Pescetarians – no meat, but fish

Miriam Steinbach studied sociology with politics and psychology in Heidelberg. She then completed her journalistic traineeship at a daily newspaper in Karlsruhe and wrote texts for a health and lifestyle magazine. Her keen interest in digital brought her to mylife in Since then, she not only writes about mindfulness and yoga, but also likes to try it out.

Carola Felchner is a freelance writer for NetDoktor’s medical editorial team and a certified exercise and nutrition consultant. She worked for various trade magazines and online portals before setting up her own business as a journalist in 2015. Before her traineeship, she studied translation and interpreting in Kempten and Munich.

No meat, but fish: Pescetarian Are vegetarians who still eat salmon, trout, seafood and co. eat. The desire for a healthier diet is often the reason for becoming a pescetarian. Find out here what exactly they eat and what to look for in this type of diet.


What are pescetarians?

Pescetarianism is a vegetarianism variant. The name pescetarian is derived from the Latin word "piscis" or from the Italian "pesce", both of which stand for fish.

Sea creatures are the only killed creatures that end up on the plates of pescetarians. They abstain from meat. For most pescetarians, it’s important that the animals were caught in the wild and not mass farmed.

The motivation for vegetarians to eat fish varies. Often cites nutritional benefits associated with eating fish. The omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish in particular are said to have a positive effect. There is evidence that they

  • stabilize the heart rhythm
  • Have a positive influence on blood sugar control
  • Reduce inflammation in the body, protecting against diabetes and cardiovascular disease

But also factory farming has led to the fact that some people no longer eat meat and therefore choose this vegetarianism variant.

According to Statista, there were three percent pescetarians in Germany in 2019. Five percent of women and three percent of men are vegetarians, and two percent are vegans.

What do pescetarians eat?

Pescetarians are basically free to consume all foods – except meat. Allowed foods include:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Legumes
  • Pasta, bread, rice, etc.
  • Dairy products
  • Fish and seafood

Every pescetarian decides for himself how much and which types of fish he consumes. There are no fixed regulations.

How often should I eat fish during the week?

According to the German Nutrition Society (DGE), eating fish once or twice a week is good for your health. This is also acceptable in terms of sustainability.

With up to two servings a week, even possible exposure to mercury and other pollutants sometimes found in fish are still tolerable. During pregnancy or breastfeeding, women better limit their fish consumption.

Pescetarians: Advantages

Fish is a rich source of protein and amino acids needed by the body. Pure vegetarians take protein by vegetable products although also in sufficient quantity in the form of legumes, soy, nuts or grain products to itself. However, animal protein is easier for the body to process.

Pescetarians live longer compared to the general population, according to studies. This result could be due to the generally healthier lifestyle of the study participants. Many people who give up meat live more consciously, suffer less often from obesity and high blood pressure. You will exercise more, drink less alcohol and smoke less often.

Some scientists assume that humans have been eating fish since very early in their evolutionary history, and that it therefore particularly corresponds to their original diet and thus to their biological needs.

Pescetarians: disadvantages

To live permanently as a pescetarian, background knowledge of the diet is necessary to avoid deficiencies. Among them:

  • It’s important to know the protein content of foods.
  • Take sufficient vitamin D, B12, B2 or iodine.
  • Precise knowledge is required, especially for children and pregnant women, to avoid deficiency symptoms.

According to a study by the University of Hildesheim, vegetarians are more often depressed, suffer from anxiety disorders and psychosomatic complaints. However, the dietary pattern is likely to be a consequence rather than a trigger of the disease.

You should pay attention to!

Choose whole foods to provide your body with all the essential nutrients even when you avoid meat. Reach for whole grain products and reduce white flour and sugar consumption.

Also pay attention to the origin of the fish. When you choose it consciously, you support a fishery that conserves stocks and protects the environment. There are various seals that provide orientation – including the MSC seal. The MSC is a non-profit, international organization for the protection of the oceans and fish stocks.

If you have regular fish meals and high-quality plant foods on your menu, pescetarianism is quite possible as a permanent diet and even promotes health.

As a pescetarian it is necessary that you deal with your nutrition a little more intensively and acquire special knowledge, but then you benefit from the advantages of the meat-free diet.

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