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Halibut vs Cod - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Article author photo Christelle  Tchakerian by Christelle Tchakerian | Last updated on June 23, 2021
Education: Institute for Integrative Nutrition New York
Halibut
vs
Cod

Summary

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.

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 afterward (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 Cod is preferred over halibut in a low-fat diet.
DASH Cod has less sodium content compared to halibut and, therefore, may be preferred in a DASH diet.
Low Carb/ Low GI Both of these fishes lack starch, fiber, and sugars. They are great sources of lean protein in low-carb and low-GI diets.
Vegan/ Vegetarian/ Pescetarian Both fish are not permitted in vegetarian and vegan diets but permitted in a pescatarian diet.
Low Calorie Cod is favored over halibut in a low-calorie diet.

Flavor

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

Nutrition

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

Minerals

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.

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 Magnesium +23.1%
Contains more Phosphorus +23.8%
Contains more Potassium +54.1%
Contains less Sodium -32.5%
Contains more Zinc +12.5%
Equal in Copper - 0.028
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 1% 25% 19% 71% 24% 11% 11% 10%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 5% 15% 23% 87% 37% 8% 13% 10%
Contains more Iron +73.7%
Contains more Calcium +433.3%
Contains more Magnesium +23.1%
Contains more Phosphorus +23.8%
Contains more Potassium +54.1%
Contains less Sodium -32.5%
Contains more Zinc +12.5%
Equal in Copper - 0.028

Vitamins

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.

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 A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 3% 15% 822% 0% 15% 19% 29% 15% 97% 1% 126% 1%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 3% 13% 27% 4% 19% 15% 39% 9180% 57% 6% 114% 1%
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

In conclusion, cod is higher in its mineral score while being 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 is 24% higher in proteins compared to halibut.

Cod is particularly richer in the following essential 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 (low-density lipoprotein, also known as 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 showing 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). One hundred 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 and thus serve as a cardioprotective agent (11).

Vitamin D

Three hundred 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 six times more folate than halibut.

Folate deficiency may lead to anemia. Low folate levels have been associated with an increased risk of cancer (14).

Phosphorus

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

Anti-inflammatory Effects

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

Downsides and 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 have 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).

References

  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
Education: Institute for Integrative Nutrition New York
Last updated: June 23, 2021

Infographic

Halibut vs Cod infographic
Infographic link

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 Sodium ok
Lower in Cholesterol 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

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

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

Which food is preferable for your diet?

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

People also compare

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

Which food contains less Sodium?
Cod
Cod contains less Sodium (difference - 26mg)
Which food is lower in Cholesterol?
Cod
Cod is lower in Cholesterol (difference - 3mg)
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.

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.