Alaska Pollock and cod are from the same family and genus. They share some of the same waters and similarities. You may be choosing between the two for your next meal or are curious about their differences. Let’s answer the question, which is better Alaska pollock or cod?
Cod is better than Alaska Pollock due to its higher percentage of protein, minerals and lower cholesterol. Cod contains a higher number of thiamin, iron, niacin, folate, potassium, phosphorus, calcium and zinc. Cod is slightly sweeter and its flesh holds together better when cooked than Alaska Pollock.
This article will examine all the differences between Alaska pollock and cod including a side-by-side nutrient comparison. In addition, I’ll compare their tastes, textures, cooking methods, mercury levels and whether one can substitute for the other.
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Alaska Pollock and Cod Nutrient Comparison
The table below lists the nutrients for Alaska pollock and cod.
|Nutrient||Cod, raw (4 Ounces)||Alaska Pollock, raw (4 Ounces)|
|Fat||0.8 g||0.9 g|
|Saturated Fat||0.1 g||0.2 g|
|Cholesterol||49 mg||69 mg|
|Protein||23 g||19 g|
|Omega-3||0.22 g||0.28 g|
|B-6||0.2 mg||0.07 mg|
|B-12||1.0 mcg||1.8 mcg|
|Thiamin||0.08 mg||0.03 mg|
|Riboflavin||0.07 mg||0.09 mg|
|B5||0.1 mg||0.2 mg|
|Iron||0.4 mg||0.3 mg|
|Niacin||2.3 mg||1.3 mg|
|Folate||7.9 mcg||3.4 mcg|
|Potassium||468 mg||375 mg|
|Magnesium||36 mg||57 mg|
|Phosphorus||230 mg||215 mg|
|Calcium||18.1 mg||13.6 mg|
|Zinc||0.5 mg||0.4 mg|
|Selenium||37.5 mcg||21.9 mcg|
Both fish contain a wide variety of similar nutrients. Cod contains more of some nutrients while Alaska pollock contains more of others. Therefore, is Alaska Pollock healthier than cod?
Cod is healthier than Alaska Pollock due to its larger percentage of protein and minerals. Cod also contains less cholesterol and saturated fat. Cod provides a higher percentage of thiamin, iron, niacin, folate, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, zinc and selenium than Alaska Pollock.
Alaska Pollock is no slouch and contains a large number of nutrients as well. Alaska Pollock provides more omega-3 fatty acids, B6, B12, riboflavin, B5 and magnesium. How do these nutrients benefit health? The next section of this article explains how.
I wrote an article which compared Atlantic Pollock which has a different amount of nutrients. Check out that article, Atlantic Pollock vs Cod: Is One Better? Let’s Compare.
Alaska Pollock and Cod Health Benefits
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Alaska Pollock and cod provide a similar number of omega-3s. Why does omega-3 fatty acids matter so much? Omega-3 fatty acids are heart healthy and help keep arteries healthy. One way they accomplish this is by keeping bad cholesterol low and good cholesterol high.
Two of the fatty acids, DHA and EPA are associated with lowering blood pressure and improving the health of blood vessels 4.
In addition, they help keep the blood vessels healthy by reducing inflammation, plaque build-up, triglycerides and can help keep the heart rhythms more normal.
Studies suggest omega-3s can help reduce joint pain and stiffness in people with rheumatoid arthritis. They may also boost the effectiveness of anti-inflammatory drugs.
I recently wrote an article comparing black cod to cod. If you’re interested in how many omega-3s black cod contains or just want to learn about it, check out my article, Black Cod Vs Cod – Is There A Difference?
Alaska Pollock and cod contain many B vitamins. These include B6, B12, B5, B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin) and B9 (folate). B vitamins help support the following:
- Red blood cells
- Brain function
- Energy levels
- Nerve function
- Cardiovascular health
Alaska Pollock and cod provide magnesium 5. Adding magnesium to your diet could be instrumental in improving sleep related issues like insomnia. Magnesium relaxes and calms the whole body including the blood vessels 6.
More so, it helps keep blood pressure levels balanced and stable. A recent study researched 22 studies and concluded magnesium supplementation decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure 7.
Cod and Alaska Pollock contain good amounts of selenium. Studies 8 show selenium may help to protect the following:
- Immune system
- Heart disease
- Cognitive issues
- Thyroid health
Alaska Pollock and cod provide a good amount of calcium. Like magnesium, calcium is important for blood pressure and the heart.
Harvard Health reports calcium helps maintain blood pressure because it helps to control the relaxing and tightening of blood vessels 9.
Cod contains almost 500 mg of potassium while Alaska Pollock has 375 mg. Potassium is beneficial for reducing sodium intake. It helps the body reduce fluids and rids excess sodium 10. This process helps to reduce blood pressure.
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Alaska Pollock and Cod Mercury Levels
The FDA and the EPA have warnings and suggestions regarding mercury levels in fish and how often to consume them 11. This is especially important for pregnant women, breastfeeding or for young toddlers and infants.
They established a list of best choices, good choices and ones to avoid based on their mercury levels. Therefore does Alaska Pollock or cod have more mercury?
Alaska Pollock and cod contain similar mercury levels. They are listed on the FDA’s best choices in regards to mercury levels. The FDA recommends consuming Alaska pollock or cod no more than two servings a week.
Always check with a physician prior to eating new foods, changing your dietary habits and how often to consume certain fish.
Alaska Pollock vs Cod: Tastes and Textures
Alaska Pollock and Cod Tastes
The way a fish taste plays a huge decision when deciding between two fish to eat. Therefore, what’s the difference between the taste of Alaska Pollock and cod?
Alaska Pollock is more mild tasting than cod. Cod’s flavor is slightly stronger and little sweeter.
Alaska Pollock has a mild, non-fishy taste. Alaska Pollock is good for people who dislike a fishy taste.
Cod has a mild, non-fishy taste. It also has a mild to sweet flavor. Cod is good for people who want to avoid a fishy tasting seafood or strong taste.
The difference between the tastes of Alaska Pollock and cod are not large, and most people wouldn’t consider them to be much different. A side-by-side taste test may be necessary to pick out the difference.
Alaska Pollock and Cod Textures
What’s the difference between Atlantic Pollock and cod’s textures? Cod is firmer than Alaska pollock’s tender to firm texture. Cod’s firmer texture holds together better when grilling or searing. A cod fillet is thicker than Alaska Pollock and both have large flakes.
A properly cooked cod is flaky, firm and moist. The Pacific cods have more moisture to them than Atlantic cods. Cod fillets have large flakes and are thicker than many others.
Alaska Pollock is flaky and tender. Their fillets are a little thinner than cods and doesn’t hold together as well when cooked.
Alaska Pollock and Cod Substitutes
Sometimes you won’t have the exact fish for a recipe, or the seafood section of the supermarket doesn’t have what you need. Especially Alaska Pollock, which is more difficult to find than cod. Therefore, can you substitute cod for Alaska Pollock?
Cod can substitute for Alaska Pollock due to their similar mild tastes although the textures are sightly different. Substituting cod increases the methods of cooking including grilling due to cod’s firmer texture. They both can be fried, baked, broiled or poached.
Is Alaska Pollock a good substitute for cod?
Alaska Pollock can substitute for cod due to their similar mild tastes. Alaska Pollock can be used for many of the same cooking methods as cod like frying, poaching, broiling and baking. Alaska Pollock is more tender and will fall apart easier when cooking.
What is a good substitute for cod? Good substitutes for cod include:
- Striped bass
- Mahi mahi
What is a good substitute for Alaska Pollock? Good substitutions for Alaska Pollock include the following:
Tastes matters more than texture when substituting but you may choose a certain fish if a certain cooking method has to be used.
When substituting Alaska Pollock or cod always stick to the following:
- Same size and weight.
- Stick with similar fillets, whole fillet or cross section.
- Stick with skinless or skin when the recipe calls for one.
- Texture is more important for certain cooking methods. Like using a firmer texture when grilling 12.
Alaska Pollock vs Cod: Habitats, Size, Weight, Appearance
What is the difference between cod and Alaska Pollock?
Alaska Pollock and cod are both from the Gadidae family and are different species. Cod is a longer fish and weighs more than Alaska Pollock. Alaska Pollock is darker and has speckled spots. Cod is brownish with dark spots and a lateral line. They are both found in the North Pacific Ocean, but cod is also found in the Atlantic Ocean.
Pollock is sometimes used as scrod. If you’re interested in learning about scrod, check out my article about it, Scrod vs Cod: There’s More To The Story.
Another name for Alaska Pollock is walleye pollock 13.
Scientific Classifications, Families, Species
- Alaska Pollock is from the Gadidae family, Gadus genus and Gadus chalcogrammus species.
- Cod are from the Gadidae family, Gadus genus and species are morhua (Atlantic cod), macrocephalus (Pacific cod) and ogac (Greenland cod).
Alaska Pollock is found throughout the North Pacific Ocean. They are most common in the Bering Sea 14.
Atlantic cod is found in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean from Greenland to North Carolina and in the western Gulf of Maine. Pacific cod is found in the North Pacific Ocean from the Bering Sea to California in the east and to the Sea of Japan in the west 15.
- Alaska Pollock has dark speckled spots with a charcoal like coloring and slightly pale on the belly.
- Cod is brownish with dark spots with a cream lateral line running down the body.
- Alaska Pollock is the typical long, narrow body shape and has three dorsal fins.
- Cod is the typical long, narrow body shape and has three dorsal fins.
Size and Weight
- Alaska Pollock average 12-20″ in length and weighs 1-3 pounds.
- Cod grows an average 27-34″ in length and weighs 5-15 pounds.
- Alaska Pollock lives up to 12 years.
- Cod lives up to 12 years.
The Cost of Alaska Pollock and Cod
The cost of either Alaska Pollock or cod will differ depending on the location, fresh or frozen and whether it’s farm raised or wild caught. Which is more expensive, Alaska Pollock or cod?
Cod cost more than Alaska Pollock. The average cost for wild caught frozen cod is $7.21 per pound while the average cost for wild caught frozen Alaska Pollock is $4.77 per pound.
The cost will vary depending on location, whether it is farm-raised or wild-caught, fresh or frozen.
I checked Freshdirect online for the current prices of Atlantic Pollock and cod. I was only able to find cod.
- Fresh, wild caught cod
- $16.99 per pound
I checked the local Shopright supermarket, in store and online, and found the following prices for cod. I was unable to find Atlantic Pollock.
- Fresh wild caught Alaska cod fillet
- $8.99 per pound
- Fresh wild North Atlantic cod fillet
- $12.99 per pound
I checked Walmart and found some frozen fillets of each fish.
- Fresh, wild frozen Alaska Pollock
- $4.77 per pound
- Fresh, wild frozen cod
- $7.21 per pound
The availability of Alaska Pollock will be more difficult to find in your local supermarket. You’d have a better chance finding it in a local fish market or online.
Does Alaskan Pollock taste like cod? Alaskan Pollock tastes similar to cod but is more mild. Cod tastes a little sweeter.
Is Alaska Pollock fish good for you? Alaska Pollock is good for you due to its heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids, protein and is low in calories. Alaska Pollock provides a large percentage of magnesium, potassium and B vitamins.
Read Next – More Cod vs Fish Articles!
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- Nutrition Value: Fish, raw, Atlantic, cod
- Nutrition Value: Fish, raw, Alaska, pollock
- NutritionData: Fish, pollock, walleye, raw Nutrition Facts & Calories
- National Center for Biotechnology: Marine Omega-3 Supplementation and Cardiovascular Disease
- Nutrition Value: Cod, raw
- National Institutes of Health: Magnesium
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Effect of magnesium supplementation on blood pressure: a meta-analysis
- National Institutes of Health: Selenium
- Harvard Health: Key minerals to help control blood pressure
- American Heart Association: How Potassium Can Help Control High Blood Pressure
- FDA: Advice about Eating Fish
- Sea Grant North Carolina: Fish Flavors and Substitutions
- Alaska Department of Fish and Game: Walleye Pollock (Gadus chalcogrammus)
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- Wikipedia: Cod
- NOAA Fisheries: Atlantic Cod
- Mass.gov: Learn about Atlantic cod
- The University of Maine: Maine Seafood Guide – Cod
- NOAA Fisheries: Alaska Pollock