Foodstruct Nutrition Search | Diet Analysis | Food Comparison | Glycemic Index Chart | Insulin Index Chart | Blog | Subscribe | Sign Up

Roe vs. Caviar — Health Impact and Nutrition Comparison

Compare
Article author photo Elen Khachatrian by Elen Khachatrian | Last updated on May 16, 2024
Medically reviewed by Astghik Baghinyan Article author photo Astghik Baghinyan
Roe
vs
Caviar

Summary

Caviar is a type of roe obtained from the sturgeon fish. Although all fish eggs are called "roe," not all "roe" are classified as caviar.

Caviar contains two times more fats than roe, although roe contains slightly more cholesterol. 

The predominant vitamin in both is vitamin B12, although caviar contains approximately 2 times more vitamin B12 than roe. Caviar also contains around 15 times more iron and 12 times more magnesium. Meanwhile, roe is richer in phosphorus and contains 13 times less sodium than caviar.

Introduction

Roe and caviar are pretty similar, but they also have specific differences. Today, we will discuss the main differences between roe and caviar's nutritional and health aspects.

What's the Actual Difference?

The term "caviar" refers to the salted roe obtained from sturgeon fish belonging to the Acipenseridae family, which are found in the Black and Caspian Seas.

Varieties and Use

Different types of sturgeon produce a variety of caviar, including Osetra, Beluga, Sevruga, and Siberian caviar, among others. Typically made entirely of sturgeon fish eggs, these eggs are cured and then placed in tins for aging and storage.   

Roe is the term for female fish eggs, which can come from various fish, including trout, whitefish, salmon, and even carp and shellfish. The size, texture, and color of fish eggs can vary.

When serving fish eggs, it is recommended to use a wooden spoon instead of a metal one, as metal can potentially add a metallic flavor that may interfere with the delicate taste of the eggs. Caviar is a luxury food and delicacy that is very expensive.

Many people enjoy roe with creme fraiche on top of blini, toast, or a cucumber slice. Fish eggs are also used as a garnish on many restaurant dishes and are a significant component in some sushi rolls.

Nutrition

In this section, we will be comparing the nutritional compositions of cooked, mixed-species roe with black and red, granular caviar

The serving size for both is about 1oz or 28.35 grams. To make the comparison easier, we will often refer to 100-gram servings of each. 

Macronutrients and Calories

As can be observed from the macronutrient composition charts below, caviar is slightly more nutrient-dense, consisting of 48% water, while roe contains 59% water. Caviar also contains slightly more fats and carbs. 

Macronutrient Comparison

Macronutrient breakdown side-by-side comparison
Roe
2
:
3
Caviar
Contains more Protein +16.3%
Contains more Water +23.4%
Contains more Fats +117.5%
Contains more Carbs +108.3%
Contains more Other +130.8%
29% 8% 2% 59% 3%
Protein: 28.62 g
Fats: 8.23 g
Carbs: 1.92 g
Water: 58.63 g
Other: 2.6 g
25% 18% 4% 48% 6%
Protein: 24.6 g
Fats: 17.9 g
Carbs: 4 g
Water: 47.5 g
Other: 6 g
Contains more Protein +16.3%
Contains more Water +23.4%
Contains more Fats +117.5%
Contains more Carbs +108.3%
Contains more Other +130.8%
   

Calories

Caviar contains slightly more calories than roe. Roe contains 204 calories per 100g, while caviar contains 264 calories per same serving.

However, a single serving of roe (28.35 grams) only contains 57.8 calories, while a single serving of caviar contains 74.8 calories.

Carbohydrates

Although both roe and caviar are low-carb foods, caviar has a relatively higher net carb content compared to roe, with 4g per 100g, while roe contains 1.92g per 100g.

Protein

Both caviar and roe are excellent sources of high-quality protein

Caviar provides 24.6g of protein per 100g, while roe contains 28.62g of protein per 100g.

Both caviar and roe rank among the top 13% of foods in terms of their protein content, making them significant sources of protein.

Fats

Caviar has two times higher fats compared to roe.

Caviar provides 17.9g of fat per 100g, while roe contains 8.23g of fat per 100g. In terms of fat content, caviar falls within the top 18% of foods as a source of fats.

Both foods are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and have no trans fats.

In terms of the fat type distribution, both have similar percentages of saturated and unsaturated fats. 

Fat Type Comparison

Fat type breakdown side-by-side comparison
Roe
1
:
2
Caviar
Contains less Saturated Fat -54%
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +117.5%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +117.5%
25% 29% 46%
Saturated Fat: 1.866 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 2.129 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 3.404 g
25% 29% 46%
Saturated Fat: 4.06 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 4.631 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 7.405 g
Contains less Saturated Fat -54%
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +117.5%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +117.5%

Cholesterol

Caviar and roe both have high levels of cholesterol, placing them in the top 5% of foods as a source of cholesterol.

Caviar contains 479mg of cholesterol per 100g, while roe contains 588mg of cholesterol per the same serving.

Vitamins

The predominant vitamin in both is vitamin B12. A single 28.35 gram serving of roe contains 3.26µg vitamin B12, while the same serving of caviar contains approximately 2 times more (5.67µg) vitamin B12.

The daily need for vitamin B12 is about 2.4µg, which means a single serving of both roe and caviar is more than enough to satisfy the daily need

Roe and caviar are also rich in various other vitamins. Roe contains more vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, and folate, while caviar contains more vitamin A, vitamin B5, and vitamin B6. 

The amount of vitamin B5 is 3 times higher in caviar than in roe. 

Additionally, roe contains vitamin C, which is lacking in caviar, while caviar contains vitamin E and vitamin D, which are lacking in roe.

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.
Roe
5
:
7
Caviar
Contains more Vitamin C +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +45.8%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +53.1%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +1726.7%
Contains more Folate +84%
Contains more Vitamin A +198.7%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +203.3%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +73%
Contains more Vitamin B12 +73.3%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 19% 0% 0% 55% 70% 219% 42% 70% 43% 69% 1443% 0%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 55% 38% 87% 0% 48% 144% 3% 210% 74% 38% 2500% 2%
Contains more Vitamin C +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +45.8%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +53.1%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +1726.7%
Contains more Folate +84%
Contains more Vitamin A +198.7%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +203.3%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +73%
Contains more Vitamin B12 +73.3%

Minerals

Although both roe and caviar contain various minerals, caviar seems to be richer in most. 

Caviar contains more iron, magnesium, calcium, and selenium. Specifically, caviar contains around 15 times more iron and 12 times more magnesium

Meanwhile, roe is richer in phosphorus and contains 13 times less sodium than caviar.

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.
Roe
5
:
5
Caviar
Contains more Phosphorus +44.7%
Contains more Potassium +56.4%
Contains less Sodium -92.2%
Contains more Zinc +34.7%
Contains more Copper +16.4%
Contains more Calcium +882.1%
Contains more Iron +1442.9%
Contains more Magnesium +1053.8%
Contains more Manganese +284.6%
Contains more Selenium +26.7%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 9% 29% 19% 221% 25% 16% 35% 43% 2% 282%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 83% 446% 215% 153% 16% 196% 26% 37% 7% 358%
Contains more Phosphorus +44.7%
Contains more Potassium +56.4%
Contains less Sodium -92.2%
Contains more Zinc +34.7%
Contains more Copper +16.4%
Contains more Calcium +882.1%
Contains more Iron +1442.9%
Contains more Magnesium +1053.8%
Contains more Manganese +284.6%
Contains more Selenium +26.7%

Glycemic Index

The glycemic index is a rating system used for foods containing carbohydrates. Since both roe and caviar contain only very few carbohydrates, they both are considered low glycemic index foods. 

Acidity

One way to understand the acidity of foods is through their potential renal acid load (PRAL) value, which shows how much acid or base the given food produces inside the organism. 

Based on our calculations, the PRAL values of roe and caviar are 26.1 and 10.1, respectively, which means both have acidifying effects on the body. 

Health Benefits

Both caviar and roe contain omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals essential for your body.

Cardiovascular Health

Section reviewed by cardiologist Astghik Grigoryan Article author photo Astghik Grigoryan

Both roe and caviar are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids, known for their cardiovascular benefits. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce inflammation and improve lipid profiles, which are important for preventing atherosclerosis (1).

However, there are some factors to consider:

Sodium Content: Caviar is often heavily salted as part of the preservation process, leading to a higher sodium content compared to roe. High sodium intake is associated with hypertension and increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Cholesterol Content: Both roe and caviar contain cholesterol, but the amounts may vary depending on the species of fish. Cholesterol plays a crucial role in the normal functioning of tissues, but excessive levels can lead to metabolic disorders and elevate cardiovascular risk.

Quality and Processing: The quality and processing methods of roe and caviar can vary widely, impacting their nutritional profiles. Additionally, additives or preservatives used in processing may have implications for heart health.

In summary, both roe and caviar can be part of a heart-healthy diet due to their omega-3 fatty acid content. However, individuals should be mindful of the sodium content, particularly in caviar, and aim for moderation. As with any dietary choice, it's essential to consider overall dietary patterns and health status when incorporating roe or caviar into your diet.

Joints Health

Studies on fish eggs have not been conducted on the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish eggs and other seafood. Researchers believe that omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and fish eggs may help to alleviate rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. Fish eggs containing omega-3 fatty acids may also be anti-inflammatory and inhibit the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines (2).

Brain and Mental Health

Since omega-3 fatty acids are used to build brain and nerve cells, fish eggs rich in omega-3 fatty acids are essential for learning and memory. It has been proposed that decreasing brain inflammation can slow the mental health decline seen in Alzheimer's disease (3).

Furthermore, Omega-3 fatty acids may be beneficial during the depressive phase of bipolar disorder. People who suffer from depression have lower omega-3 fatty acid levels, implying that a lack of this nutrient may be a risk factor for depression (4).

Boost Immune System

Fish eggs contain omega-3 fatty acids and selenium, which may benefit your immune system. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and restore the barrier function of your skin, intestines, and lungs, which helps to keep harmful bacteria at bay and keeps you healthy.

Caviar is high in iron, zinc, and magnesium, both of which have antioxidant properties and may help lower oxidative stress levels in the body, reduce inflammation, and boost immunity (5).

Eye Health

Omega-3 fatty acids may aid in preventing and treating a variety of eye diseases. Consuming omega-3 fatty acids, whether in foods or as a supplement, may help reduce macular degeneration and glaucoma. According to research, omega-3 fatty acids in fish eggs can help reduce your risk of developing dry eyes, and they may also help treat bothersome symptoms. Consuming omega-3 fatty acids, whether in foods or as a supplement, may help reduce macular degeneration and glaucoma.

Moreover, omega-3 fatty acids may also aid in the prevention of high eye pressure, which can lead to glaucoma (6).

Downsides and Risks

Allergy

Fish allergy is one of the most common food allergies, affecting one percent of the US population. A person who is allergic to fish may also be allergic to fish eggs.

When a person with a fish allergy is exposed to that fish, proteins in the fish bind to specific IgE antibodies produced by the person's immune system, activating the person's immune defenses and resulting in mild to severe reaction symptoms (7).

Adverse Effects

Fish eggs are high in cholesterol and sodium.

If you are watching your cholesterol or limiting your salt intake, you should consult with your doctor to see if you can eat them on occasion. Remember that fish eggs are high in purines, which can be problematic if you have gout.

Article author photo Elen Khachatrian
Education: Nutrition & Microbiology at YSU
Last updated: May 16, 2024
Medically reviewed by Astghik Baghinyan

Infographic

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

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Roe Caviar Opinion
Net carbs 1.92g 4g Caviar
Protein 28.62g 24.6g Roe
Fats 8.23g 17.9g Caviar
Carbs 1.92g 4g Caviar
Calories 204kcal 264kcal Caviar
Calcium 28mg 275mg Caviar
Iron 0.77mg 11.88mg Caviar
Magnesium 26mg 300mg Caviar
Phosphorus 515mg 356mg Roe
Potassium 283mg 181mg Roe
Sodium 117mg 1500mg Roe
Zinc 1.28mg 0.95mg Roe
Copper 0.128mg 0.11mg Roe
Manganese 0.013mg 0.05mg Caviar
Selenium 51.7µg 65.5µg Caviar
Vitamin A 303IU 905IU Caviar
Vitamin A RAE 91µg 271µg Caviar
Vitamin E 1.89mg Caviar
Vitamin D 117IU Caviar
Vitamin D 2.9µg Caviar
Vitamin C 16.4mg 0mg Roe
Vitamin B1 0.277mg 0.19mg Roe
Vitamin B2 0.949mg 0.62mg Roe
Vitamin B3 2.192mg 0.12mg Roe
Vitamin B5 1.154mg 3.5mg Caviar
Vitamin B6 0.185mg 0.32mg Caviar
Folate 92µg 50µg Roe
Vitamin B12 11.54µg 20µg Caviar
Vitamin K 0.6µg Caviar
Tryptophan 0.375mg 0.323mg Roe
Threonine 1.305mg 1.263mg Roe
Isoleucine 1.465mg 1.035mg Roe
Leucine 2.509mg 2.133mg Roe
Lysine 2.179mg 1.834mg Roe
Methionine 0.71mg 0.646mg Roe
Phenylalanine 1.401mg 1.071mg Roe
Valine 1.676mg 1.263mg Roe
Histidine 0.778mg 0.649mg Roe
Cholesterol 479mg 588mg Roe
Saturated Fat 1.866g 4.06g Roe
Omega-3 - DHA 1.747g 3.8g Caviar
Omega-3 - EPA 1.26g 2.741g Caviar
Omega-3 - DPA 0.105g 0.229g Caviar
Monounsaturated Fat 2.129g 4.631g Caviar
Polyunsaturated fat 3.404g 7.405g Caviar

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Roe Caviar
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low Calories diet ok
Low Glycemic Index diet ok

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
169%
Roe
266%
Caviar
Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score
68%
Roe
153%
Caviar

Comparison summary

Which food is lower in Sugar?
Roe
Roe is lower in Sugar (difference - 0g)
Which food contains less Sodium?
Roe
Roe contains less Sodium (difference - 1383mg)
Which food is lower in Cholesterol?
Roe
Roe is lower in Cholesterol (difference - 109mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Roe
Roe is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 2.194g)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Caviar
Caviar is lower in glycemic index (difference - 27)
Which food is cheaper?
?
The foods are relatively equal in price ($100)
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

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. Roe - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/174239/nutrients
  2. Caviar - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/174188/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.