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Salmon vs. Whitefish — Health Impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Article author photo Sveta Badalyan by Sveta Badalyan | Last updated on September 06, 2023
Medically reviewed by Elen Khachatrian Article author photo Elen Khachatrian
Salmon
vs
Whitefish

Summary

Salmon is high in choline, selenium, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A, D, E, K, and most B-groups. On the other hand, whitefish is high in vitamin B2, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, and zinc. Moreover, salmon is high in calories, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Salmon provides less saturated fats and sodium. Compared to salmon, whitefish contain more protein and less cholesterol.

Introduction

Fish, salmon, Atlantic, farmed, cooked, dry heat, and Fish, whitefish, mixed species, cooked, dry heat are the specific food kinds considered in this comparison. In this article, we will discuss their nutritional values and health effects.

Classification

Salmon belongs to the family Salmonidae. There are two types of salmon: Pacific and Atlantic. Pacific salmon are members of the Oncorhynchus genus. Atlantic salmon is a member of the Salmo genus. Atlantic salmon are the largest species in the Salmon genus. 

The name Pacific salmon refers to five primary species: King (Chinook), Sockeye (Red), Coho (Silver), Pink (Humpback), and Chum (Dog, Silverbrite). The nutritional values of these spices might vary. 

Whitefish also belongs to the family Salmonidae and subfamily Coregoninae. There are two species of whitefish: the genus Coregonus and the genus Stenodus

Appearance

The gill covers of Atlantic salmon contain big dark dots, and the upper body has x- or y-shaped patterns.

Whitefish have sleek bodies with a silvery or light color on their scales. They usually have a distinct lateral line. Whitefish vary in size, although they are typically medium-sized fish.

Taste 

Salmon has a particular flavor that is creamy, buttery, and somewhat fishy. The taste of salmon varies based on the variety and method of preparation. Whitefish is mildly sweet with a delicate, clean, and fresh flavor. The flavor can changed by spices or marinades applied throughout the cooking process. 

Salmon's texture can also vary, ranging from delicate tender to slightly firm. Whitefish, on the other hand, has a flaky texture.

Nutrition

Macronutrients and Calories

Salmon is high in fats and calories, whereas whitefish has more protein. Moreover, salmon provide less cholesterol compared to whitefish.

Macronutrient Comparison

Macronutrient breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains more Fats +64.4%
Contains more Protein +10.7%
Contains more Other +266.3%
Equal in Water - 65.09
22% 12% 65%
Protein: 22.1 g
Fats: 12.35 g
Carbs: 0 g
Water: 64.75 g
Other: 0.8 g
24% 8% 65% 3%
Protein: 24.47 g
Fats: 7.51 g
Carbs: 0 g
Water: 65.09 g
Other: 2.93 g
Contains more Fats +64.4%
Contains more Protein +10.7%
Contains more Other +266.3%
Equal in Water - 65.09

Calories

Compared to whitefish, salmon provides more calories

A hundred grams of salmon contains 206 calories, whereas whitefish provide 172 calories per hundred grams.

Protein

Compared to salmon, whitefish has more protein content. A hundred grams of salmon provides 22.1g of protein, whereas the same amount of whitefish provides 24.47g. Both contain all essential amino acids.

Fats

In comparison to whitefish, salmon is high in fats. A hundred grams of salmon provides 12.35g of fats, whereas whitefish 7.51g. Salmon is high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Whitefish, on the other hand, contain less saturated fats.

Fat Type Comparison

Fat type breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +63.4%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +65.3%
Contains less Saturated Fat -51.5%
22% 38% 41%
Saturated Fat: 2.397 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 4.181 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 4.553 g
18% 40% 43%
Saturated Fat: 1.162 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 2.559 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 2.755 g
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +63.4%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +65.3%
Contains less Saturated Fat -51.5%

Omega-3 Fats 

In comparison to whitefish, salmon provide more omega-3 fats. A hundred grams of salmon contains 2.3g of omega-3 fatty acids, while whitefish contains only 1.8g. Salmon is high in omega-3 DHA and EPA content, whereas whitefish is high in omega-3 DPA.

Cholesterol

Compared to whitefish, salmon contains more cholesterol

A hundred grams of salmon has 63mg of cholesterol, whereas whitefish has 77mg.

Vitamins

Salmon is high in vitamins B1, B3, B5, B6, B12, and folate. Whitefish, on the other hand, provide more vitamin B2. Salmon also contains vitamins C and E. Salmon contain 3.7mg of vitamin C and 1.14mg of vitamin E, whereas whitefish do not provide them. Moreover, salmon is high in vitamin A

A hundred grams of salmon contains 230IU of vitamin A, whereas whitefish provides 131IU.

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.
Salmon
12
:
Contains more Vitamin A +75.6%
Contains more Vitamin C +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +98.8%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +109.2%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +70.5%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +87%
Contains more Folate +100%
Contains more Vitamin B12 +191.7%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +14.1%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 14% 23% 393% 13% 86% 32% 151% 89% 150% 26% 350% 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 8% 0% 0% 0% 43% 36% 73% 52% 80% 13% 120% 0% 0%
Contains more Vitamin A +75.6%
Contains more Vitamin C +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +98.8%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +109.2%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +70.5%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +87%
Contains more Folate +100%
Contains more Vitamin B12 +191.7%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +14.1%

Minerals

Compared to whitefish, salmon contains over 2.5 times more selenium. Salmon provides 41.1µg of selenium, whereas whitefish only 16.2µg. Salmon also contains 90.5 mg of choline. On the other hand, whitefish provides more potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, and zinc. Both are equal in sodium content.

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 Selenium +155.6%
Contains more Calcium +120%
Contains more Iron +38.2%
Contains more Magnesium +40%
Contains more Phosphorus +37.3%
Contains more Zinc +195.3%
Contains more Copper +87.8%
Contains more Manganese +437.5%
Equal in Potassium - 406
Equal in Sodium - 65
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 5% 13% 22% 108% 34% 8% 12% 17% 3% 226%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 10% 18% 30% 149% 36% 9% 35% 31% 12% 89%
Contains more Selenium +155.6%
Contains more Calcium +120%
Contains more Iron +38.2%
Contains more Magnesium +40%
Contains more Phosphorus +37.3%
Contains more Zinc +195.3%
Contains more Copper +87.8%
Contains more Manganese +437.5%
Equal in Potassium - 406
Equal in Sodium - 65

Mercury Levels

The amount of mercury in seafood varies depending on the species and the level of pollution in the environment. Canned salmon has a mercury concentration mean (PPM) of 0.014, and fresh salmon has a PPM of 0.022. Whitefish has a mercury concentration mean of 0.089. Compared to salmon, whitefish has a higher mercury content (1).

Acidity

The way to determine the acidity of foods is the potential renal acid load or PRAL. The PRAL value of salmon is 14.7. The PRAL value of whitefish is 11.1. Both of them are acidic.

Weight Loss & Diets

As fish is meat, salmon and whitefish are not considered vegan or vegetarian.

Salmon and whitefish are good options for people who follow the pescetarian diet.

Salmon and whitefish are allowed in the Mediterranean diet.

Salmon and whitefish can be part of the DASH diet in moderation amounts.

As salmon and whitefish do not contain carbs, they are excellent choices for the keto diet.

Both whitefish and salmon are paleo-friendly.

Health Impact

Pregnancy

Salmon and whitefish contain less mercury levels. They are the best choices for pregnant women(2).

According to studies, EPA and DHA are essential for healthy embryonic development, including immunological, neural, and retinal function(3). 

Cardiovascular Health

According to the study, eating salmon reduced systolic, diastolic, and mean arterial blood pressure. Salmon consumption also decreased LDL-cholesterol and increased HDL-cholesterol(4).

In patients with known coronary heart disease, omega-3 fatty acids reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death and mortality(5).

Omega-3 fatty acids may also improve cardiovascular function, including inflammation, peripheral artery disease, major coronary events, and anticoagulation(3).

Neurodegenerative Diseases

Supplementation of fish products rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon or whitefish, may slow or prevent neurodegenerative disorders. As mentioned above, salmon contains more omega-3 fatty acids.

A diet high in polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids may lower the risk of Parkinson's disease.

According to the study, fatty fish consumption is inversely associated with the incidence of dementia and Alzheimer's disease(6).

Diabetes

Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids is a good choice for people with diabetes. Compared to whitefish, salmon is high in omega-3 DHA and omega-3 EPA.

Consumption of fatty fish, as well as EPA and DHA, was not linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes(7). It may reduce inflammation. People with diabetes may choose baked or grilled fish and avoid fried fish(8).

Article author photo Sveta Badalyan
Education: General Medicine at YSMU
Last updated: September 06, 2023
Medically reviewed by Elen Khachatrian

Infographic

Salmon vs Whitefish 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.
Salmon Whitefish
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in price ok
Rich in minerals ok
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Cholesterol ok
Rich in vitamins ok
Lower in Glycemic Index Equal

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Salmon Whitefish Opinion
Protein 22.1g 24.47g Whitefish
Fats 12.35g 7.51g Salmon
Calories 206kcal 172kcal Salmon
Calcium 15mg 33mg Whitefish
Iron 0.34mg 0.47mg Whitefish
Magnesium 30mg 42mg Whitefish
Phosphorus 252mg 346mg Whitefish
Potassium 384mg 406mg Whitefish
Sodium 61mg 65mg Salmon
Zinc 0.43mg 1.27mg Whitefish
Copper 0.049mg 0.092mg Whitefish
Manganese 0.016mg 0.086mg Whitefish
Selenium 41.4µg 16.2µg Salmon
Vitamin A 230IU 131IU Salmon
Vitamin A RAE 69µg 39µg Salmon
Vitamin E 1.14mg Salmon
Vitamin D 526IU Salmon
Vitamin D 13.1µg Salmon
Vitamin C 3.7mg 0mg Salmon
Vitamin B1 0.34mg 0.171mg Salmon
Vitamin B2 0.135mg 0.154mg Whitefish
Vitamin B3 8.045mg 3.846mg Salmon
Vitamin B5 1.475mg 0.865mg Salmon
Vitamin B6 0.647mg 0.346mg Salmon
Folate 34µg 17µg Salmon
Vitamin B12 2.8µg 0.96µg Salmon
Choline 90.5mg Salmon
Vitamin K 0.1µg Salmon
Tryptophan 0.248mg 0.274mg Whitefish
Threonine 0.969mg 1.073mg Whitefish
Isoleucine 1.018mg 1.128mg Whitefish
Leucine 1.796mg 1.989mg Whitefish
Lysine 2.03mg 2.248mg Whitefish
Methionine 0.654mg 0.724mg Whitefish
Phenylalanine 0.863mg 0.955mg Whitefish
Valine 1.139mg 1.261mg Whitefish
Histidine 0.651mg 0.721mg Whitefish
Cholesterol 63mg 77mg Salmon
Saturated Fat 2.397g 1.162g Whitefish
Omega-3 - DHA 1.457g 1.206g Salmon
Omega-3 - EPA 0.69g 0.406g Salmon
Omega-3 - DPA 0.17g 0.209g Whitefish
Monounsaturated Fat 4.181g 2.559g Salmon
Polyunsaturated fat 4.553g 2.755g Salmon

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Salmon Whitefish
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
106%
Salmon
33%
Whitefish
Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score
44%
Salmon
41%
Whitefish

Comparison summary

Which food is lower in Sugar?
Whitefish
Whitefish is lower in Sugar (difference - 0g)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Whitefish
Whitefish is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 1.235g)
Which food is cheaper?
Whitefish
Whitefish is cheaper (difference - $13)
Which food is richer in minerals?
Whitefish
Whitefish is relatively richer in minerals
Which food contains less Sodium?
Salmon
Salmon contains less Sodium (difference - 4mg)
Which food is lower in Cholesterol?
Salmon
Salmon is lower in Cholesterol (difference - 14mg)
Which food is richer in vitamins?
Salmon
Salmon is relatively richer in vitamins
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. Salmon - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/175168/nutrients
  2. Whitefish - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/174246/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.