3+ Key Differences between Vegetarian and Pescatarian Diets

Vegetarian and pescatarian diets differ in meat consumption; vegetarians avoid all animal flesh, while pescatarians include seafood for more food options.

difference between vegetarian and pescatarian

There are so many different diets these days. People choose to follow a certain diet for various ethical, religious, medical, or health reasons. It could also simply be personal preference and taste.

If you’re hosting a dinner party, it is important to know what the most common diets are. So, what are the key differences between vegetarian and pescatarian diets?

The key difference between a vegetarian and a pescatarian diet is that a vegetarian diet does not allow for the consumption of meat, seafood, or poultry. Meals are primarily made up of vegetables and fruit. A pescatarian diet is similar to a vegetarian diet but includes seafood.

People following a pescatarian diet eat less meat, while those following a vegetarian diet eat no meat at all. However, there are different categories of vegetarians.

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Three Main Differences Between A Vegetarian And Pescatarian Diet

The pescatarian diet and vegetarian diet are very similar in that they are both plant-based, however, there are some differences. 

1. Vegetarians Eat No Animal Flesh While Pescatarians Eat No Land Animals

The main difference between the two is that vegetarians do not eat the flesh of animals, while pescatarians include seafood in their diets. 

2. There Are Different Categories Of Vegetarian Diets

All vegetarians refrain from eating the flesh of all animals. However, some vegetarians refrain from eating certain animal products as well.

  • Lacto vegetarians – diet includes dairy products, like milk, butter, cheese and yogurt 
  • Ovo vegetarians – diet includes eggs
  • Lacto-Ovo – diet includes both eggs and dairy products

3. Pescatarians Have More Options When It Comes to Food Choices

Vegetarians do not eat any meat, including poultry, pork, and seafood; some vegetarians don’t eat eggs or dairy either. Pescatarians have far more variety in their diet as they eat all kinds of seafood, as well as dairy and eggs.

What Is Included In A Vegetarian Diet?

Depending on the category of vegetarian diet you follow, meals will be made up of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes, beans, seeds and nuts, dairy, eggs and honey.

What Is Included In A Pescatarian Diet?

A pescatarian diet is very similar to a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet. Pescatarians do not eat any land animals, including poultry, pork, or beef. They do eat seafood, which includes fish, crab, lobster, shrimp, prawns, mussels, crayfish, and calamari.

Meals will be made up of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes, beans, seeds and nuts, dairy, eggs, honey, and seafood.

Is A Pescatarian Diet Healthier Than A Vegetarian Diet?

list of clean fish

It is important to note that everyone is different. We all have different lifestyles, budgets, access to certain foods, and tolerance to different foods. Our bodies are different, too; some may be in optimal health on a certain diet, while others who follow the same diet may lack some nutrients. 

Both diets, vegetarian and pescatarian, are plant-based and have many health benefits. The main difference is that pescatarians eat seafood as well. Many people opt to follow a pescatarian diet rather than a strictly vegetarian diet because they have a wider variety of things to eat without compromising on the health benefits that come with having a vegetarian diet. 

Eating seafood has many health benefits. Most seafood is a rich source of Omega-3 and also contains protein and zinc. Those who want to cut down on meat find that it is easier to become a pescatarian rather than go on a vegetarian diet. Following a plant-based that includes seafood will lower your risk of nutritional deficiencies that you may have being a vegetarian.

It also depends on what sort of food within the diet, you eat. For example, if you follow a pescatarian diet and eat a lot of deep-fried fish, or if you follow avVegetarian diet, but most of your meals are made up of processed vegetarian products, that is not very healthy.

Regardless of what diet you follow, the most important this is that you make sure you are eating a balanced diet and include foods that will meet all your nutritional needs.

Do Pescatarians Call Themselves Vegetarians?

Have you ever heard someone say, ‘I’m vegetarian, but I eat chicken.’? You may silently think that they cannot then call themselves vegetarian; they should rather just say that they do not eat red meat. 

Vegetarians do not eat any animals. While pescatarians follow a predominantly plant-based diet, they do eat seafood, which includes fish, mussels, shrimp, prawns, calamari, lobster and crabs. These are all animals of the sea. For this reason, pescatarians cannot call themselves pescatarian.

Can Pescatarians Eat Eggs?

Pescatarians exclude meat and poultry from their diet, but most eat animal products, this includes eggs and dairy. 

To be very specific, you could call a pescatarian who eats eggs and dairy a lacto-Ovo pescatarian. But it isn’t really necessary since most pescatarians do eat eggs and dairy.

What’s The Difference Between a Pescatarian and Flexitarian? 

Ever toyed with the idea of becoming a vegetarian but felt daunted by committing to never eating a hamburger again? You’re not alone. The word was invented to encourage people to adopt a plant-based diet without being afraid of having to give up things that they enjoy forever. 

The word flexitarian is made up of the words flexible and vegetarian (and is usually adopted by climatarians, just to add another term in there). 

If you are a flexitarian, you follow a certain diet most of the time but are flexible. For example, you are a vegetarian except when you are invited to a barbecue. Or you are a vegan all year, except over Easter when you simply cannot resist all the chocolates around.

A pescatarian is someone who follows a plant-based, and seafood diet strictly and never eats meat or poultry. 


Vegetarian and pescatarian diets are both plant-based. The main difference is that pescatarians also eat seafood. Following these diets have many health benefits, provided that your meals are prepared in a healthy manner and balanced, feeding you with all the nutrition your body needs.

More FAQs

Do Pescatarians eat junk food?

Pescatarians can consume junk food while following their diet. For instance, although potato chips and sugary cereals do not contain meat, they can still be included in this plan. However, it is important to note that any diet can become unhealthy if it consists mainly of processed foods, as advised by DiMarino.

Why do people go pescatarian?

People choose to go pescatarian for various reasons. One reason is that a pescatarian diet offers a range of health benefits. Moreover, it allows individuals to address ethical and environmental concerns associated with meat consumption. Furthermore, opting for a pescatarian lifestyle provides greater flexibility and access to additional nutrients compared to a typical vegetarian diet.

What are the cons of a pescatarian diet?

The cons of a pescatarian diet include the fact that certain seafood contains high levels of mercury, with some fish having a higher concentration than others. Additionally, groceries for this eating plan, such as fruits, vegetables, and fresh fish, can be costly.

Who benefits from a pescatarian diet?

A pescatarian diet can benefit individuals as it includes abundant Omega-3 fatty acids, which have the potential to combat heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Compared to a vegetarian diet, a pescatarian diet offers more flexibility while providing health advantages that can contribute to a longer lifespan.

Can a pescatarian eat seafood everyday?

A pescatarian can eat seafood every day, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they do. Unlike vegans, pescatarians still consume dairy and eggs. Being a pescatarian involves primarily following a plant-based diet while occasionally including seafood in their meals a few times a week.

How often should a pescatarian eat fish?

A pescatarian should aim to eat two or more fish meals per week as part of their diet, which relies on fish or seafood as the main protein source while not being an all-fish diet.

Should I switch from vegetarian to pescatarian?

You should consider switching from a vegetarian to a pescatarian diet because pescatarianism offers the benefits of a plant-based diet along with the added advantage of consuming fish, which is a valuable source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Incorporating fish into your diet can simplify the intake of omega-3s compared to relying solely on plant-based sources as a vegetarian.

Can vegetarians eat cheese?

Vegetarians can consume cheese as long as it is made without animal rennet and is free from any animal-derived ingredients. Vegetarian cheese is typically crafted from cow’s milk, salt, good bacteria, and may include additional elements for flavor enhancement, like black truffles.

Can Pescatarians eat eggs?

Pescatarians can include eggs in their diet along with fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, beans, and dairy. They abstain from consuming meat and poultry, similar to vegetarians. However, what sets pescatarians apart from vegetarians is their inclusion of fish and other seafood in their diet. The benefits of being a pescatarian are enticing and may attract individuals to this dietary choice.

Can Pescatarians eat bacon?

Pescatarians can choose to eat bacon, as it is a personal preference, although they typically avoid animal products like red meat, pork, lamb, and poultry.

Why is it OK to eat fish but not meat?

It is acceptable to eat fish while avoiding other types of meat for various reasons. Some individuals incorporate fish into their vegetarian diet to obtain the health advantages of a plant-based eating plan along with the heart-healthy benefits of consuming fish. Others may choose to reduce the environmental impact of their diet by excluding red meat and poultry but still including fish.

Can pescetarians eat potatoes?

Pescetarians can include potatoes in their diet, along with other starchy vegetables like corn and winter squash. They also have a range of grains to choose from, such as rice, quinoa, and oats. In fact, pescetarians can enjoy the same fruits, vegetables, and plant-based foods as vegetarians and vegans.

Do Pescatarians eat cheese?

Pescatarians do eat cheese, along with other dairy products such as eggs, yogurt, pasta, rice, and more.

Do Pescatarians eat milk and cheese?

Pescatarians typically consume eggs and dairy products, including cheese, yogurt, and milk. However, it is worth noting that not all pescatarians include these items in their diet. If a pescatarian does consume eggs and dairy, they would be referred to as a lacto-ovo-pescatarian. This eating plan does not impose any restrictions on the types of fruits and vegetables that can be included.

Can a pescatarian eat shrimp?

A pescatarian can include shrimp in their diet as it falls under the category of recommended seafood options for their diet, along with fresh fish and shellfish like clams, crab, oysters, and scallops.

Do Pescatarians eat bread?

Pescatarians eat bread, but the decision to include it in their diet is a personal one. Bread can be part of a pescatarian’s mostly plant-based diet. From a nutritional standpoint, it is recommended to choose whole-grain bread over white bread.

Can pescetarians eat chocolate?

Pescetarians can indeed eat chocolate without any concerns, as they follow a diet that excludes meat but includes fish. This means that they have no restrictions when it comes to consuming chocolate.

Can Pescatarians eat ice cream?

Pescatarians can enjoy ice cream as part of their diet, along with other dairy products like milk, butter, cheese, and yogurt. They also commonly consume eggs.

Can you call yourself a vegetarian if you eat fish?

Fish and seafood are not included in a vegetarian diet. However, individuals who incorporate fish and seafood into their primarily plant-based diet are known as pescatarians. Some people may choose to follow a pescatarian eating pattern instead of a strictly vegetarian one to enjoy a wider range of food options and benefit from the nutritional advantages of fish.

Can Pescatarians eat cheese?

Pescatarians can consume cheese, along with other dairy products like yogurt and milk. However, it is worth noting that not all pescatarians choose to include eggs and dairy in their diet. If a pescatarian does consume eggs and dairy, they would be referred to as a lacto-ovo-pescatarian. It is important to mention that there are no restrictions on the types of fruits and vegetables that can be included in this eating plan.

What is a vegetarian who eats fish and chicken called?

A vegetarian who eats fish and chicken is commonly referred to as a pesce-pollotarian. It may come as a surprise, but this dietary choice does exist. Essentially, a pesce-pollotarian is someone who includes white meat, such as chicken and turkey, as well as seafood in their diet.

Can a vegetarian eat eggs?

Eggs are considered vegetarian as they do not fall into the category of animal flesh, which is excluded in a vegetarian eating pattern.

What is pescatarian vs flexitarian?

The difference between pescatarian and flexitarian is as follows: Pescatarian individuals only consume fish as their source of meat, while still including eggs and dairy in their diet. On the other hand, flexitarians primarily eat plant-based foods but occasionally incorporate small portions of meat into their meals.

Why do Pescatarians eat fish but not meat?

Pescatarians eat fish but not meat because they want to incorporate the health benefits of a plant-based diet along with heart-healthy fish, and some may also aim to reduce the environmental impact of their dietary choices.

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