Different diets: the fish lover

Chris Annus

Chris Annus, 54, from north London, works for the British Heart Foundation and has eaten a variety of fish, but no red or white meat, for about 40 years.

“As a child, I was never really that keen on meat. Then, when I left home, it just didn’t occur to me to buy it,” he says.

“As I’ve got older, I have started to think more about my health, so that’s certainly something I now consider, too.

“I tend to choose the fish option when I eat out. I also eat tofu, pulses, beans and eggs. When I buy fish, it is usually salmon or tuna. As I eat everything apart from meat, I don’t worry I’m deficient in anything. I think it’s easier to have a lower calorie intake if you’re not eating meat, and fish is lower in saturated fat, too.”

Get our recipe for grilled mackerel with mustard sauce

Victoria’s verdict

A can of sardines White fish is a source of lean protein and, when prepared using healthy methods (steaming and grilling), is a good option. Oily fish is also a healthy choice and is a component of the Mediterranean diet.

By eating more fish, you will be likely to reduce your intake of meat and the saturated fat and salt that can come with it.

Myths about fish-based diets

1. Fish is hard to prepare

Watch out for tins of fish that contain brine

Your high-street or supermarket fishmonger can prepare, fillet and portion fish for you free of charge.

2. It’s expensive

Some fish and shellfish can be pricey, so look out for special offers, frozen (not battered or crumbed) fish and tinned fish in water or unsaturated oil.

3. Fish smells

Choose tinned or ready-cooked fish and cook fish in the oven or microwave rather than on the hob to minimise the smell.

4. Shellfish is high in cholesterol

Shellfish does contain cholesterol but this is not the main concern for our cholesterol levels. A bigger concern is the saturated fat content of food. Watch out for shellfish cooked in butter or in creamy sauces.

5. There are plenty of fish in the sea

Some species of fish are endangered, so choose fish that have been sourced responsibly. Look out for the Marine Stewardship Council logo to help you decide.

A fishy diet

Good for...

  • Oily fish provides you with omega-3
  • Providing you with healthy fat
  • Cooking quick and easy meals

Watch out for...

  • Fish that has been fried in batter
  • Fish covered in rich, buttery sauces
  • Tins of fish that contain brine 

Read about Wilfred's traditional diet and how to eat well as a meat-eater

Read Vijay's story and how to make the most of a vegetarian diet

Read our introduction to different diets and healthy eating

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