The Truth About The Pollotarian Diet

We've said it before and we'll say it again — we're so intrigued when someone labels themselves in accordance to what they eat. For example, a vegetarian, a vegan, or a chocoholic (perhaps not quite as official, but we can definitely identify). That is why we decided to look into the pollotarian diet. 

To start, what is a pollotarian? The word pollo is both the Spanish and Italian word for chicken. And according to Healthline, a pollotarian is someone who eats poultry but avoids pork and red meat. So the pollotarian diet could be an option for someone who would prefer to take small steps instead of a big leap to becoming a vegetarian. Or maybe it could be an adopted eating plan because of ethical reasons surrounding the health effects and environmental damage done by the red meat industry. 

But no matter what your reason is behind taking on the label pollotarian, here is what you should know first.

The pollotarian diet focuses on chicken and plant-based options

The pollotarian diet is not a diet asking its followers to track calories, log what they've eaten, or allow for cheat days. It is an eating plan that is more focused on eliminating red meat and pushing for chicken and plant-based meal options. Pinterest shares a few popular recipes for a pollotarian, such as chicken and broccoli stuffed crepes and a crispy lemon chicken romano. Being a pollotarian is often associated with or compared to being a pescatarian (a person who is vegetarian but will eat fish) or a flexitarian (a person who is vegetarian but will occasionally eat meat or fish). There is not much research done on the pollotarian diet's benefits, but as Healthline states, it is widely seen as a healthy and sustainable eating plan.

There is, however, plenty of research on the positive health effects of cutting out red meat from your diet. In a study done by Harvard Health, it was concluded that people who had diets high in red meat, especially processed meats, were more likely to have cardiovascular disease or cancer, and had a 13 percent increased risk of mortality.

There are major benefits to choosing chicken or vegetarian over red meat

Dr. Walter Willett, a senior scientist on the team and the chair of the departments of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, states the benefits of substituting red meat with chicken or vegetarian options by giving us the numbers. "If someone who has a 50 percent risk of dying in the next 25 years replaces one serving of red meat per day with chicken, the risk is decreased to about 42 percent, and to about 40 percent if nuts replace red meat," he explains.

The health benefits of cutting out red meat and following a pollotarian diet are looking mighty tempting right now. But there are a few drawbacks to consider. Healthline says that by eliminating red meat from your diet, you are at risk for possible nutrient deficiencies. Followers of the pollotarian diet may experience low levels of iron, zinc, vitamin B12, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids. This doesn't mean it is the case for everyone, but it is beneficial to be aware of so that you can get enough of these nutrients from pollotarian-approved food sources.