Did you know that about 3% of the global population is made up of pescatarians?  People who follow a pescatarian diet do not eat meat, but consume other animal products, such as dairy and all forms of seafood. 
But how does the pescatarian diet affect your health? What foods are excluded from this diet? Does it provide you with enough protein? How is it different from vegetarian or vegan diets?
This article will guide you through the answers to these commonly asked questions.
Let’s get started!
What to eat on a pescatarian diet
Fish and seafood are the primary animal protein sources for pescatarians. The diet also includes dairy foods and other animal-based products (with the exception of meat and poultry). The foods listed below are typically included in the pescatarian diet  :
Freshwater and saltwater fish and seafood (examples):
- Pike perch
All fruits (examples):
- Citrus fruits
All vegetables (examples):
- Potatoes (including sweet)
All legumes (examples):
- Soy products (e.g., edamame beans, tofu, tempeh, milk)
Grains and whole grains (examples):
- Baked goods
Nuts and seeds (examples):
- Chia seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Dairy foods (yogurt, milk, cheese, cream)
The pescatarian diet excludes all meat and poultry:
- Deli and processed meat (salami, ham, sausage)
Health benefits associated with being a pescatarian
When consuming a balanced diet, the pescatarian diet ensures sufficient intake of B and D vitamins, iron, zinc, magnesium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and Omega-3 fatty acids. The consumption of these nutrients and healthy fatty acids could be associated with various health benefits, including  :
- Improved heart health
- Reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease
- Prevention of nutrient deficiencies
- Lower risk of diabetes development
- Weight management
According to a 2019 paper, the pescatarian diet is safe for children and adolescents, as it provides enough Omega-3 fatty acids. 
Downsides of a pescatarian diet
Even though the benefits of following a pescatarian diet are considerable, there are some downsides as well.
A 2020 study conducted in Norway found that vegans, vegetarians, and pescatarians don’t consume adequate amounts of iodine through food sources. This way, these population groups are likely dependent on iodine supplements. The research showed that even though pescatarians consumed more iodine than vegans and vegetarians, they still couldn’t meet the average intake requirement.  Considering this, the source suggested the need for dietary guidance for adequate iodine intake to prevent deficiency and toxicity of the nutrient.