Meat vs. Seafood? For a lot of people, it can be hard to understand the difference between fish and meat.
Isn’t fish technically meat? Is one healthier than the other? What are the healthiest meats and seafood?
In this guide, we’ll break down the difference between fish and meat and give you an in-depth comparison of the two types of protein. Spoiler alert: there’s nothing wrong with either of them!
A healthy diet needs proteins, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. Meat and seafood both provide these things, but not all meat and seafood is created equally.
Is Seafood Meat?
Fish and cows are both living creatures made up of what can be cooked and eaten as meat. So, in the most basic sense of the word; yes, seafood is meat.
However, you may get a different answer if you ask the same question to a pescetarian.
A pescetarian is someone who doesn’t eat land animals, but still eats seafood. Many people choose to become pescetarian because they don’t consider animals and fish to be equal based on brain function.
Where you see cows with humanistic qualities like loyalty, compassion, and intelligence, fish just don’t measure up in the same way.
If you define meat in a purely scientific sense, fish are living creatures and therefore meat. If you look at the definition of meat in a moral sense, you may not feel the same way.
Which One is Healthier: Meat vs. Seafood?
Both meat and seafood are rich sources of nutrition. Land and sea animals each have unique qualities that make them a great addition to a healthy diet.
Let’s take a look at how they compare in a few key areas:
- Protein. Both meat and seafood are high in protein. Based on a 4 oz. serving, chicken breast has 24 grams of protein and salmon has about 26 grams of protein. Red meat comes out on top in this category with roughly 30 grams of protein per serving.
- Fats. Seafood is definitely healthier in terms of fat. Meat is way higher in fat content than fish. There are good fats and bad fats, but most of the fat in meat is the bad kind. Fish is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which are healthy fats. Meat, on the other hand, is higher in saturated fat which is bad for your heart. Based on a 4 oz. serving, beef has 22 grams of fat while salmon has only 4 grams of fat.
- Calories. The amount of calories in meat and seafood depends on which type you’re eating. Based on a 4 oz. serving, beef has 284 calories and chicken breast has 184 calories. Both are types of meat, but chicken is far leaner than red meats like beef. The same differences in calorie levels can be said about seafood. A 4 oz. serving of shrimp has 135 calories, while a 4 oz. serving of salmon has 207 calories.
- Iron. This is where meat really has seafood beat. Meat has more iron than seafood. Fish can’t compare to the level of iron found in all land-based meat. Seafood like oysters, clams, and mussels have iron, but not nearly as much as meat like beef, chicken, and pork.
- Vitamin B-12. This vitamin plays a huge role in your metabolism and brain function. It’s recommended by the Office of Dietary Supplements to have 2.4 micrograms of Vitamin B-12 a day. 3 ounces of salmon contains nearly 5 micrograms of Vitamin B-12, while the same amount of chicken breast contains only 0.3 micrograms.
Benefits of Meat
Meat is a controversial food that is often argued about. Some people say it’s healthy, others believe it’s not. I believe everything can be eaten in moderation.
If you eat a steak for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day then yes, that is definitely not healthy.
However, if you eat a well-balanced diet with a steak once a week then you are following a healthy diet and reaping the benefits that meat has to offer!
There are many health benefits you can get from eating meat, such as:
- Retention of muscle mass
- Increases your metabolic rate
- Improves bone strength and density
- Increases your iron levels
- Contains high protein content
Benefits of Seafood
There’s no arguing that fish is a healthy, lean form of protein. It’s loaded with beneficial nutrients and is widely considered to be one of the healthiest foods on the planet.
Unlike with red meat, you could eat fish every day and still be in perfect health.
Here are some of the main health benefits you can get from eating seafood:
- High in omega-3 fatty acids
- Can lower your risk of heart attacks and stroke
- Boosts brain health
- High in vitamins and minerals
- Reduces the risk of autoimmune diseases
Healthiest Meats and Seafood
Some of the healthiest types of seafood you can eat are:
Some of the healthiest types of meat you can eat are:
- Chicken breast
- Pork tenderloin
- Chicken thigh
- Beef sirloin
It’s important to know that not all meat and seafood is created equally! Regardless of what kind you buy, look for meat that is free of antibiotics, hormones, and is grass-fed.
These kinds of meats will always be the most natural and therefore the healthiest. With seafood, you should ideally be looking for wild-caught or sustainably-raised fish.
Steer clear of unnatural fish like tilapia and farmed salmon. These types of fish are not raised in humane conditions and are often far less healthy than other fish.
Should I Eat Meat or Seafood?
You can eat both! Both meat and seafood are healthy in different ways, it’s just a matter of how much you eat.
Seafood is known to be leaner than meat, making it a popular choice for those on diets. Based on the high levels of saturated fat in red meat, most doctors recommend that you eat it less frequently.
That being said, the need to limit your intake of red meat doesn’t make it bad for you. Small amounts of red meat contribute to a perfectly healthy diet by giving you iron that your body needs to stay strong.
Because of its high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, fish should be eaten as a source as protein at least two or three times a week.
Many people who don’t like the tough texture of meat enjoy fish for its much lighter, flakier feel. Because of its light texture, fish also takes way less time to cook.
Chicken may need to cook in the oven for upwards of thirty minutes, while fish like salmon or cod can be cooked in under ten minutes.
Eat your meat, eat your seafood, it’s all good for you. As with anything, moderation is what’s important!