Your religious views, health needs, and dietary preferences contribute to how you classify fish. Before you define whether fish is meat or not, you need to know the different definitions of meat.
Going by the dictionary definition of meat: flesh of an animal eaten as food, fish would be classified as meat. However, some people consider meat as flesh only from warm-blooded animals.
For some other people, meat is the flesh of mammalian species (pigs, cattle, lambs, etc.) that is raised and prepared for human consumption. This excludes fish, seafood, insects, and poultry from being classified as meat.
Do Religions Regard Fish As Meat?
Your religion plays a great role when it comes to defining meat and classifying fish. In some religions, fish is treated differently from other meats while in others, both meat and fish are classified together. How your religion classifies fish goes a long way in defining for you if it is meat or not.
In Jewish dietary law, fish is considered parve, meaning its neither meat nor dairy. Jewish law allows for fish that has scales and fins to be eaten but forbids the eating of cetacean meat such as whales, porpoise, or dolphins.
In Catholicism, seasonal dietary restrictions against eating meat do not usually include fish. for example, in pre- Vatican Roman Catholicism, meat was forbidden on all Fridays of the year and during lent but fish and eggs were permitted.
Some Hindus and Buddhists, abjure other meat that is not fish. For other Hindus who encourage non-violence against any form of life, fish is considered meat since it is flesh from a living creature and should not be eaten.
Islam practice has strict dietary restrictions on what is acceptable (halal). In these restrictions, there are rules on how to handle meat for it to be halal. these rules, however, do not have specific butchering or preparation guidelines for fish. Fish with scales is considered halal and doesn’t require special handling. Crustaceans or seafood without scales such as octopus and shellfish are not permissible to most Muslims.
Fish Versus Meat In Social Classes
Another reason why people would place fish and meat in different categories is because of their significance to different social classes. Through various periods, meat was only accessible to the elite and not the lower class while this was not the case for fish.
In the early centuries, exotic meats, beef, and pork were a luxury and a delicacy only meant for the aristocrats. Seafood and fish were meant for the lower class and they invented lots of delicious recipes to utilize the resources they had. Dishes such as lobster which cost quite a lot today were for the paupers in early history.
During those times, the elite did not consider fish as meat since it was a cheap delicacy for the lower class. The lower class, on the other hand, considered fish as meat since it was animal flesh easily available and affordable to them.
Sometimes, your diet influences whether you classify fish as meat or not. For vegetarians, all animal products such as meat, fish, poultry, dairy, honey, and eggs are avoided. fish is considered a type of meat and is avoided in their diet.
There are various variations to the vegetarian diet that allows for fish to be eaten. The pescatarian diet is a type of vegetarianism that eliminates meat and poultry but allows fish and other seafood to be eaten.
Lacto-ovo-vegetarians eat eggs and dairy but restrict meat, fish, and poultry. Flexitarian diet is another type of vegetarian diet that allows occasional consumption of fish, meat, and poultry.
From these diets, it is clear that the pescatarian diet considers fish different from other types of meat while all other diets classify fish as meat.
The Nutritional Content Of Fish Compared To Meat (0.25lb,4 oz,110 Grams)
In this section, we compare fish to meat in terms of nutritional content. But first, let’s define some terms.
Calories– a calorie is a unit of energy defined as the amount of heat needed to raise a quantity of water by one degree of temperature.
Carbs– a large group of organic compounds occurring in foods and living tissues including sugar, starch, and cellulose. They contain hydrogen and oxygen in the same ratio as water and can be broken down to release energy in the body.
Proteins– naturally occurring and complex substance that contains amino acid residue joined by peptide bonds. Proteins help to build and repair your body’s tissues
Fats- a naturally oily substance that occurs in animal bodies and is usually deposited as a layer under the skin or around certain organs.
|Steak (beef top round)||210||0||36g||7g|
|Steak (beef T-bone)||450||0||25g||35g|
Nutritional Value Of Fish
The dietary contribution of fish is significant in terms of fighting micronutrient deficiency and providing high-quality and easily digestible animal protein. Globally, fish products provide an average of about 34 calories per capita each day. 50 % of an adult’s daily protein requirement can be found in just a 150g portion of fish. Fish also contains minerals, fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, E, D, and K, and essential fatty acids which are vital for the healthy functioning of the body. The Health benefits of fish cannot be overlooked. Eating oily fish that contains long chains of omega 3 fatty acids lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease and reduces systemic inflammation. Nutritionists recommend eating about 140 grams of oily fish twice per week.
Fish can be classified as either whitefish, oily fish, or shellfish. Each category has a different nutritional composition and varies in terms of nutritional value to the body. Examples of white fish are tilapia, bass, cod, grouper, catfish, haddock, and snapper. Examples of oily fish include pilchards, sardines, salmon, and trout. Oily fish contain between 10-25% fat while white fish contain less than 1% of fat.
Comparison Of Nutrients In 100gramms Of Whitefish VS Oily Fish
|Nutrient||Whitefish (Alaska pollock)||Oily Fish (Atlantic herring)|
As seen from the table, white fish contains more cholesterol compared to oily fish. If you aim to increase your healthy cholesterol, white fish works better than oily fish. Nutritionists recommend having 140g of oily fish twice a week since it has more of the required micronutrients.
Is Fish Considered Me?
In a nutshell, there are lots of different standards that dictate whether fish is meat or not. These standards can either be from religious, economic, or cultural norms that rule out fish as meat or not. There’s no universal rule that defines whether or not fish is meat.
Personal preferences and lifestyle also impact the final verdict of whether you consider fish as meat. For vegetarians, fish is considered as meat and they won’t eat it, for pescatarians, fish is not meat otherwise they would avoid it as they do other types of flesh.
No matter what you believe or practice, it is nice to know what influences the great and unending fish versus meat debate. Being in the know will keep you enlightened and have an idea of which part of the debate you stand. We hope that this post has helped you solve the million-dollar question and get some facts right.