15th October 2018
Pescatarian Diet Versus Vegan Diet
People’s dietary choices are made for a variety of reasons. In researching all of the diverse types of diets people currently adhere to, a prime example of how varied one’s reasons are can be seen in a pescatarian diet versus a vegan diet. The pescatarian diet is mostly plant-based and does not include consumption of any red meat, but may include dairy and eggs. The vegan diet also relies heavily on a plant-based diet, the same as pescatarians. On the other hand, a vegan diet eliminates any meat and animal products, as a means to reject any animal exploitation and cruelty, for food, clothing, or any other function. Someone who follows a pescatarian diet will eat freshwater or saltwater fish, and shellfish, as their main source of protein. Included in both a pescatarian diet and vegan diet are healthy fats, and produce, along with a variety of nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, tofu, legumes, and whole grains. The primary reasons people choose to become a pescatarian or a vegan are related to concerns with their health, the environment, or for ethical reasons.
Many health benefits come from consuming a plant-based diet, whether it is a pescatarian diet or a vegan diet. For both of these diets, people will have a reduced risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes mellitus, cancer, or premature death. Also, research supports that those who consume a plant-based diet show less diagnosis of dementia, depression, and obesity. Other health benefits to pescatarians include lower levels of blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as a lesser risk of metabolic syndrome. This is due to the consumption of long-chain omega 3 fatty acids found in fish, which is also low in saturated fat.
The environmental impact of animal agriculture may influence people’s decision to become a pescatarian or vegan. According to a UN report from 2010, producing meat and animals’ products require more resources than alternative plant-based options. In fact, animal agriculture is responsible for 65 percent of nitrous oxide emissions, 9 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, and, 35 to 40 percent of global methane emissions. A 2014 environment study showed 46 percent fewer greenhouses gas emissions were caused by diets of fish eaters than people who ate meat once daily.
Ethics are another reason people choose either a pescatarian or vegan diet. Pescatarians believe that animals should not be killed for food, and they do not support farms with inhumane factory conditions including how livestock is raised. Nor do they support farms with poor labor conditions for workers. And they consider producing grain for animal feed to be an improper use of land and resources when there is so much hunger in the world. Vegans also believe that it is unethical to kill animals for food and further believe all creatures have the right to life and freedom. Vegans take it one step further and are opposed to ending a being’s life just to consume its flesh, drink its milk or wear its skin when other options are available. Vegans are also opposed to the psychological and physical stress that animals may endure due to modern farming practices.
Though the reasons for choosing a pescatarian and vegan diet are similar in many ways, it is clear from the research that they do have pointed differences related to health, environment, and ethics.
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