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A Guide to Pescatarian Keto

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  Published on January 9th, 2024
  Reading time: 4 minutes
  Last modified November 18th, 2023
Fish and seafood for pescatarian keto

Many people want to harness the benefits of the keto diet, but they may not want to consume as much meat as the diet tends to encourage. If you are interested in something closer to a vegetarian approach to the keto diet, you may find exactly what you want by eating a modified diet as a pescatarian. But is pescatarian keto feasible? And how can it benefit your health? 

This quick guide will give you all the details on how a pescatarian diet can support your health goals, especially when combined with the power of ketosis. 

What Is Pescatarian Keto?

A pescetarian keto diet is similar to the traditional keto diet with one major omission: you do not consume any meat. Instead, your diet is made up of low-carb foods in every other food group. It limits you to low-carb fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, fish and seafood, eggs, and dairy products.   

As long as you can keep your carb count between 20 and 50 grams of net carbs per day (total carbs minus grams of fiber), you can kick your body into ketosis without the addition of meat into your diet. [1]

Benefits of Pescatarian Keto

It has long been observed that a diet high in fish and seafood, like the pescatarian diet, has considerable health benefits. Many people following this diet experience a lower body mass index (BMI), lower cholesterol levels, and less hypertension than meat-eaters. They also tend to be at a lesser risk of developing cardiovascular problems. [2]

The keto diet is low in carbs and high in fat, and offers benefits that complement the pescatarian diet nicely. Some of the most notable benefits of the keto diet include improved blood pressure, better blood glucose levels, and improved triglyceride and HDL cholesterol levels. [3] It also leads to more satiety due to the high fat content, leading you to eat less and spurring weight loss. [4]

Combining the two diets can have a powerful effect on your overall health! The catch is that it can be significantly harder to get your calories in without resorting to carbs when meat is no longer on the table. You will have to steer clear of many of the staples in a meatless diet such as potatoes and other starchy vegetables, fruits with high sugar content, and carb-loaded food products like breads and pastas. 

Instead, you will want to make sure you focus on getting high levels of omega-3 fatty acids in your overall diet. These are known for reducing inflammation markers, which decreases your odds of developing cancer and arthritis. [5] These fatty acids also work by improving heart health and even increasing your HDL cholesterol. [6] 

Most people have no problem with this as seafood tends to be high in omega-3 fatty acids.

Tips to Feel Your Best on Pescatarian Keto

Pescatarians face the usual struggles that anyone does who is new to a keto diet. Like many keto beginners, they might struggle initially with electrolyte imbalances. When you stop eating as many carbs, your body will transition to burning your glycogen reserves or the stored-up carbohydrates in your system. Because the glycogen tends to bond with water, you will lose more fluids in the early days of ketosis.

As a result, you might feel much better if you take electrolyte supplements. You can also include more foods in your diet with electrolytes like avocados, salmon and clams, spinach, coconut water, and even almonds.

Pescatarian keto fish dish

As a bonus, getting electrolytes will also help you with that set of symptoms commonly referred to as the “keto flu,” which often occurs when your body is adjusting to burning fat instead of glucose. [7]

A more unique challenge for keto pescatarians to consider is the nutritional deficiencies that can come from cutting all meat out of your diet. People who do not consume meat were found in one study to have lower levels of B12, vitamin D, iron, zinc, iodine, and calcium. [8] It might be worth monitoring your lab work with your primary care physician to ensure you get all of the nutrients you need. 

Make sure you are either supplementing your diet with keto-friendly versions of these nutrients or are making a conscious effort to eat more foods that help counteract these common deficiencies. A plant-based diet supplemented with seafood is a great way to lose weight, as long as you go about it in a healthy way. 

Going Pescatarian Keto

If you are thinking of making the switch to a pescatarian lifestyle, you may want to combine the effects of a seafood- and plant-based diet with the power of keto. When done properly, it can lead to significant health benefits and improvements in the area of weight loss. Whether you want to reduce your risk of a cardiovascular event, improve hypertension, or just shed those last few stubborn pounds, pescatarian keto might be the perfect fit for you.

Ashley Simpson is a freelance writer dedicated to helping people improve their lives -- in every way possible. She understands that food and diet are necessary components to a healthy lifestyle and experiments with both. When she isn't typing away, she enjoys spending time with her husband and son.



Diet Review: Ketogenic Diet for weight loss. The Nutrition Source. (2019, May 22). https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-weight/diet-reviews/ketogenic-diet/ 


Wozniak, H., Larpin, C., de Mestral, C., Guessous, I., Reny, J. L., & Stringhini, S. (2020). Vegetarian, pescatarian and flexitarian diets: sociodemographic determinants and association with cardiovascular risk factors in a Swiss urban population. The British journal of nutrition, 124(8), 844–852. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007114520001762


Masood W., Annamaraju P., Khan Suheb M.Z., et al. Ketogenic Diet. [Updated 2023 Jun 16]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499830/


Benlloch, M., López-Rodríguez, M. M., Cuerda-Ballester, M., Drehmer, E., Carrera, S., Ceron, J. J., Tvarijonaviciute, A., Chirivella, J., Fernández-García, D., & de la Rubia Ortí, J. E. (2019). Satiating Effect of a Ketogenic Diet and Its Impact on Muscle Improvement and Oxidation State in Multiple Sclerosis Patients. Nutrients, 11(5), 1156. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11051156


Gammone, M. A., Riccioni, G., Parrinello, G., & D'Orazio, N. (2018). Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids: Benefits and Endpoints in Sport. Nutrients, 11(1), 46. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11010046


Mohebi-Nejad, A., & Bikdeli, B. (2014). Omega-3 supplements and cardiovascular diseases. Tanaffos, 13(1), 6–14.


Bostock, E. C. S., Kirkby, K. C., Taylor, B. V., & Hawrelak, J. A. (2020). Consumer Reports of "Keto Flu" Associated With the Ketogenic Diet. Frontiers in nutrition, 7, 20. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2020.00020


Neufingerl, N., & Eilander, A. (2021). Nutrient Intake and Status in Adults Consuming Plant-Based Diets Compared to Meat-Eaters: A Systematic Review. Nutrients, 14(1), 29. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14010029

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