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A cartoon-style illustration of a chicken on the left and a fish on the right with "This or That?" written at the top. The word "VS" is placed between the chicken and fish, hinting at which is healthier. The background is a light teal color.

Chicken or Fish – Which is Healthier?

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Our Verdict

When comparing chicken to fish, we picked the fish.


To understand the choice, we have to start a bit earlier on the decision tree. For most people most of the time, when it comes to a diet high in plants or high in animals, the plant-centric diet will generally be best:

Do We Need Animal Products To Be Healthy?

When it comes to animal meats, red meat is a fairly uncontroversial first thing to strike off the list:

Eat To Beat Cancer

…with pork and some other meats not being much better.

But chicken? Poultry in general appears to be quite health-neutral. The jury is out and the science has mixed results, but the data is leaning towards “it’s probably fine”.

See for example this huge (n=29,682) study:

Associations of Processed Meat, Unprocessed Red Meat, Poultry, or Fish Intake With Incident Cardiovascular Disease and All-Cause Mortality

👆 this same paper shows that…

❝higher intake of processed meat, unprocessed red meat, or poultry, but not fish, was significantly associated with a small increased risk of incident CVD, whereas higher intake of processed meat or unprocessed red meat, but not poultry or fish, was significantly associated with a small increased risk of all-cause mortality❞

So, since poultry isn’t significantly increasing all-cause mortality, and fish isn’t significantly increasing all-cause mortality or cardiovascular disease, fish comes out as the hands-down (fins-down?) winner.

One more (this time, easy) choice to make, though!

While fish in general (please, not fried, though!) is generally considered quite healthy, there is a big difference (more than you might think, and for reasons that are quite alarming), between…

Health Risks & Nutrition: Farmed Fish vs Wild-Caught

Enjoy, and take care!

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