The term ‘pollotarian diet’ might be recent and not entirely recognized, but the concept is age-old. It identifies people who, owing to a variety of reasons, choose to forgo meat except for poultry. When a person says they are following a pollotarian diet, they are referring to their choice of meat as limited to poultry meat such as chicken, turkey, or duck.
What is the Pollotarian Diet?
A person who is following a pollotarian diet mainly eats chicken and occasionally other forms of poultry. The term ‘pollotarian’ refers to the inclusion of chicken as the only meat included in this diet. However, most people recognizing themselves as pollotarians choose to expand to all white, poultry meats.
Apart from that, individuals following the pollotarian diet usually choose to eat eggs as well as all plant-based products. The focus is on avoiding red meat to reap the health benefits of a diet low in saturated fats, usually found in red meat and products derived from it.
People with more specific health concerns about red meat alone also choose to indulge in fish, opting for a pesce-pollotarian diet.
The pollotarian diet is closer to lifestyle choices such as veganism, vegetarianism, or the Mediterranean diet, rather than specific health goal-oriented diets such as intermittent fasting, Atkins diet, or the baby food diet. It focuses on making changes in food sources based on their nutritional value and benefits, rather than placing a restriction on the quantity or counting the calories.
The term ‘pollo’ originates in Italian as well as in Spanish, where it is pronounced as ‘poyo’. In both cases, the word refers to chicken.
Vegetarianism, Flexitarianism, & Pollotarian Diet
Some groups of the chicken-only bandwagon might identify themselves as pollo-vegetarians. The belief system identifies poultry and derived products as vegetarian food sources. However, traditional vegetarians and vegans who adapt to a well-defined lifestyle do not agree with this.
Others find it more well-balanced to include the pollotarian diet under the wider umbrella of flexitarianism. A more relaxed way of approaching dietary restrictions and choices, ‘flexitarian eating’ involves tending more towards plant-based food rather than animal-based, but not keeping it strictly limited to it. They also tend to shift towards healthy meat options, if any.
From a broader perspective, the pollotarian diet builds on this approach by opting for poultry-only white meat. While a majority of pollotarians opt for this out of health concerns, there might be a section which is concerned about environmental costs of red meat and animal cruelty. For some others, the pollotarian diet is also a transition phase from their meat-eating habits towards vegetarianism or veganism.
Benefits of Pollotarian Diet
The pollotarian diet comes with some impressive health benefits. These pros are two-fold; they come from cutting red meat out of your diet, while also increasing the share of plant-based food in your diet. The most notable benefits of a no-red-meat pollotarian diet include:
- Decreased risk of colorectal and other cancers
- Reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases
- Better diabetes management
- Reduced risk of obesity
- Improved mortality rate
Side Effects of Pollotarian Diet
On its face, the pollotarian diet might come across as a healthy alternative to fad diets, and even a stepping stone to vegetarianism or veganism. However, like all things good, it might prove harmful if taken to extremes.
If you are used to including meat as a part of every meal, you may lose variety with a poultry-only diet. This could lead to overdose or deficiency of nutrients, depending on the potential imbalance that could be created in your diet.
A lack of variety could also impact your palate, keeping your appetite far from satisfied. This could lead to a weakened resolve to follow this diet.
Should You Take Up the Pollotarian Diet?
Cutting red meat from your diet has a set of impressive benefits. However, any diet is best followed knowing the requirements of your body or consulting a nutrition expert. This is especially true if a diet is inspired by health-based reasons.
In case this is inspired by environmental concerns, or a step towards vegetarianism, consider laying emphasis on the share of plant-based food on your plate.
Either way, a well-balanced approach is the best way to get the most benefits of a pollotarian diet.