Differences in nutrient composition and choice of side dishes between red meat and fish dinners in Norwegian adults

  • Jannicke Borch Myhre University of Oslo, Norway
  • Elin Bjørge Løken University of Oslo, Norway
  • Margareta Wandel University of Oslo, Norway
  • Lene Frost Andersen University of Oslo, Norway
Keywords: macronutrients, iron, vitamin D, vitamin C, β-carotene, folate, carrot, potato, bread, tomato sauce


Background: Food-based dietary guidelines often recommend increased consumption of fish and reduced intake of red and processed meat. However, little is known about how changing the main protein source from red meat to fish may influence the choice of side dishes.

Objective: To investigate whether side dish choices differed between red meat and fish dinners. Moreover, to compare intakes of macronutrients and selected micronutrients in red meat and fish dinners and to see whether whole-day intakes of these nutrients differed between days with red meat dinners and days with fish dinners.

Design: Data were collected in a cross-sectional nationwide Norwegian dietary survey using two non-consecutive telephone-administered 24-h recalls. The recalls were conducted approximately 4 weeks apart. In total, 2,277 dinners from 1,517 participants aged 18–70 were included in the analyses.

Results: Fish dinners were more likely to include potatoes and carrots than red meat dinners, whereas red meat dinners more often contained bread, tomato sauce, and cheese. Red meat dinners contained more energy and iron; had higher percentages of energy (E%) from fat, saturated fat, and monounsaturated fat; and a lower E% from protein and polyunsaturated fat than fish dinners. Fish dinners contained more vitamin D, β-carotene, and folate than red meat dinners. Similar differences were found when comparing whole-day intakes of the same nutrients on days with red meat versus fish dinners.

Conclusion: Fish dinners were accompanied by different side dishes than red meat dinners. With regard to nutrient content, fish dinners generally had a healthier profile than red meat dinners. However, iron intake was higher for red meat dinners. Information about associated foods will be useful both for developing public health guidelines and when studying associations between dietary factors and health outcomes.

Keywords: red meat; fish; dinner; side dish; macronutrients

(Published: 14 January 2016)

Citation: Food & Nutrition Research 2016, 60: 29555 - http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/fnr.v60.29555


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Author Biographies

Jannicke Borch Myhre, University of Oslo, Norway
Depratment of Nutrition
Elin Bjørge Løken, University of Oslo, Norway
Depratment of Nutrition
Margareta Wandel, University of Oslo, Norway
Depratment of Nutrition
Lene Frost Andersen, University of Oslo, Norway
Depratment of Nutrition
How to Cite
Myhre J. B., Løken E. B., Wandel M., & Andersen L. F. (2016). Differences in nutrient composition and choice of side dishes between red meat and fish dinners in Norwegian adults. Food & Nutrition Research, 60. https://doi.org/10.3402/fnr.v60.29555
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