Catfish vs. Tilapia — Health Impact and Nutrition Comparison
Tilapia is higher in protein, calcium, and vitamin D. Catfish provides more fats and cholesterol and is higher in calories. Tilapia is lower in mercury, but it contains more selenium than catfish, covering 81% of the DV of selenium.
Table of contents
This article compares the nutritional profile, health benefits, and downsides of two of the most widespread and affordable fishes - catfish and tilapia. See the distribution of different nutrients in the charts shown below in the corresponding sections.
Catfish(1) and tilapia(2) are two world-famous species. Tilapia is a common name given to freshwater fish from the cichlid family. Freshwater catfish has such a name for having long barbels like cat’s whiskers. These species differ in appearance, taste, smell, texture, and preparation methods. Tilapia has deep body and long dorsal fins, while catfish have up to eight barbels located on the chin. Tilapia is usually silvery; catfish’s color can vary from silver to grayish blue or olive green.
Tilapia is famous for its non-fishy, mild, and slightly sweet taste, while catfish has a moist and fishy flavor. Tilapia has a fishy smell; catfish can sometimes have an unpleasant, muddy aroma due to the algae it consumes.
Catfish have a moist, dense texture and white, sometimes pinkish, meat. Tilapia has a firm and flaky texture and white flesh. Catfish can be pan-fried, grilled, or baked, and tilapia is usually pan-seared or fried.
Tilapia is more affordable. It is often called an “aquatic chicken” for its low price and high demand.
In this section, we will discuss the macronutrient, mineral, and vitamin composition of tilapia and catfish. Both of them do not provide any quantities of carbs.
Tilapia is higher in protein than catfish. Per 100g serving, tilapia provides 26.2g of protein, while catfish contains 18.4g.
Tilapia also contains more essential amino acids, such as lysine, histidine, and phenylalanine.
Catfish is nearly three times higher in fats than tilapia. It is richer in both unsaturated and saturated fats. Tilapia is an excellent source of omega-6 fatty acids.
Also, catfish is 9mg higher in cholesterol than tilapia.
Tilapia and catfish are classified as low-calorie foods.
Due to its higher fat composition, catfish provides slightly more calories than tilapia. It has 144 calories per 100g, while tilapia has 128 calories.
The leader in this section is tilapia.
Tilapia provides more calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron than catfish. Catfish contain more phosphorus and zinc. Tilapia is lower in sodium than catfish. Catfish are rich in mercury, while tilapia provide more selenium (3).
Check the mineral comparison chart below.
In general, catfish have a higher vitamin content. It is richer in vitamins A, B12, K, and folate.
Tilapia contains 15 times more vitamin D, B1, and B3.
Consuming tilapia and catfish is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease (4). This is because of the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. These two substances are long-chain essential fatty acids, which the human body cannot produce. As a result, we must obtain them through food. According to research, when blood flow concentrations of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are out of balance, the risk of heart disease rises (5). Consuming fish can promote a balanced diet.
Catfish is considered a food that has a moderate amount of mercury.
While mercury is safe for healthy middle-aged people, it can be dangerous for children, teenagers, and pregnant women (6).
Limit your seafood intake to reduce mercury toxicity.
You should be aware that tilapia is frequently produced using dangerous chemicals and forbidden methods and is frequently fed with animal feces. It might include dioxin, which is a possible carcinogen (7).
Fat Type Comparison
Comparison summary table
|Lower in Sodium|
|Lower in Cholesterol|
|Lower in Saturated Fat|
|Rich in minerals|
|Rich in vitamins|
|Lower in Sugar||Equal|
|Lower in Glycemic Index||Equal|
|Lower in price||Equal|
All nutrients comparison - raw data values
|Vitamin A RAE||1µg||0µg|
|Omega-3 - DHA||0.069g||0.13g|
|Omega-3 - EPA||0.02g||0.005g|
|Omega-3 - DPA||0.018g||0.06g|
|Omega-6 - Eicosadienoic acid||0.049g||0.015g|
|Omega-3 - ALA||0.045g|
Which food is preferable for your diet?
|Low Fats diet|
|Low Carbs diet||Equal|
|Low Calories diet|
|Low Glycemic Index diet||Equal|
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Vitamins & Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score
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.
- Catfish - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/175166/nutrients
- Tilapia - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/175177/nutrients
All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000-calorie diets.