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How to add videos | Previous videos | Nominate a Video | W8MD's 52 weeks of weight loss and wellness videos | Why lose weight? Pescetarianism Template:IPAc-en (also spelled pescatarianism) is the practice of following a diet that includes fish or other seafood, but not the flesh of other animals. A pescetarian diet typically shares many of its components with a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet and may include vegetables, fruit, nuts, grains, beans, eggs, dairy, and insect byproducts (such as honey, carmine, or shellac), but a vegetarian diet excludes meat. The Merriam-Webster dictionary dates the origin of the term pescetarian to 1993 and defines it as: "one whose diet includes fish but no other meat."[1]


Pescetarian is probably a neologism formed as a blend of the Italian word pesce ("fish") and the English word "vegetarian".[1] The Italian word is pronounced Template:IPA-it, while the English neologism is commonly Template:IPAc-en, with a Template:IPA sound, thus differing from pronunciations of similar terms in English and Italian.

Pesce in turn derives from the Latin piscis,[1] which has the form pisci- when it serves as a prefix, as it often does in scholarly terms (e.g. "pisciculture" Template:IPA or "piscivore" Template:IPA). Note that a piscivore, as a type of carnivore, eats a diet primarily of fish, whereas the neologism pescetarian refers to persons who consume plant derivatives as well as fish. A similar term is vegequarian.


Health considerations

Japanese nigiri-sushi. Many cultures offer pescetarian-friendly cuisine.

One of the most commonly cited reasons is that of health, based on findings that red meat is detrimental to health in many cases due to non-lean red meats containing high amounts of saturated fats,[2][3] choline and carnitine.[4] Eating certain kinds of fish raises HDL levels,[5][6] and some fish are a convenient source of omega-3 fatty acids,[7] and have numerous health benefits in one food variety.[8] A 1999 meta-analysis of five studies comparing vegetarian and non-vegetarian mortality rates in Western countries found that in comparison with regular meat-eaters, mortality from ischemic heart disease was 34% lower in pescetarians, 34% lower in ovo-lacto vegetarians, 26% lower in vegans and 20% lower in occasional meat-eaters.[9]

Concerns have been raised about consuming some fish varieties containing toxins such as mercury and PCBs,[10] though it is possible to select fish that contain little or no mercury and moderate the consumption of mercury-containing fish.[11][12]


Template:Expand section Similarly to vegetarianism, some pescetarians adopt the diet on the basis of ethics, either as a transition to vegetarianism, not treating fish on the same moral level as other animals, or as a compromise to obtain nutrients not found in plants as easily.[13]

Abstinence among Catholics

Adhering to a diet closely resembling pescetarianism as a form of penitence was mandatory for Catholics on Fridays until the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops made the practice optional but recommended. However, it is still mandatory on Ash Wednesday and every Friday during Lent, and some traditionalist Catholics choose to abstain from meat during the entire 40-day Lent period, as was common practice in earlier times.[14]

Comparisons to other diets

Pescetarianism is similar to many traditional diets emphasizing fish as well as fruits, vegetables and grains. Many coastal populations tend to eat this way and these features characterize the traditional Mediterranean diet and the diets of many parts of Asia, Northern Europe, and the Caribbean. These traditional diets tend to also include meat although it is peripheral. In common with some vegetarians, pescetarians often eat eggs and/or dairy products, in addition to fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains.

Pescetarians are sometimes described as vegetarian or pesco-vegetarian, but vegetarians commonly do not consider the pescetarian diet to be vegetarian. For example, the Vegetarian Society, which initiated popular use of the term vegetarian as early as 1847, does not consider pescetarianism to be a vegetarian diet.[15] The definitions of vegetarian in mainstream dictionaries sometimes include fish in the diet.[16]

List of pescetarians

This is a list of notable people who are or were pescetarians.

See also

  • Semi-vegetarianism - other forms of semi-vegetarianism that include occasional meat consumption


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Pescetarian, Merriam Webster. Retrieved September 27, 2012.
  2. E Giovannucci, EB Rimm, MJ Stampfer, GA Colditz, A Ascherio and WC Willett, "Intake of fat, meat, and fiber in relation to risk of colon cancer in men". Cancer Research 54, 2390-2397. 1994-05-01.
  3. Frank B. Hu, MD, PhD, JoAnn E. Manson, MD, PhD, and Walter C. Willett, MD, DrPh, "Types of Dietary Fat and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease: A Critical Review". Journal of the American College of Nutrition, vol. 20, no. 1, 5-19. 2001.
  5. Paul J Nestel, "Fish oil and cardiovascular disease: lipids and arterial function". American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 71, no. 1, 228S-231S. January 2000.
  6. Sacks FM, Hebert P, Appel LJ, Borhani NO, Applegate WB, Cohen JD, Cutler JA, Kirchner KA, Kuller LH, Roth KJ, et al., "Short report: the effect of fish oil on blood pressure and high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol levels in phase I of the Trials of Hypertension Prevention". Journal of Hypertension, 209-13. 1994-02-12.
  7. Frank B. Hu, MD; Leslie Bronner, MD; Walter C. Willett, MD; Meir J. Stampfer, MD; Kathryn M. Rexrode, MD; Christine M. Albert, MD; David Hunter, MD; JoAnn E. Manson, MD, "Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women". JAMA. 287:1815-1821. 2002.
  8. Get Hooked on Fish! by Sue Gilbert, MS, Nutritionis
  9. "Mortality in vegetarians and nonvegetarians: detailed findings from a collaborative analysis of 5 prospective studies". American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 70:516S-524S. 1999. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  10. Committee on the Toxicological Effects of Methylmercury, Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology, National Research Council, "Toxicological Effects of Methylmercury". 2000. ISBN 0-309-07140-2.
  11. Experts Say Consumers Can Eat Around Toxins In Fish - Science Daily
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  27. "Dave - The Home of Witty Comedy Banter : Dave". Retrieved 2011-09-19.
  28. Ready Steady Cook, 2008. [TV programme] BBC2 27 May 2008.
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  41. Altucher, James (October 6, 2011). "10 Unusual Things I Didn't Know About Steve Jobs". Forbes. Retrieved July 8, 2013.
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  44. Nieuwenhuis, Marcia (2006-02-16). "Fractievoorzitter van D66 Lousewies van der Laan interviewt stand-up comedian Jan Jaap van der Wal" (in Dutch). Retrieved 2008-04-16. V: "Ben je vegetarisch?" A: "Nee, ik ben eigenlijk pescatarisch, een vegetariër die vis eet." (Q: "Are you a vegetarian?" A: "No, actually I am a pescetarian, a vegetarian who eats fish.")
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  56. Best Show on WFMU archives: "November 5, 2002 episode"; 1 hour, 39 minutes, 50 second mark, Scharpling states: "See, I eat fish, right? But I haven't eaten meat in I guess like eight years now. I'm not a vegan, though."
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