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Alaska pollock vs. Cod — Health Impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Article author photo Ani Harutyunyan by Ani Harutyunyan | Last updated on June 21, 2023
Medically reviewed by Jack Yacoubian Article author photo Jack  Yacoubian
Alaska pollock
vs
Cod

Summary

Alaska pollock is richer in protein. Cod is lower in cholesterol, calories, and fats. It contains less sodium than pollock. Alaska pollock are richer in B-complex vitamins, especially in vitamin B12: it covers 458% of the DV of vitamin B12.

 

Introduction

Cod and Alaska pollock are two of the most famous and world-spread fishes. This article will compare cooked versions of these fish species, focusing on their nutritional content and health impact and showing their actual differences.

Actual differences

Both pollock and cod are different seafood species belonging to the Gadidae family. The Latin name for Alaska pollock is Gadus chalcogramma, and the cod is called Gadus macrocephalus. Alaska pollock are usually cheaper than cod. These fishes also differ in flavor, smell, appearance, texture, and preparation methods.

Alaska pollock are brown-black or olive green on the back and become pale and silvery on the ventral side. It is usually camouflaged with yellow or black spots, while cod has a grey-green or red-brown body with black dots. 

What about the flavors? Cod has a non-fishy, mild, and a bit sweet flavor. The taste of pollock is light-mild and delicate. Cod smells very fishy. Sometimes it may have supplement odors like melon and cucumber smells. Fresh pollock has a briny, mild smell

Both fish can be found in fillets forms. 

Alaska pollock have a softer, slightly coarse texture and white flesh with flaky white meat. In contrast, cod has a tender-firm texture

One of the most common cod fish is the Pacific cod. 

Cod is usually prepared in grilled, deep-fried, broiled, or baked form. Tilapia is made by grilling, baking, smoking, and stir-frying

Nutrition

The following sections of the article will discuss cooked cod and pollock’s macronutrient, vitamin, and mineral composition. Both of them are nutrient rich fish species without any amounts of carbs

Macronutrient Comparison

Macronutrient breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains more Fats +37.2%
Contains more Other +333.3%
Equal in Protein - 22.83
Equal in Water - 75.92
23% 74% 2%
Protein: 23.48 g
Fats: 1.18 g
Carbs: 0 g
Water: 73.65 g
Other: 1.69 g
23% 76%
Protein: 22.83 g
Fats: 0.86 g
Carbs: 0 g
Water: 75.92 g
Other: 0.39 g
Contains more Fats +37.2%
Contains more Other +333.3%
Equal in Protein - 22.83
Equal in Water - 75.92
 

Calories

Due to its higher protein and fat composition, Alaska pollock provides slightly more calories than cod. It contains six more calories.

Protein

Pollock is slightly higher in protein than cod. Per 100g serving, pollock provide 23.5 grams of protein, while cod contains 22.8g

Both of them provide different amounts of essential amino acids, such as histidine, lysine, and phenylalanine. 

Fats

Cod has less than one gram of fat per 100g, while the same amount of Alaska pollock provides 1.2g. It is higher in omega-3 fatty acids.

Surprisingly, cod is 31mg lower in cholesterol than Alaska pollock. 

Fat Type Comparison

Fat type breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +99.7%
Equal in Saturated Fat - 0.168
Equal in Monounsaturated Fat - 0.124
18% 15% 67%
Saturated Fat: 0.159 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.134 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.583 g
29% 21% 50%
Saturated Fat: 0.168 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.124 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.292 g
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +99.7%
Equal in Saturated Fat - 0.168
Equal in Monounsaturated Fat - 0.124
 

Minerals

Alaskan Pollock has a richer mineral profile. 

Pollock provides more phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, selenium, copper, potassium, and iron than cod. Cod is lower in sodium than pollock. You can see the mineral comparison chart below.

Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
Contains more Calcium +414.3%
Contains more Iron +14.3%
Contains more Magnesium +92.9%
Contains more Phosphorus +93.5%
Contains more Potassium +76.2%
Contains more Copper +66.7%
Contains more Selenium +17.3%
Contains less Sodium -81.4%
Contains more Manganese +11.1%
Equal in Zinc - 0.58
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 22% 22% 58% 115% 38% 55% 16% 20% 3% 241%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 5% 19% 30% 60% 22% 11% 16% 12% 3% 206%
Contains more Calcium +414.3%
Contains more Iron +14.3%
Contains more Magnesium +92.9%
Contains more Phosphorus +93.5%
Contains more Potassium +76.2%
Contains more Copper +66.7%
Contains more Selenium +17.3%
Contains less Sodium -81.4%
Contains more Manganese +11.1%
Equal in Zinc - 0.58
 

Vitamins

In general, Alaska pollock has higher vitamin content than cod. Cod contains vitamin C, which is not present in pollock. Pollock is higher in B-complex vitamins. 100g of Alaska pollock covers 458% of the DV of vitamin B12

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
:
4
Cod
Contains more Vitamin B2 +182.3%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +57.1%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +140%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +16.3%
Contains more Vitamin B12 +248.6%
Contains more Vitamin E +189.3%
Contains more Vitamin C +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +63%
Contains more Folate +166.7%
Equal in Vitamin A - 47
Equal in Vitamin D - 1.2
Equal in Choline - 83.7
Equal in Vitamin K - 0.1
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 4% 6% 39% 0% 14% 52% 75% 26% 76% 3% 458% 50% 1%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 3% 17% 36% 4% 22% 19% 48% 11% 66% 6% 132% 46% 1%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +182.3%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +57.1%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +140%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +16.3%
Contains more Vitamin B12 +248.6%
Contains more Vitamin E +189.3%
Contains more Vitamin C +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +63%
Contains more Folate +166.7%
Equal in Vitamin A - 47
Equal in Vitamin D - 1.2
Equal in Choline - 83.7
Equal in Vitamin K - 0.1
 

Health benefits

Cardiovascular health and omega fatty acids

Consuming Alaska pollock and cod is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease (1). The proportion of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids is responsible for this. The human body cannot produce these long-chain essential fatty acids. We have to get them from some food products as a result. A study found that when blood flow quantities of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are out of balance, the risk of heart disease rises (2). Thus, eating fish can support a balanced diet.

Mercury poisoning

Alaska pollock is categorized as a food that contains moderate amounts of mercury. Mercury is poisonous to children, young people, and pregnant women, even if it is safe for healthy middle-aged individuals (3). Cod is a better option to avoid mercury poisoning because it has less mercury than Alaska pollock (4).

Inflammatory markers

Consumption of cod is associated with decreased levels of neopterin, which is a pro-inflammatory marker. Indicating lower levels of inflammation. (5)

Metabolic markers

Consumption of cod is associated with lower levels of postprandial glucose and blood lipid levels. Overall, having a positive effect on our metabolism. The limitation of this study is that it was done on rats and not in clinical trials. (6)

When it comes to hyperglycemia in diabetes, pollock consumption is linked with better health outcomes in type 2 diabetic patients by overall reducing glucose spikes. (7)

Dementia

Pollock consumption is linked with protective functions against short-term memory decline with age. 

You can also read about Cod vs. Tilapia in this article.

Article author photo Ani Harutyunyan
Education: General Medicine at YSMU
Last updated: June 21, 2023
Medically reviewed by Jack Yacoubian

Infographic

Alaska pollock vs Cod infographic
Infographic link

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the rightmost column. It displays the amounts side by side, giving a clearer understanding of the difference.
Alaska pollock Cod
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Cholesterol ok
Lower in price ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Rich in minerals ok
Rich in vitamins ok
Lower in Sugar Equal
Lower in Glycemic Index Equal

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Alaska pollock Cod Opinion
Protein 23.48g 22.83g Alaska pollock
Fats 1.18g 0.86g Alaska pollock
Calories 111kcal 105kcal Alaska pollock
Calcium 72mg 14mg Alaska pollock
Iron 0.56mg 0.49mg Alaska pollock
Magnesium 81mg 42mg Alaska pollock
Phosphorus 267mg 138mg Alaska pollock
Potassium 430mg 244mg Alaska pollock
Sodium 419mg 78mg Cod
Zinc 0.57mg 0.58mg Cod
Copper 0.06mg 0.036mg Alaska pollock
Manganese 0.018mg 0.02mg Cod
Selenium 44.1µg 37.6µg Alaska pollock
Vitamin A 51IU 47IU Alaska pollock
Vitamin A RAE 17µg 14µg Alaska pollock
Vitamin E 0.28mg 0.81mg Cod
Vitamin D 51IU 46IU Alaska pollock
Vitamin D 1.3µg 1.2µg Alaska pollock
Vitamin C 0mg 1mg Cod
Vitamin B1 0.054mg 0.088mg Cod
Vitamin B2 0.223mg 0.079mg Alaska pollock
Vitamin B3 3.949mg 2.513mg Alaska pollock
Vitamin B5 0.432mg 0.18mg Alaska pollock
Vitamin B6 0.329mg 0.283mg Alaska pollock
Folate 3µg 8µg Cod
Vitamin B12 3.66µg 1.05µg Alaska pollock
Choline 91.6mg 83.7mg Alaska pollock
Vitamin K 0.1µg 0.1µg
Tryptophan 0.263mg 0.256mg Alaska pollock
Threonine 1.029mg 1.001mg Alaska pollock
Isoleucine 1.082mg 1.052mg Alaska pollock
Leucine 1.908mg 1.856mg Alaska pollock
Lysine 2.157mg 2.097mg Alaska pollock
Methionine 0.696mg 0.676mg Alaska pollock
Phenylalanine 0.917mg 0.891mg Alaska pollock
Valine 1.21mg 1.176mg Alaska pollock
Histidine 0.691mg 0.672mg Alaska pollock
Cholesterol 86mg 55mg Cod
Saturated Fat 0.159g 0.168g Alaska pollock
Omega-3 - DHA 0.423g 0.154g Alaska pollock
Omega-3 - EPA 0.086g 0.004g Alaska pollock
Omega-3 - DPA 0.027g 0.013g Alaska pollock
Monounsaturated Fat 0.134g 0.124g Alaska pollock
Polyunsaturated fat 0.583g 0.292g Alaska pollock

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Alaska pollock Cod
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet Equal
Low Calories diet ok
Low Glycemic Index diet Equal

People also compare

Vitamins & Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score

The summary scores indicate the extent to which this food can fulfill your daily vitamin and mineral requirements if you consume 3 servings, consisting of 100 grams of each (an approximation of 3 serving sizes).
Vitamins Daily Need Coverage Score
61%
Alaska pollock
31%
Cod
Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score
59%
Alaska pollock
38%
Cod

Comparison summary

Which food contains less Sodium?
Cod
Cod contains less Sodium (difference - 341mg)
Which food is lower in Cholesterol?
Cod
Cod is lower in Cholesterol (difference - 31mg)
Which food is cheaper?
Cod
Cod is cheaper (difference - $5.7)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Alaska pollock
Alaska pollock is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.009g)
Which food is richer in minerals?
Alaska pollock
Alaska pollock is relatively richer in minerals
Which food is richer in vitamins?
Alaska pollock
Alaska pollock is relatively richer in vitamins
Which food contains less Sugar?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Sugar (0 g)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
?
The foods have equal glycemic indexes (0)

References

All the values for which the sources are not specified explicitly are taken from FDA’s Food Central. The exact link to the food presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Alaska pollock - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/173681/nutrients
  2. Cod - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171956/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000-calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.