Are Mussels Good For Weight Loss Or Fattening?

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Seafood is often considered healthy but there are exceptions. Find out whether mussels are good for weight loss diets or fattening.

There are a variety of factors that influence whether certain routines and foods will help you lose weight or not. That being said, it is possible to make some general predictions.

Hunger and cravings are common reasons why people do not stick to a certain eating routine that helps them lose weight.

Mussels are relatively filling and contain a reasonable number of calories so they can be helpful for weight loss if you struggle in these areas.

Additionally, eating more filling foods can help you consume less of foods that are fattening without too much conscious effort.

At the same time, if you are currently on a routine that keeps you at the same weight and the only change you make is adding more mussels, you would gain a bit of weight.

In short, for most people, mussels will be good for weight loss. You do want to keep an eye on the other foods you eat and lifestyle habits you implement to actually see results.

Calories in mussels

While not all calories are equal for losing weight, the number of them in food does offer somewhat of an idea about how good they are for this goal.

100 grams of cooked mussels contains around 172 calories (1).

Compared to whole food categories like vegetables and fruits, this is definitely above average. When it comes to meats, 172 calories per 100 grams is on the average to lower side.

Next, mussels contain a lot fewer calories than many processed foods and whole foods that are higher in calories like nuts.

Interestingly enough, the nutrition data source mentions that 100 grams of mussels contain around 7.39 grams of carbohydrates. That means mussels may not be suited for low-carb diets like the ketogenic diet.

Are mussels high in protein?

Another important nutrient to look at when figuring out whether something like mussels is good for weight loss or fattening is the amount of protein in it.

Cooked mussels contain around 23.8 grams of protein per 100 grams (1).

While there are also foods and meats higher in protein, this is definitely a relatively high amount compared to most foods.

The first reason why protein tends to be helpful when losing weight is that it helps you feel fuller.

Hunger and cravings are two common reasons people do not stick to their weight loss food plan. Avoiding or at least reducing these can make things a lot easier.

Secondly, consuming enough protein is important for preserving and building muscle mass. How much you weigh plays a big role in how many calories you burn throughout the day.

By building or preserving healthy mass in the form of muscles, you will use up more energy throughout the day which is helpful for getting to a point where you start losing weight or speeding up your results.

Vitamins and minerals in mussels

Macronutrients like fat, carbohydrates, and protein are definitely important but there are also smaller nutrients like vitamins and minerals that deserve your attention.

These micronutrients often play a role in processes that can be beneficial for weight loss in one way or another. 100 grams of mussels contains some of the following vitamins and minerals (1):

  • Vitamin B12: 400% of the DV (Daily Value)
  • Manganese: 340% of the DV
  • Selenium: 128% of the DV
  • Iron: 37% of the DV
  • Phosphorus: 28% of the DV
  • Riboflavin: 25% of the DV
  • Vitamin C: 23% of the DV
  • Thiamin: 20% of the DV
  • Folate: 19% of the DV

And other vitamins and minerals in nice amounts. Mussels are relatively high in these micronutrients compared to many other foods.

Things like this will likely not make or break your weight loss journey but resolving a vitamin B12 insufficiency could benefit weight loss slightly since this nutrient plays a role in metabolism (2).

At the same time, mussels alone are likely not enough to hit all your important micronutrient goals either. That means you also want to eat other foods that contain nice amounts of vitamins and minerals.

Are mussels good on a weight loss diet?

With the nutrition details above, you get a better idea of whether mussels are good on a weight loss diet or fattening.

To lose weight you need to make it so there is less energy coming in from food than your body uses up. At this point, your body starts using energy stores like body fat to get the remaining energy needs.

Let’s say your current routine keeps you at the same weight, you keep everything else the exact same, and add mussels to your diet. In that case, adding mussels would make it so you gain a bit of weight.

That being said, because mussels are so filling, you will likely consume less of other foods. If these other foods got more energy into your body than mussels, eating more mussels will help with weight loss.

Additionally, if mussels help you build or preserve muscle, this is another calorie-burning factor to keep in mind.

There will also be cases where you replace foods that have similar effects with mussels. In these situations, your weight will not move much.

In short, whether you will actually lose weight or gain fat on a diet that includes mussels also depends on the other foods you eat and lifestyle habits you implement.

That being said, mussels tend to be good on a weight loss diet due to their high amounts of protein, vitamins, and minerals and their reasonable number of calories.

Can you eat too many mussels?

As briefly mentioned, you can eat too many mussels in the sense that certain amounts in combination with certain diets could be fattening.

Additionally, there are recommended upper limits for selenium which mussels contain in good amounts.

That being said, because mussels are relatively filling, your body will automatically control your portions to some extent.

You may still need to pay conscious attention to avoid eating too many mussels. At the same time, it is definitely harder to overeat mussels than cookies.

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.