Also Known As: Pescetarian diet, Pescetarianism
Pescetarianism ( /ˌpɛskɨˈtɛəriən/) (also spelled Pescatarian) is the practice of a diet that includes seafood but not the flesh of other animals. A pescetarian diet shares many of its components with a vegetarian diet and includes vegetables, fruit, nuts, grains, beans, eggs, and dairy, but unlike a vegetarian diet also includes fish and shellfish. The Merriam-Webster dictionary dates the origin of the term "pescetarian" to 1993 and defines it to mean: "one whose diet includes fish but no meat".
One of the most commonly cited reasons is that of health, based on findings that red meat is detrimental to health in many cases due to non-lean red meats containing high amounts of saturated fats. Eating certain kinds of fish raises HDL levels, and some fish are a convenient source of omega-3 fatty acids, and have numerous health benefits in one food variety. A 1999 meta-study of five studies comparing vegetarian and non-vegetarian mortality rates in Western countries found that in comparison with regular meat eaters, mortality from ischemic heart disease was 34% lower in pescetarians, 34% lower in vegetarians, 26% lower in vegans and 20% lower in occasional meat eaters.
On the other hand, there have been concerns cited about consuming large quantities of some fish varieties due to their containing toxins such as mercury and PCBs, though it is possible to select fish that contain little or no mercury and moderate the consumption of mercury-containing fish.