Best Fish To Eat For Weight Loss – How To Include Fish In Your Diet

by Charushila Biswas
ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition

Fish is healthy, easy to digest, and contains good-quality protein. It is the best source of omega-3 fatty acids, which aid weight loss. Scientists have found that regular consumption of fish and fish oil can help reduce inflammation-induced obesity, reduce leptin and blood pressure levels, increase insulin sensitivity, and improve heart health (1), (2), (3). According to the American Heart Association, eating non-fried fish once or twice a week has a cardioprotective effect due to its omega-3 fatty acid content (4). Though following a fish diet is good for weight loss, not all types of fish are good for you. Read on to find out which fish are the best for weight loss, how they can help you lose weight, ways to consume them, and a weight loss diet that will help you mobilize the fat.

6 Best Fish For Weight Loss

1. Wild Salmon

Wild Salmon

Image: Shutterstock

Wild-caught salmon is a versatile fatty fish that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. It is, therefore, regarded as one of the best fish for weight loss. You can get 121 calories from 3 oz of salmon. It is rich in vitamin A, folate, niacin, vitamin B 12, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and lean protein (5). Multiple studies have found a positive correlation between the consumption of salmon and weight loss (6). A study conducted at the University of Iceland found that eating 150 g of salmon as part of an energy-restricted diet three times a week helped the subjects lose an average 3.5 kg of weight (7).

2. Tuna

Tuna

Image: Shutterstock

Canned or not, tuna is good for you if you are trying to lose weight. It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, EPA, and DHA. Tuna is a good source of protein, calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin A, folate, niacin, and vitamin B12 (8). Both fatty and skinny tuna are recommended for you (9). You can easily prepare tuna salad, sandwiches, casseroles, wraps, and pasta.

3. Mackerel

Mackerel

Image: Shutterstock

Mackerel contains a good amount of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, EPA, DHA, vitamin B12, and selenium (10). All these nutrients help reduce inflammation, improve metabolic rate, build lean muscle mass, and aid weight loss (11). You can have grilled or boiled mackerel, mackerel stew, or mackerel curry for lunch or dinner in order to lose weight.

4. Herring

Herring

Image: Shutterstock

Herring is a fatty fish that is similar to a sardine. It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. It is a good source of vitamins A, D, and B12, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, and protein (12).

Three servings of fatty fish a week can improve insulin sensitivity and leptin levels and aid weight loss in obese individuals (13). Have poached or grilled herring with veggies to balance the daily requirement. The FDA recommends consuming herring twice a week.

5. Pacific Cod

Pacific Cod

Image: Shutterstock

Cod is a great source of vitamin A, choline, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and selenium (14).

A study conducted at the University of Iceland found that consumption of 150 g of codfish for five days a week helps in losing more than 1.7 kg weight in obese individuals along with improvement in blood pressure and insulin sensitivity and reduction in triglyceride levels (15). Have it stewed or poached to get all the nutritional benefits.

6. Hilsa

Hilsa

Image: Shutterstock

Hilsa is a rich source of protein, fat, vitamin C, and calcium (16). A study conducted at the Dhaka University on hypercholesterolemic subjects has found that though hilsa is fatty in nature, it can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol (17). Though hilsa fish intake has not been found to be directly related to lower BMI, it is safe for your heart.

The six fish listed above can help you achieve your target weight. But, you can also include any other fish in your diet and see good results.

Fish For Weight Loss – Connecting The Dots

  • Fish Are A Good Source of Lean Protein

If you want to lose weight, you must focus on losing fat and not lean muscle mass. Fish are a good source of lean protein and help you build lean muscle mass. Fish protein is effective in weight loss compared to any other animal protein as it improves satiety (18). Moreover, fish contains the amino acid taurine. Taurine could be beneficial in the prevention of obesity and diabetes (19).

  • Fish Are Rich In Omega-3 Fatty Acids

The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish help your body achieve the recommended omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acid ratio. This, in turn, helps reduce inflammation caused by the excessive omega-6 fatty acids found in most junk foods (20). Unchecked inflammation can put the body in a state of stress and lead to weight gain. Consuming fish can help reduce inflammation and your chances of gaining fat.

If you find the smell of fish off-putting, you can opt for fish oil supplements instead after consulting your doctor to meet your daily requirement of omega-3 fatty acids.

  • Fish Lowers Triglyceride Levels

The American Heart Association recommends1 g/ day of omega-3 fatty acids to people with coronary artery disease. A fish diet is beneficial for reducing triglyceride levels and the risk of coronary artery disease (21). This, in turn, prevents the risk of a range of cardiovascular diseases, keeps you active, and inhibits all obesity-inducing triggers.

  • Fish Are Low In Calories

One more reason fish are a great option when you are on a weight loss mission is that they are low in calories. So, you can have grilled or poached fish with veggies without consuming more than 350 calories. You will not feel hungry for the next two hours, and your taste buds will also be satiated.

  • Fish Acts As a Natural Antidepressant

Increased consumption of fish has been found to lower stress levels and reduce the risk of depression (22). So, consume fish or fish oil to stay healthy, mentally and physically. 

Now, let me give you an idea of how your diet chart should look like after the inclusion of fish.

Fish Diet – A Diet Chart To Lose Weight

MealsWhat To Eat
Early Morning (6:00 a.m.)2 teaspoons fenugreek seeds soaked overnight in 1 cup of water
Breakfast (7:15 a.m)Oatmeal + 1 cup freshly-pressed grapefruit juice
OR
2 egg white omelets + 1 cup milk + 4 almonds
Mid Morning (10:15 a.m)1 cup green tea
Lunch (12:30 p.m.)Tuna salad with light dressing + 1 cup yogurt
OR
Poached herring with veggies + 1 cup yogurt
Post Lunch (3:30 p.m.)1 cup of coconut water
Or
Baby carrots and hummus
Dinner (6:30 p.m.)Grilled salmon/hilsa/mackerel with veggies
Or
Stewed fish with a small bowl of brown rice
Bedtime (10:00 p.m.)1 cup warm milk with a pinch of turmeric

This sample diet chart gives you a good idea of what to eat, when to eat, and how much to eat. Follow this chart, and you will lose weight effectively. But, you must also be physically active to tone up. Here are a few other points that you should keep in mind.

Points To Remember

Consume other protein sources such as chicken breast, ground turkey, legumes, soy chunks, and mushrooms to provide your body the full set of essential amino acids.

  • Have 3-4 types of veggies and at least 3 types of fruits per day.
  • Include whole grains and healthy fats in your diet.
  • Eat 5-6 times a day.
  • Keep yourself hydrated.
  • Get proper rest. Sleep for at least 7 hours a day.
  • Do a mix of cardio and strength training and workout at least 3-4 times a week.
  • Do not starve yourself.
  • Practice yoga and meditation to keep the stress away.

Caution: Due to increased water pollution, there is a greater risk of mercury poisoning through fish. Make sure you buy your fish from a trusted source. You can also take fish oil supplements instead.

Conclusion

To conclude, fish are low in calories and rich in protein and healthy fats, which makes them highly nutritious. By consuming fish regularly, you will be able to lose fat, improve bone health, and prevent skin and hair loss problems. So, go ahead, shed fat, and look and feel gorgeous all the time.

Expert’s Answers for Readers Questions

Which fish is the lowest in fat?

All fish are low in fat and rich in protein. They are a rich source of lean protein.

Is chicken or fish better for weight loss?

Any lean protein is good for weight loss. Fish is always a great choice because of its amino acid content and because it is easy to digest. But, if you don’t like the smell of fishy, you can eat other lean meats like chicken or lamb instead.

Does fish increase weight?

Eating anything in limited amounts does not increase weight. Fish are low in calories and loaded with protein and healthy fats. So, include grilled or baked fish for lunch and dinner to kickstart your weight loss journey.

22 sources

Stylecraze has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

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Charushila Biswas

Charushila Biswas is a Senior Content Writer and an ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist. She is an alumni of VIT University, Vellore and has worked on transgenic wheat as a part of her Masters dissertation from NRCPB (IARI), New Delhi. After completing her Masters, she developed a passion for nutrition and fitness, which are closely related to human psychology. And that prompted her to author a review article in 2015. She has written over 200 articles on Fitness and Nutrition. In her leisure time, Charushila loves to cook and enjoys mobile photography.
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