly, I don't think the Omega-3 levels from eating whole food (fish, seafood) will be a problem... Chris is talking about supplementing fish oil for O3, which can be easily overdone by popping too many pills.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on June 21, 2012
at 05:23 PM

One third of a pound of salmon has 4g of omega-3 http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/finfish-and-shellfish-products/4231/2 that's a lot of omega-3 already. More than Kresser recommends, more than Perfect Health Diet recommends, and more than reason suggests that people need.

Be1dbd31e4a3fccd4394494aa5db256d

(17969)

on June 21, 2012
at 05:21 PM

If you overeat fish it's extremely easy to get too much omega-3.

best answer

2
Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 19, 2012
at 05:16 AM

I think, you could probably emulate the macronutrients by eating fattier fish, using milk, eggs, cheese, butter, coconut, palm oil....and possibly supplement for the more minor differences. Someone smarter in micronutrients and performance excercise will have to answer that though...

I know less about the micronutrient differences between land meat and fish, but there as some differences ive heard of.

Consider ethically, also that cows are lower mammals. They for example lack psychological anticipation of pain. Its not as bad as eating a monkey, and elephant, a human or a dolphin. Its hard to say what a plant feels, what a fish feels, or what a cow feels scientifically, or rationally, but there are some definate differences between a cow and a human, such as a lack of psychological pain anticipation.

Up to you though of course!

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 21, 2012
at 02:13 AM

Sorry I can be more help, but i think at least the forebrain thing, which is generally a predictive and imaginative system, can help explain some of the mental differences between higher and lower mammals, as the forebrain in lower mammals is much less developed than in higher mammals.

Ae3b7ea9f3755af32287825db8d98796

(2022)

on June 21, 2012
at 01:08 AM

Jamie, I'm very curious about what you just wrote re: cows and pain anticipation. Where did you get your info? I'd love to read up on that. Thanks!

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 21, 2012
at 01:46 AM

I cant remember where I read about the studies on cows and pain anticipation, I spent some time researching animal intelligence in university, so perhaps it was in class. Its fairly well studied in humans and I found this - "In fact, it has been shown that the anticipation of pain activates areas in the forebrain and midbrain that are part of this pain-modulating circuit, and that anticipation of pain can produce and enhance pain.", which may help explain why lower animals with less developed forebrains may experience less psychological anticipation of pain.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 21, 2012
at 02:06 AM

I have the vague recollection that the cow study was on cows going to the slaughterhouse. But I am not certain.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 21, 2012
at 01:56 AM

Any animal can be _conditioned_ to experience fear of pain however, so if the pain or suffering is repeated in such a way the link is obvious, then the whole psychological anticipation thing is less relevant I would guess. Sorry I can be more help, but i think at least the forebrain thing, which is generally a predictive and imaginative system, will help explain some of the mental differences between higher and lower mammals.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 21, 2012
at 02:03 AM

Any animal can be conditioned to experience fear of pain however, so if the pain or suffering is repeated in such a way the link is obvious, then the whole psychological anticipation thing is less relevant I would guess. Sorry I can be more help, but i think at least the forebrain thing, which is generally a predictive and imaginative system, can help explain some of the mental differences between higher and lower mammals, as theres is much less developed than higher mammals.

best answer

5
140e2a7ebd23d56038f8b597bab28464

on June 21, 2012
at 12:47 AM

Hello hello! I had been a pescatarian for 3 years and a few months. Lovin' on dem cows and shiz.

Like you, the idea of a full paleo diet made me want to dive into the animal kingdom -- so I did. And I dove hard. I started with bacon (I know, this is not advised) and immediately wondered what I had been thinking.

After I got over the bacon-phase, what astounded me the most is how much energy I had after the transition. I think introducing such a variety of full, complete proteins back into my diet drastically improved my energy composition.

Give it a shot! I was very hesitant to give up on my morals and worried about whether people would call me hypocritical and what not (I have two other pescatarians in my family; dinner is strange now...). After experiencing the healthful transition, I will not be going back.

3ff7a6428ecc00e45cb31504d4960a57

(30)

on June 21, 2012
at 01:30 AM

Thanks! This is incredibly helpful... I appreciate your insight on this.

2
44739854bd06eb5c32af5d33aa866864

(859)

on June 20, 2012
at 03:16 PM

I grew up as a pescetarian, and for 24 years I ate that way growing up... I was pretty healthy (although I did eat grains/legumes/dairy), but I could never put on muscle. Plus, as I got towards my mid twenties I started gaining weight, so I knew something had to change.

Then I found Paleo... I went crazy with the red meat at first, saw big gains in muscle and lost the extra fat. After about 6 months though I started craving seafood again. I realized I really missed it. So, now I do about 50/50 seafood/red meat with some chicken thrown in for variety. For me, this is pretty much optimal.

However, I think you could probably make pescetarian work, you'd just have to make a few tweaks here and there... since you'll be eating seafood a lot, I'd make sure you're familiar with the high mercury sea foods (swordfish, Albacore Tuna, Shark, etc...) and keep them to a reasonable level. Also, I would start eating the whole fish (ie making bone broth with the bones/head) and add in vitamin dense sea foods like oysters, roe, etc...

Like Jamie mentioned, I'd also use high vitamin butter oils (or good pastured butter), fermented cod liver oil, eggs, coconut oil, palm oil, etc... to supplement nutrients and fats, since seafood tends to be leaner. Good Luck!

3ff7a6428ecc00e45cb31504d4960a57

(30)

on June 21, 2012
at 01:33 AM

Thanks! I really appreciate your time and your response.

2
5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on June 19, 2012
at 11:31 AM

I live with an 80 year old pescatarian and with fish, molluscs, crustaceans, eggs and assorted veggies have no problem cooking a totally adequate diet for her. Because I'm a lazy cook, I eat mostly fish and eggs for my protein too, just substituting in or adding meat for me @ 5 out of 21 meals per week.

I track nutrients in cronometer, so know that nutrient intake is great.

2
1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on June 19, 2012
at 04:40 AM

You can be pescatarian paleo no problem. Eggs or egg yolks would be good to add. Other than that. I would add grass fed beef, lamb or bison as the only thing missing. However even they are not needed.

1
79fc447191de75e7c178951594a43f13

(448)

on June 20, 2012
at 04:15 PM

A pescatarian diet, generally, doesn't have enough fat and has too many carbs unless you make a strong effort to add fat (olive oil, coconut oil) to everything. Some fish are 90% protein by calories. Red salmon, a very fatty fish, is still 60% protein, 40% fat. Since 40% is the protein ceiling of diet, this implies that fat intake is low, about 10%-20%, and carb intake is high ~50%.

85% ground beef is 40% protein, 60% fat. Adding that into your diet will allow you to increase fat intake and decrease carb intake. Lowering your carb intake will help take the weight off.

[Editor's note: contrary to the above statement, 85% ground beef is not 60% fat. Ground beef, 85%, has a composition of ~65.7% water, ~18.5% protein, and ~15% fat. The calorie ratio, however, is pretty close to what this answer suggests, because fat has more than twice the calories per gram of protein.]

A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c

on June 20, 2012
at 08:24 PM

Grassfed ground beef might be 80% lean too. Regularly, we see recommendations to eat lean CAFO meat if we can't get grassfed, and supplement dietary fat from healthier sources. Adding fat to the diet does not require anything resembling a "strong effort." I find the claim that a pescatarian diet is too lean totally specious.

44739854bd06eb5c32af5d33aa866864

(859)

on June 20, 2012
at 06:08 PM

If you buy the bones/skin red salmon, the ratio is closer to 50/50, protein to fat... add a little EVOO and I think you could easily make it 40/60. You should definitely add good fat to everything!

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f

(11581)

on June 20, 2012
at 06:29 PM

I've never actually met a pescatarian who at nothing but fish. Do you eat nothing but groud beef?

3ff7a6428ecc00e45cb31504d4960a57

(30)

on June 21, 2012
at 01:31 AM

This is great info-- thank you all for your advice!

0
C326acd0ae246a39c5685f2ba72e3136

on June 20, 2012
at 03:49 PM

NO BACON! NO STEAK !!

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