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Halibut vs Cod - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Halibut
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Cod

INTRODUCTION

Cod belongs to the Gaddidae family (1) while halibut belongs to the Pleuronectidae family (2). Cod is known for its product cod liver oil which provides high doses of omega 3 fatty acids. The stocks of cod are decreasing mainly due to overfishing and no recovery afterwards (3). Halibut is more expensive than cod, the difference being 3.7$. This article will examine the differences between cod and halibut highlighting their nutritional composition and health benefits associated with each.

WEIGHT LOSS AND DIETS

Low-fat diet

Cod is preferred over halibut in a low-fat diet.

DASH diet

Cod has less sodium content compared to halibut and therefore may be preferred in a DASH diet.

Low carb, low GI diet

Both fish lack starches, fibers, and sugars. They are great sources of lean protein in low carb and low GI diets.

vegan/vegetarian diet

Both fish are not permitted in vegetarian and vegan diets but permitted in a pescatarian diet.

Low calorie diet

Cod is favored over halibut in a low-calorie diet.

FLAVOR

Cod is mildly flavored while halibut has a relatively stronger flavor.

NUTRITION COMPARISON

Check out the infographics to compare the nutritional composition of cod and halibut.

MINERAL COMPARISON

Halibut contains more iron than cod. Meanwhile, cod is richer in calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, and sodium compared to halibut.
Both fish have the same copper content.

VITAMIN COMPARISON

Halibut is richer in vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B2, and vitamin B6. Halibut is also 30.5 times richer in vitamin D than cod.

Cod contains vitamin C while halibut lacks it. Moreover, cod contains more vitamin B1, vitamin B3, and folate (vitamin B9). Cod is higher in vitamin B5 by 61100%.

Finally, both fish have equal vitamin B12 and vitamin K content.

In conclusion, cod is higher in its mineral score while lower in its vitamin score compared to halibut.

CALORIES

Halibut is 2.26 times higher in calories than cod.

CARBOHYDRATES

Both fish lack carbohydrates (including fibers and sugars).

PROTEINS

Cod 24% higher in proteins compared to halibut.

AMINO ACIDS

Cod is specifically richer in the following amino acids: tryptophan, threonine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, valine, and histidine.

FATS

300 grams of halibut contains 64% fat while 300 grams of cod contains only 3% fat. Cod is lower in saturated fats and cholesterol. Halibut is higher in polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats.

HEALTH BENEFITS

CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH

Halibut has almost 90 times the monounsaturated fat content and around 6 times the polyunsaturated fat content of cod. Monounsaturated fats are known to decrease LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and in turn reduce the risk of heart disease (4). Polyunsaturated fat also decreases bad cholesterol and thus protects from heart disease (5). A study has also shown that polyunsaturated fat consumption is correlated with a decrease in blood pressure in hypertensive patients (6).

CANCER

A study showed that cod liver oil, a product derived from cod, stopped the growth of a tumor in rats (7). Moreover, daily use of cod liver oil for a year lowered the risk of death in tumor patients (8). On the other hand, there are no studies that show a direct link between halibut consumption and cancer.

VITAMIN B5

The recommended amount of vitamin B5 intake for adults is 5 mg per day (9). 100 grams of cod provides 153mg of vitamin B5 which is around 600 times higher than that provided by halibut.

Studies show that vitamin B5 might have beneficial wound healing effects (10). Vitamin B5 might also have cholesterol lowering effects (11) and thus serve a cardioprotective.

VITAMIN D

300 grams of halibut contains 2944% more vitamin D than cod.

Sufficient vitamin D consumption lowers the risk of some cancer types (12). Vitamin D also has an essential hormone production regulation function (13).

FOLATE

Cod contains 6 times more folate than halibut. Folate deficiency may lead to anemia. Low folate levels have been associated with increased risk of cancer (14).

PHOSPHORUS

Cod is richer in phosphorus than halibut. Phosphorus may be beneficial in the treatment of osteoporosis (15).

FIGHTING INFLAMMATION

Halibut is richer in polyunsaturated fats compared to cod. Omega-3 fatty acids have potent anti-inflammatory effects (16).

HEALTH RISKS

MERCURY LEVELS

Cod and halibut contain mercury and may be neurotoxic if not consumed in moderate amounts (17, 18). Pregnant women should also be aware of the mercury content of the fish as it may harm the baby (19).

California halibut has elevated mercury levels while pacific halibut, Greenland turbot, and Atlantic halibut have moderate levels of mercury (20). Alaska, US and Canada Pacific cod have moderate amounts of mercury while Atlantic cod is low in mercury (20).

SUMMARY

In a nutshell, halibut is higher in Vitamin D, Vitamin B6, selenium, polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fat. On the other hand, cod is richer in vitamin B5 and phosphorus but lower in saturated fats.

SOURCES

  1. https://books.google.am/books?hl=en&lr=&id=F_z6GhN3lPcC&oi
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0044848604002777
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S235198941400050X
  4. https://www.proquest.com/openview/80c82b61688f4c63faa8f92b0bfd7ee6/1
  5. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2621.1987.tb14045.x
  6. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition
  7. https://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/27/1/95-0
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19444919/
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23193625/
  10. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/pantothenic-acid
  11. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/6365107/
  12. http://anaturalhealingcenter.com/documents/Thorne/articles/vitamin_d10-2.pdf
  13. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/80/6/1689S/4690513?login=true
  14. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01635589409514336
  15. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14708952/
  16. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11883-004-0087-5
  17. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/6237436
  18. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/233176690
  19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1281313/
  20. https://seafood.edf.org/halibut
Article author photo Christelle  Tchakerian
Profession: Institute for Integrative Nutrition New York
Last updated: June 23, 2021

Infographic

Halibut vs Cod infographic
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Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
:
6
Cod
Contains more Iron +73.7%
Contains more Calcium +433.3%
Contains more Potassium +54.1%
Contains more Magnesium +23.1%
Contains more Zinc +12.5%
Contains more Phosphorus +23.8%
Contains less Sodium -32.5%
Equal in Copper - 0.028
Iron Calcium Potassium Magnesium Copper Zinc Phosphorus Sodium 25% 1% 24% 19% 10% 11% 71% 11%
Iron Calcium Potassium Magnesium Copper Zinc Phosphorus Sodium 15% 5% 37% 23% 10% 13% 87% 8%
Contains more Iron +73.7%
Contains more Calcium +433.3%
Contains more Potassium +54.1%
Contains more Magnesium +23.1%
Contains more Zinc +12.5%
Contains more Phosphorus +23.8%
Contains less Sodium -32.5%
Equal in Copper - 0.028

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
:
5
Cod
Contains more Vitamin A +17.5%
Contains more Vitamin E +14.1%
Contains more Vitamin D +2944.4%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +23.1%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +71.4%
Contains more Vitamin C +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +26.7%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +37.5%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +61100%
Contains more Folate +600%
Equal in Vitamin B12 - 0.91
Equal in Vitamin K - 0.1
Vitamin C Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Vitamin B12 Vitamin K Folate 0% 3% 15% 822% 15% 19% 29% 15% 97% 126% 1% 1%
Vitamin C Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Vitamin B12 Vitamin K Folate 4% 3% 13% 27% 19% 15% 39% 9180% 57% 114% 1% 6%
Contains more Vitamin A +17.5%
Contains more Vitamin E +14.1%
Contains more Vitamin D +2944.4%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +23.1%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +71.4%
Contains more Vitamin C +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +26.7%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +37.5%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +61100%
Contains more Folate +600%
Equal in Vitamin B12 - 0.91
Equal in Vitamin K - 0.1

Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores

The summary score is calculated by summing up the daily values contained in 300 grams of the product. Obviously the more the food fulfills human daily needs, the more the summary score is.
Vitamin Summary Score
95
Halibut
790
Cod
Mineral Summary Score
21
Halibut
24
Cod

Macronutrients Comparison

Macronutrient comparison charts compare the amount of protein, total fats, and total carbohydrates in 300 grams of the food. The displayed values show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of food.
Protein
86%
Halibut
107%
Cod
Carbohydrates
0%
Halibut
0%
Cod
Fats
64%
Halibut
3%
Cod

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the most right column. It shows the amounts side by side, making it easier to realize the amount of difference.
Halibut Cod
Lower in Cholesterol ok
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in price ok
Lower in Sugar Equal
Lower in glycemic index Equal
Rich in minerals Equal
Rich in vitamins Equal

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Halibut Cod
Low Calories diet ok
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet Equal
Low glycemic index diet Equal

People also compare

Comparison summary

Which food is lower in Cholesterol?
Cod
Cod is lower in Cholesterol (difference - 3mg)
Which food contains less Sodium?
Cod
Cod contains less Sodium (difference - 26mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Cod
Cod is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 2.288g)
Which food is cheaper?
Cod
Cod is cheaper (difference - $3.7)
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)
Which food is richer in minerals?
?
It cannot be stated which food is richer in vitamins. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information.
Which food is richer in vitamins?
?
It cannot be stated which food is richer in vitamins. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information.

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Halibut Cod Opinion
Calories 186 82 Halibut
Protein 14.37 17.81 Cod
Fats 13.84 0.67 Halibut
Vitamin C 0 1 Cod
Carbs 0 0
Cholesterol 46 43 Cod
Vitamin D 1097 36 Halibut
Iron 0.66 0.38 Halibut
Calcium 3 16 Cod
Potassium 268 413 Cod
Magnesium 26 32 Cod
Sugar 0 0
Fiber 0 0
Copper 0.03 0.028 Halibut
Zinc 0.4 0.45 Cod
Starch
Phosphorus 164 203 Cod
Sodium 80 54 Cod
Vitamin A 47 40 Halibut
Vitamin E 0.73 0.64 Halibut
Vitamin D 27.4 0.9 Halibut
Vitamin B1 0.06 0.076 Cod
Vitamin B2 0.08 0.065 Halibut
Vitamin B3 1.5 2.063 Cod
Vitamin B5 0.25 153 Cod
Vitamin B6 0.42 0.245 Halibut
Vitamin B12 1 0.91 Halibut
Vitamin K 0.1 0.1
Folate 1 7 Cod
Trans Fat
Saturated Fat 2.419 0.131 Cod
Monounsaturated Fat 8.378 0.094 Halibut
Polyunsaturated fat 1.367 0.231 Halibut
Tryptophan 0.161 0.199 Cod
Threonine 0.63 0.781 Cod
Isoleucine 0.662 0.821 Cod
Leucine 1.168 1.447 Cod
Lysine 1.32 1.635 Cod
Methionine 0.425 0.527 Cod
Phenylalanine 0.561 0.695 Cod
Valine 0.74 0.917 Cod
Histidine 0.423 0.524 Cod
Fructose

References

The source of all the nutrient values on the page (excluding the main article the sources for which are presented separately if present) is the USDA's FoodCentral. The exact links to the foods presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Halibut - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171965/nutrients
  2. Cod - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171955/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.