Is Fish Good for Weight Loss?Which are the Best Fish for Weight Loss?

Dr. Pakhi Sharma (MBBS)
Dr. Pakhi Sharma (MBBS)

General Physician | 6+ years

Fish Good for Weight Loss
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Fish is a popular food that has been in vogue since the times of our caveman ancestors. In recent times, non-vegetarians have been switching to eating more fish to keep their weight in check. So is fish good for weight loss, you ask? It is. And what makes it so? Its protein and healthy fat content, of course. The key aspect, however, is eating the right type of fish for weight loss. So read on to find out how to include fish in your diet to enhance your weight loss efforts

Contents:
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    Fish: Nutritional Profile
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    What are the Benefits of Eating Fish for Weight Loss?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    What are the Best Fish for Weight Loss?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    How Much Fish Can You Eat in a Week to Lose Weight?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    What is the Best Time to Eat Fish for Weight Loss?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    How to Cook Fish for Weight Loss?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    What is the Fish Diet for Weight Loss?
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    What are the Risks of Overconsumption of Fish for Weight Loss?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    What are the Other Health Benefits of Fish?
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    Don’t Have Time To Read?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    FAQs
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Fish: Nutritional Profile

Most types of fish are rich in protein, while being low in fibre and carbohydrates. The fat content and calories in fish vary from species to species. Fish are also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B-12, and selenium. They are also a decent source of other B-complex vitamins, vitamin D, and minerals like potassium and phosphorus.

The following are the nutritional profiles for 100 g of several types of fish, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

 

Nutrients

Cod, Pacific

Halibut, Atlantic & Pacific

Tilapia

Tuna, Yellowfin

Salmon

Energy

69 kcal

91 kcal

96 kcal

109 kcal

127 kcal

Water

84 g

80.3 g

78.1 g

74 g

75.5 g

Protein

15.3 g

18.6 g

20.1 g

24.4 g

20.5 g

Total Lipid (Fats)

0.41 g

1.33 g

1.7 g

0.49 g

4.4 g

Carbohydrate

0 g

0 g

0 g

0 g

0 g

Fibre

0 g

0 g

0 g

0 g

0 g

Sodium

303 mg

68 mg

52 mg

45 mg

75 mg

Potassium

235 mg

435 mg

302 mg

441 mg

366 mg

Phosphorus

281 mg

236 mg

170 mg

278 mg

261 mg

Magnesium

20 mg

23 mg

27 mg

35 mg

27 mg

Calcium

8 mg

7 mg

10 mg

4 mg

7 mg

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What are the Benefits of Eating Fish for Weight Loss?

Fish can be beneficial for weight loss as they:

  • Promote satiety

Fish is one of the richest sources of protein available naturally. Including more protein in your diet can aid in weight loss, as protein takes longer to digest when compared to carbohydrates. This promotes satiety, keeps you feeling full for a longer period of time, and also prevents overeating. 

The protein in fish can also help you build muscle mass, which can help you burn more calories at a resting state and contribute to weight loss. Some varieties of fish also have a good amount of healthy fats, which also promote satiety.

  • Low-calorie non-vegetarian option

Fish is good for weight loss because it is a relatively low-calorie option compared to other non-vegetarian products like beef, lamb, pork, chicken, veal, venison, etc. 

Though there are some fish that are high in calories, there are several species like cod, salmon, halibut, etc. that have a low calorie content. And unlike other types of meat, fish has a negligible amount of fats and carbohydrates, which makes it ideal for weight loss.

  • Combat inflammation

Fish are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties. Chronic low-grade inflammation can lead to obesity. Thus, including more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet can help lower the inflammation in your body and prevent obesity.

What are the Best Fish for Weight Loss?

The following are the best varieties of fish you should include in your weight loss diet. All of these fish have a low calorie count and are high in protein, which makes them ideal for weight loss.

  • Tilapia

There are several species of fish from the Cichlidae family that are commonly referred to as Tilapia. They are primarily found in freshwater bodies. Tilapia has a milder taste compared to other fish, which makes it popular. It is rich in niacin, cobalamin (vit B12), selenium, and zinc. 


  • Yellowfin Tuna

Scientifically known as Thunnus albacares, yellowfin tuna is a saltwater fish that is found in oceans of tropical and subtropical regions worldwide. Tuna is a great source of docosahexaenoic acid or DHA, which is a type of omega-3 fatty acid that is crucial for the health of your eyes and brain. It is also an excellent source of vitamin B12 and vitamin D.


  • Halibut

Atlantic halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus) and Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis) are saltwater flatfish found in the North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans respectively, as their names suggest. Halibut is rich in nutrients like phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, niacin, pyridoxine (vit B6), and vitamin B12.


  • Cod

Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus), also known as greyfish, is a saltwater fish found deep in the North Pacific ocean. It is considered to be one of the healthiest fish to eat as it is rich in lean protein content. It has high amounts of selenium, niacin, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12. Cod is also used to make supplements like cod liver oil, which has high concentrations of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids.


  • Salmon

Salmon is the general name used for several species of fish from the Salmonidae family. They are born in freshwater bodies like rivers, and then move to saltwater bodies like oceans. Salmon is considered a fatty or oily fish, but it is one of the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids. It is also a great source of B-complex vitamins, selenium, potassium, and carotenoids like astaxanthin, which is a potent antioxidant.

How Much Fish Can You Eat in a Week to Lose Weight?

You can consume about 3 to 6 ounces (85 to 170 g) of fish per serving. You can have about two to three servings of fish per week for the best weight loss results. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends limiting your consumption of fish to 3.5 ounces (about 100 g) per serving if you have high blood pressure or hypertension.

What is the Best Time to Eat Fish for Weight Loss?

You can include fish in your lunch or dinner in order to lose weight. Eating fish for lunch or dinner can help you stay feeling full for longer, which can cut down on overeating and post-meal snacking. Having fish as a part of your meal post-workout can also supply your muscles with the protein they need to repair and recuperate.

How to Cook Fish for Weight Loss?

Steaming, poaching, grilling, and baking are the best ways to cook fish when you are trying to lose weight. These methods usually require very little oil or fat for cooking the fish, thus keeping the calorie count low.

Replacing other types of meat in your diet with fish can help you cut down on your calorie and fat intake, which contributes to weight loss. Adding protein-rich fish to rice, soup, pasta, or noodles, along with vegetables can round up your meal and add the necessary macronutrients like carbohydrates and fibre. 

What is the Fish Diet for Weight Loss?

The fish diet for weight loss comprises of eating fish and seafood for at least three meals a week, and not eating any other type of meat like chicken, pork, mutton, beef, veal, venison, etc. 

Following this diet plan for at least eight weeks can give you good weight loss results as fish and seafood are much lower in calories, fat, and carbohydrates when compared to other types of meat. Thus, if you are a non-vegetarian, cutting down on your consumption of meat and switching to fish can help you meet your weight loss goals. 

What are the Risks of Overconsumption of Fish for Weight Loss?

Most fish contain some amounts of toxic heavy metals like mercury, which are detrimental to your health when ingested. Thus, overconsumption of fish can cause mercury poisoning, leading to adverse effects on your brain, kidney, and circulatory system.

What are the Other Health Benefits of Fish?

  • The omega-3 fatty acids in fish can lower your LDL (low-density lipoprotein or “bad”) cholesterol levels, thus decreasing your chances of developing cardiovascular diseases.
  • The omega-3 fatty acids in fish are also powerful anti-inflammatory agents which can lower your risk for hypertension, Type 2 Diabetes, certain types of cancer, depression, etc.
  • Eating fish can also prevent a decline in cognitive function and lower your chances of developing neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
  • The omega-3 fatty acids in fish can help preserve your eyesight as you age.
  • The omega-3 fatty acids in fish, when consumed by pregnant women, can also contribute to the healthy development of unborn children.

Don’t Have Time To Read?

  • Fish are high in protein, while having little to no fibre and carbohydrate content. They are also a good source of vitamin D and vitamin B12. Some fatty fish like tuna and salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Fish are a low-calorie source of non-vegetarian protein, which can help you feel full, thus aiding in weight loss. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish can help prevent obesity.
  • Low-calorie fish like tilapia, tuna, salmon, halibut, and cod can help you lose weight when included in your diet.
  • You can consume about 85 to 170 g of fish in one serving, two to three times per week in order to lose weight.
  • You can include fish in your post-workout meal. It can be also eaten for lunch or dinner.
  • Steaming, grilling, poaching, and baking are some of the best ways to cook fish when you are trying to lose weight. Avoid using too much fat like oil and butter when cooking fish.
  • Overconsumption of fish can lead to mercury poisoning as most fish contain some amount of mercury.
  • The omega-3 fatty acids in fish can lower your cholesterol levels, and reduce your risk of developing diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, depression, and Alzheimer’s.
  • The omega-3 fatty acids in fish can also preserve your eyesight, brain function, and aid in the healthy growth and development of unborn children for pregnant women.
  • Use the Phable Care App to consult India’s leading nutritionists and dieticians to get real-time remote care from the comfort of your home. Check out our store to order healthy treats, weighing scales, fitness bands, and more! We also have a Weight Management Program which provides 360º care. Start your weight management journey with Phable.

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are the best fish for weight loss that are widely available in India.

  • Katla or South Asian Carp
  • Rohu, also known as Rui, or Roho labeo
  • Rawas, also known as Indian salmon or the fourfinger threadfin
  • Singhara or the Giant river-catfish
  • Pomfret

No, fried fish is not good for weight loss as the cooking process involves the use of copious amounts of oil or butter, which drastically increases the calorie count of the dish.

Yes, when consumed in moderation, the protein and healthy fats (omega-3 fatty acids) in fish can promote weight loss.

It is not possible to target belly fat loss specifically, as spot reduction  of fat by any means is ineffective. However, eating the right types of fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids in the right quantities can help you lose weight, and losing weight overall can help reduce belly fat.

Yes, eating the recommended quantity of white, brown, or black rice with steamed, grilled, poached, or baked fish can help you lose weight. The key is to exercise portion control when consuming rice, as it can be high in carbohydrates.

Dr. Pakhi Sharma
Dr. Pakhi Sharma, MBBS
(General physician, 6+ years)
An expert in obstetrics and medical emergencies, Dr. Pakhi Sharma, an alumni of Sri Devaraj Urs University of Higher Education and Research Centre, is a general physician working at Phablecare. She has 6+ years of work experience spread across gynaecology and obstetrics, family medicine, and medical emergencies at renowned hospitals and clinics.

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