Atlantic Pollock vs Cod – Is One Better? Let’s Compare


Atlantic Pollock is part of the same family as cod. They’re both popular making it sometimes difficult to choose between the two. Therefore, is cod fish better than Atlantic Pollock?

Atlantic Pollock is better than cod due to its higher percentage of heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins and minerals. Atlantic Pollock contains more B6, B12, B5, B2, B3, iron, magnesium and calcium. Atlantic Pollock is more flavorful due to its oily, healthy fat content. 

This article will examine all the differences between Atlantic 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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Atlantic Pollock and Cod Nutrient Comparison

The table below lists the nutrients for Atlantic pollock and cod.

Nutrient Cod, raw (4 Ounces) Atlantic Pollock, raw (4 Ounces)
Calories 93 104
Fat 0.8 g 1.1 g
Saturated Fat 0.1 g 0.2 g
Cholesterol 49 mg 81 mg
Protein 23 g 22 g
Omega-3 0.22 g 0.50 g
B-6 0.2 mg 0.3 mg
B-12 1.0 mcg 3.6 mcg
Thiamin 0.08 mg 0.05 mg
Riboflavin 0.07 mg 0.21 mg
B5 0.1 mg 0.4 mg
Iron 0.4 mg 0.5 mg
Niacin 2.3 mg 3.7 mg
Folate 7.9 mcg 3.4 mcg
Potassium 468 mg 403 mg
Magnesium 36 mg 75 mg
Phosphorus 230 mg 250 mg
Calcium 18.1 mg 68.0 mg
Zinc 0.5 mg 0.5 mg
Selenium 37.5 mcg 41.4 mcg

Nutrient Sources 1 2

Both fish contain a wide variety of similar nutrients. Cod contains more of some while pollock contains more of others. Therefore, is cod healthier than Atlantic Pollock?

Atlantic Pollock is healthier than cod due to its 120% more heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Atlantic Pollock contains more B vitamins and minerals than cod. Atlantic Pollock provides a higher percentage of B6, B12, riboflavin, B5, iron, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and selenium.

It’s surprising because most people would have guessed cod. For good reason due to cod’s high nutritional value also. Cod contains more thiamin, folate and potassium.

Consuming each fish is healthy and you can’t go wrong with the vitamins and minerals provided by both fish.

Seafood is renowned for being a part of many diets like keto or heart healthy.

If you’re eating low-carb or want to give keto a try, many of my clients have followed this 28-Day Keto Challenge with great success. Visit their website and check it out.

Atlantic Pollock and Cod Health Benefits

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Atlantic Pollock provides over double the number of omega-3 fatty acids than cod. 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 3.

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?

Magnesium

Atlantic Pollock provides double the magnesium than cod 4. Adding magnesium to your diet could be instrumental in improving sleep quality. More so, it helps keep blood pressure levels balanced and stable 5.

Magnesium relaxes and calms the whole body including the blood vessels. A recent study researched 22 studies and concluded magnesium supplementation decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure 6.

B Vitamins

Atlantic Pollock and cod contain many B vitamins, although pollock provides a higher percentage. These include B6, B12, B5, B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin) and B9 (folate). B vitamins help support the following:

  • Digestion
  • Red blood cells
  • Brain function
  • Energy levels
  • Nerve function
  • Cardiovascular health

Calcium

Atlantic Pollock provides over three times the amount of calcium than cod. Calcium, like magnesium 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 7.

Selenium

Cod and Atlantic Pollock contain good amounts of selenium. Studies 8 show selenium may help to protect the following:

  • Immune system
  • Heart disease
  • Cognitive issues
  • Thyroid health

Potassium

Cod contains almost 500 mg of potassium while Atlantic Pollock has 403 mg. Potassium is beneficial for reducing sodium intake. It helps the body reduce fluids and rids excess sodium 9. This process helps to reduce blood pressure.

Atlantic 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 10. 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 Atlantic Pollock or cod have more mercury?

Atlantic Pollock and cod contain similar mercury levels. They are listed on the FDA’s best choices in regards to mercury levels. The FDA recommends eating 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.

Atlantic Pollock vs Cod: Tastes and Textures

Atlantic Pollock and Cod Tastes

Let’s face it, a huge decision when deciding between two fish to eat, is their tastes. Therefore, what’s the difference between the taste of Atlantic Pollock and cod?

Atlantic Pollock is more flavorful than cod due to its oily, fat content. Cod and Atlantic Pollock are mild tasting and non-fishy. Cod is a little more sweeter tasting than Atlantic Pollock. 

Atlantic Pollock has a mild to strong, non-fishy taste. Its stronger flavor comes mainly from its oily, high fat content.

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 Atlantic 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.

Atlantic Pollock and Cod Textures

What’s the difference between Atlantic Pollock and cod’s textures? Cod is firmer than Atlantic pollock’s tender to firm texture. Cod’s firmer texture holds together better when grilling or searing. A cod fillet is thicker than Atlantic Pollock and has larger 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.

Atlantic Pollock has medium sized flakes and is tender but slightly firm. Their fillets are a little thinner than cods with smaller flakes.

Atlantic 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 Atlantic Pollock which is more difficult to find than cod. Therefore, can you substitute cod for Atlantic Pollock?

Cod can substitute for Atlantic Pollock due to their similar milder 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 Atlantic Pollock a good substitute for cod? 

Atlantic Pollock can substitute for cod due to their similar mild to sweet tastes. Atlantic Pollock can be used for many of the same cooking methods as cod like frying, poaching, broiling and baking.

What is a good substitute for cod? Good substitutes for cod include:

  • Pollock
  • Haddock
  • Halibut
  • Striped bass
  • Tilapia
  • Mahi mahi

What is a good substitute for Atlantic Pollock? Good substitutions for Atlantic Pollock include the following:

  • Halibut
  • Tilapia
  • Branzino
  • Cod
  • Rainbow trout
  • Butterfish
  • Hake

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 Atlantic 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 11.

The color of the flesh for cod and Atlantic Pollock are slightly different. Cod’s raw their flesh is a translucent white to pink color while Atlantic pollock’s is more of a creamier to tan color. Cooked cod turns to an opaque whitish color and pollock turns more whiter.

Atlantic Pollock in the ocean
Atlantic Pollock

The Cost of Atlantic Pollock and Cod

The cost of either Atlantic 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, Atlantic Pollock or cod?

Cod cost more than Atlantic Pollock. The average cost for wild caught cod is $14.99 per pound while the average cost for wild caught Atlantic Pollock is $9.86 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 Fulton Fish Market online and found the following prices:

  • Fresh, wild Atlantic Pollock
    • $9.72 per pound
  • Fresh, wild Atlantic cod
    • $19.50 per pound

I checked Reds Best online and found the following price for Atlantic Pollock:

  • Fresh, wild Atlantic pollock
    • $10.00 per pound

The availability of Atlantic Pollock will be more difficult to find in your local supermarket. You’d have a better chance finding it in a fish market or online.

To save some money on fresh seafood, would you believe some can be purchased on Amazon? Check out their current prices and selection, Fresh Seafood.

Atlantic Pollock vs Cod: Habitats, Size, Weight, Appearance

What are the differences between Atlantic Pollock and cod?

Atlantic Pollock and cod are both from the Gadidae family and are different species. Atlantic Pollock are longer and weigh more than cod. Atlantic Pollock’s color is brownish-green while cod its more brownish. Both fish are found in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean, but cod are also in the Pacific 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.

cod fish on ice
Regular cod

Scientific Classifications, Families, Species

  • Atlantic Pollock are from the Gadidae family, Pollachius genus and Pollachius Pollachius species 12.
  • Cod are from the Gadidae family, Gadus genus and species are morhua (Atlantic cod), macrocephalus (Pacific cod) and ogac (Greenland cod).

Habitats

Atlantic Pollock are found in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean. They are most commonly found swimming on the western Scotian Shelf and in the Gulf of Maine 13.

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 14.

Colors

  • Atlantic Pollock are brownish-green on the back and slightly pale on the belly. They have a lighter lateral line running down the body.
  • Cod is brownish with dark spots with a cream lateral line running down the body.

Appearance

  • Atlantic 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

  • Atlantic Pollock grows to 42″ in length and weighs up to 27 pounds.
  • Cod grows an average 27-34″ in length and weighs 5-15 pounds.

Age

  • Atlantic Pollock live up to 23 years.
  • Cod up to 12 years.

Species sources 15 16 17 18 19

FAQs

Why is Atlantic pollack fish so cheap? Atlantic Pollock is cheap compared to other fish due to its availability. The Gulf of Maine Atlantic Pollock population is above target levels and they are not over fished. Although in 2021 they are becoming more scarce and the price is increasing.

Is Atlantic pollack a heart healthy fish? Atlantic Pollock is a heart healthy fish due to its high percentage of omega-3 fatty acids. They contain 0.50 grams per four ounces raw. Omega-3 fatty acids increase the health of blood vessels by decreasing inflammation. They also keep bad cholesterol and triglycerides low.

Read Next – More Cod vs Fish Articles!

Haddock vs Cod: Is One Better? A Complete Comparison

Flounder vs Cod: Is One Better? Let’s Compare

Blue Cod Vs Cod – A Complete Comparison

Halibut vs Cod: The Differences In Detail

Cod vs Salmon: Is One Better?

 

Article Resources: Foods For Anti-Aging follows strict guidelines to ensure our content is the highest journalistic standard. It's our mission to provide the reader with accurate, honest and unbiased guidance. Our content relies on medical associations, research institutions, government agencies and study resources. Learn more by reading our editorial policy.
  1. Nutrition Value: Fish, raw, Atlantic, cod[]
  2. Nutrition Value: Fish, raw, Atlantic, pollock[]
  3. National Center for Biotechnology: Marine Omega-3 Supplementation and Cardiovascular Disease[]
  4. Nutrition Value: Cod, raw[]
  5. National Institutes of Health: Magnesium[]
  6. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Effect of magnesium supplementation on blood pressure: a meta-analysis[]
  7. Harvard Health: Key minerals to help control blood pressure[]
  8. National Institutes of Health: Selenium[]
  9. American Heart Association: How Potassium Can Help Control High Blood Pressure[]
  10. FDA: Advice about Eating Fish[]
  11. Sea Grant North Carolina: Fish Flavors and Substitutions[]
  12. Britannica: Pollock[]
  13. Wikipedia: Pollock[]
  14. Wikipedia: Cod[]
  15. NOAA Fisheries: Atlantic Cod[]
  16. Mass.gov: Learn about Atlantic cod[]
  17. The University of Maine: Maine Seafood Guide – Cod[]
  18. NOAA Fisheries: Atlantic Pollock[]
  19. The University of Maine: Maine Seafood guide – Pollock[]

Kevin Garce

Kevin Garce is a Certified Health Coach who encourages people by informing them on nutrition and food topics important to them. His years of research and knowledge inspire people to achieve their goals. Read more here About Me

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