Sea bass and cod are two popular fish people love to cook with. They both have different tastes, nutritional values and textures. When deciding for your next meal, you may wonder, what is the difference between cod and sea bass?
Sea bass is sweeter than cod and has a meatier texture. Sea bass provides a higher percentage of omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins than cod. They are different species of fish while sea bass weighs more. Cod is found in saltwater.
This article will include a side-by-side comparison of all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients. In addition, I’ll examine their benefits, tastes, textures, mercury levels, costs and if one can substitute for the other.
As a Certified Health Coach, many of my clients ask me about seafood. In addition to coaching clients about sea bass and cod, I’ve purchased, researched and consumed both fish for over 20 years.
Sea Bass and Cod Nutrition Comparison
Below is a complete nutrient comparison per four ounces:
|Cod, raw (4 Oz)
|Sea bass, raw (4 Oz)
Both fish contain a wide variety of similar nutrients. One contains more of some vitamin or mineral, while the other contains more of another vitamin. Therefore, let’s take a close look at which one is healthier.
Sea bass is healthier than cod due to its higher percentage of heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins. It provides more B6, thiamin, riboflavin, B5, magnesium and selenium.
As everyone knows cod is no slouch and offers a wide variety of nutrients as well. Cod fish provides a higher percentage of vitamin B12, niacin, folate, potassium and calcium. Both fish contain similar amounts of zinc, phosphorus, iron, cholesterol and protein.
It’s difficult to argue against either fish but the main difference between the two fish is the number of omega-3 fatty acids. Sea bass provides over three times more.
Keep reading, and the next section explains why omega-3s are important.
Sea bass and Cod Health Benefits
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Sea bass provides 0.76 grams per four ounces raw. It contains over three times the amount which leads to the question, why does omega-3 fatty acids matter so much?
It’s because 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.
If you’re wondering how salmon compared in omega-3s check out my article, Salmon: Is One Better?
Of the seven B vitamins listed in the table above, sea bass contained a higher percentage of four of them. The B vitamins in the table 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
Both fish provide a good number. 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 4.
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 5.
Magnesium helps control muscle and nerve function, blood sugar and blood pressure. In the muscles and heart, magnesium competes with calcium to help the muscles relax after contracting.
When the body is low in magnesium, calcium can over stimulate the heart muscle’s cells causing a rapid or irregular heartbeat.
Both fish provide good amounts of selenium. Studies 6 show selenium may help to protect the following:
- Immune system
- Heart disease
- Cognitive issues
- Thyroid health
Both fish 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 7.
Potassium is beneficial for reducing sodium intake. It helps the body reduce fluids and rids excess sodium 8. This process helps to reduce blood pressure.
Tastes and Textures
One of the most important things people takes into consideration when choosing a fish or fishing is its taste. Let’s take a detailed look at their tastes.
See bass and cod have a mild to sweet taste but sea bass is sweeter. Cod tastes more buttery and is a little more tender than the meatier sea bass.
Sea bass is good to eat and has a mildly sweet flavor and taste. It is one of the most flavorful fish. For people who don’t prefer a fishy smell, flavor or taste, it is a good choice. The fleshy meat is medium-firm but flaky and oily.
Cod’s mild taste can be sweet at times and is good for people who don’t like a fishy taste or flavor. It’s texture is firm, flaky and moist if cooked properly. Pacific are moister than the Atlantic cod.
Both flesh is white fish. I conducted original research on taste by polling my health coaching clients, readers and members of food groups I belong to. I asked, sea bass vs cod, which one tastes better?
- 59% said they preferred sea bass.
- 41% said they preferred cod.
I conducted more taste research by setting up a blind test taste in my kitchen. Both fish were cooked and seasoned the same way. 75% of the four people chose the sea bass.
Another article you should check out is Cod Alternatives: The 12 Best Substitutes. Try other fish for variety or when it is unavailable.
Substitute Sea Bass or Cod
When preparing recipes for dinner it’s not always possible to locate the type of fish called for. If you have only one type of fish you may be wondering if you can substitute one for the other.
Sea bass can substitute for cod due to their similar mild to sweet tastes. Sea bass is a little more tender and may fall apart easier so it shouldn’t substitute for grilling. Sea bass can substitute for cod when baking, frying, poaching and broiling.
Other cod substitutes include the following:
- Striped bass
- Mahi mahi
The best substitute sea bass are:
- Striped bass
When substituting for fish try to 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 9.
Find out how Chilean sea bass compared in my article, Chilean Sea Bass – Is There A Difference?
Sea Bass vs Cod: Habitats, Size, Weight, Appearance
Let’s take a detailed look at the difference between the two fish.
Sea bass and cod are from different families and species. The average sea bass and cod are approximately the same length but sea bass weighs more. Cod is a saltwater fish while sea bass is mainly saltwater but some can live in fresh water too.
Sea Bass Species: Chilean sea, Black Sea
Sea bass is a common name for a number of various species 10. Some common bass sea include:
- European Seabass (European seabass is sometimes called branzino)
- Black Seabass
- White bass
- Chilean Seabass
Cod are from the Gadidae family, Gadus genus and the species include:
- Morhua (Atlantic)
- Macrocephalus (Pacific)
- Ogac (Greenland)
Both are considered white fish.
Sea bass can be found anywhere from the shores of Africa to the shores in the East Atlantic Ocean. They can also be found in lagoons, estuaries and rivers 11.
Some bass, like striped bass, can live in both fresh and saltwater environments.
Atlantic cod is found in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean from Greenland to North Carolina and in the western Gulf of Maine. Pacific 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 12.
- White Sea bass is blue to grey with a silver belly.
- Black Sea bass is a dusky black.
Cod is brownish with dark spots with a cream lateral line running down the body.
- White Sea bass is long and narrow.
Cod is the typical long, narrow body shape and has three dorsal fins.
Size and Weight
- The average White Sea bass is 36 inches long and 20 pounds
Cod grows an average 27-34″ in length and weighs 5-15 pounds.
- Black Sea bass up to 12 years.
- White Sea bass up to 20 years.
Cod lives up to 12 years.
Find out what fish are good substitutes in my article, Sea Bass Substitutes: 10 Healthy Alternatives.
Sea bass and Cod Fish Cost
The costs for some fish will vary depending on how the fish are caught while fishing. A fish caught in the ocean will definitely be more expensive than farm-raised.
When purchasing fish, be sure to check the label to see if it is wild-caught or farm raised. Therefore, let’s examine the costs of each fish.
Sea bass is more expensive than cod. The average cost for sea bass is $22.49 per pound while the average cost for cod is $14.74 per pound. The cost will vary depending on location, whether it is farm-raised or wild-caught, fresh or frozen.
I conducted original research on costs by checking stores for they prices.
I checked the local Freshdirect online supermarket for the current prices of each.
- Fresh, frozen, wild Atlantic cod
- $12.49 per pound
- Fresh, wild caught Atlantic cod
- $16.99 per pound
- Wild Black Sea bass fillet
- $24.99 per pound
- Farm-raised branzino fillet
- $19.99 per pound
- Wild Chilean sea bass fillet
- $34.99 per pound
I removed the Chilean sea bass from the above average cost because it is much more expensive than the others. Although Chilean sea bass is really not sea bass anyway.
The EPA and FDA have issued warnings and suggestions regarding mercury levels in fish and how often they should be consumed 15. This is especially important for young infants, developing children and pregnant women.
They established a list of best fish, good choices and ones to avoid based on their mercury levels. Therefore, let’s examine the mercury levels.
Black Sea bass and cod have similar levels of mercury. Striped ocean bass contain more mercury than cod. Black Sea bass and cod are listed on the FDA’s best choices of fish to consume regarding their mercury levels. Striped bass is listed as a good choice which should be limited more often.
Always check with a physician prior to eating new fish, foods or changing your dietary habits.
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Read Next – More Cod Fish vs Fish Articles!
- Nutrition Value: Fish, raw, mixed species, sea bass
- Nutrition Value: Fish, raw, Atlantic, cod
- National Center for Biotechnology: Marine Omega-3 Supplementation and Cardiovascular Disease
- 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
- Sea Grant North Carolina: Fish Flavors and Substitutions
- Wikipedia: Sea bass
- Britannica: Sea bass
- Wikipedia: Cod
- NOAA Fisheries: Atlantic Cod
- NOAA Fisheries: Black Sea Bass
- FDA: Advice about Eating Fish