Are Shrimp Good For Weight Loss Or Fattening?

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This article has been Fact-Checked by Kendall Kennedy MS, RD, RYT

Seafood is often helpful when losing weight but there are exceptions. Find out whether shrimp is good for weight loss or fattening.

Regular boiled shrimp is reasonably low in calories, high in protein, and contains nice amounts of many vitamins and minerals that play a role in your metabolism and health.

In turn, you can say that boiled shrimp are good for weight loss.

Shrimp will likely make you feel fuller and consume less of other foods that could be more fattening.

Additionally, consuming enough protein is important for building and preserving muscle mass. In turn, this muscle mass helps you use up more energy throughout the day.

That being said, if you just add shrimp on top of your regular diet without changing anything else, you might gain a tiny amount of weight. You still have to make these other changes.

Something else to note is that shrimp recipes like fried shrimp and shrimp cocktails are typically not as good for weight loss.

Calories in shrimp

The total number of calories in foods like shrimp is definitely not the only important thing. You want to know from what sources these come too.

That being said, this detail can still offer some helpful information.

100 grams of cooked shrimp contain around 99 calories (1).

This is higher than most vegetables and fruits but still reasonably low compared to many other protein sources and foods.

Zero of the calories above come from carbs which makes shrimp great for keto and other low-carb diets too.

So while you still want to know how many of these calories in shrimp come from fats vs protein, this food option does look relatively good for now.

Micronutrients in shrimp

The first thing to look at is the amount of micronutrients in shrimp.

Micronutrients are a group of nutrients your body absolutely needs to survive and thrive. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals. These are involved in basically every aspect of your health, including weight loss.

100 grams of cooked shrimp provides you with approximately (1):

  • Selenium: 57% of the DV (Daily Value)
  • Vitamin B12: 25% of the DV
  • Iron: 17% of the DV
  • Phosphorus: 14% of the DV
  • Niacin: 13% of the DV
  • Zinc: 10% of the DV
  • Copper: 10% of the DV
  • Sodium: 9% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 8% of the DV
  • Vitamin E: 7% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 6% of the DV
  • Potassium: 5% of the DV

And a few other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts. Individually the amounts of vitamins and minerals may not be that big. That being said, shrimp contain a wide variety of vitamins and minerals in decent quantities.

Shrimp can be a great addition to a healthy diet in terms of vitamins and minerals.

Micronutrients in shrimp

Protein in shrimp for weight loss

Another thing in food that can help you on your weight loss journey is the amount of protein in it.

Cooked shrimp contains about 20.9 grams of protein per 100 grams (1). To compare, there are about 25.4 grams per 100 grams in salmon (2).

That’s a very great amount of protein per 100 grams.

Protein is considered to be the most filling of the 3 macronutrients. Hunger and cravings can be a big pitfall for people trying to lose weight, so avoiding this is a big plus.

Eating enough protein will also help you prevent muscle loss. Since muscle helps you burn extra calories throughout the day this is a big plus for protein and shrimp for weight loss.

Do keep in mind that overdoing it with protein isn’t good either.

Will shrimp help you lose weight?

So shrimp are reasonably low in calories, relatively high in protein, and offer you a variety of valuable vitamins and minerals.

Eating this food will likely make it so you consume smaller portions of other foods that are less helpful for losing weight.

Additionally, protein is not just an important nutrient for general health. It also helps you build and preserve muscle which increases how much energy you use throughout the day.

In turn, it is fair to say that shrimp are good for weight loss.

Even so, to make sure shrimp actually help you lose weight, you still need to make the changes above.

Just consuming more shrimp on top of your typical diet could even make you gain a tiny amount of weight.

That being said, these things apply to regular boiled shrimp. You want to keep in mind that certain other ways of eating them like fried or in shrimp cocktails is not that good for losing weight.

Will shrimp help you lose weight

Different ways to eat shrimp

Shrimp is of food that’s often consumed in ways that are not very beneficial for weight loss.

Some examples are deep-frying them, marinating them with sugary coating, and consuming them with dips high in sugar and other suboptimal substances.

If you want to lose weight the best way to eat your shrimp is just cooked.

Some people want to avoid shrimp

For most people, shrimp are a healthy addition to their diet. However, some groups of people might want to avoid eating them.

Some people are allergic to shrimp

A food allergy to shellfish, which includes shrimp, is one of the relatively common food allergies (3).

Usually people find out sooner rather than later that they have this kind of food allergy. That being said, if you feel any skin reactions, tingling in your mouth, digestive issues, or nasal congestion these might be caused by an allergic reaction (4).

Sometimes this allergic reaction to shrimp is even more intense and causes seizures, unconsciousness, and worse if not treated immediately.

Potentially people with high cholesterol

Shrimp are relatively high in cholesterol compared to other foods.

The relation between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol levels is not entirely clear. Findings suggest that only a part of the population is sensitive to dietary cholesterol (5, 6).

There are actually studies that found that eating more shrimp led to increased levels of “good” cholesterol (7).

That being said, if you have a history of high cholesterol you might want to limit the amount of shrimp anyway to play it safe.

How to spot a good shrimp weight loss recipe

Finding good shrimp weight loss recipes can be tricky at times. It’s easy to find recipes that claim they are “healthy” while they actually stand in the way of reaching your weight loss goals.

Here are some shrimp recipe aspects to look at:

  • What preparation method does the recipe use?

You want to avoid most, if not all, deep-fried ingredients.

  • Does the recipe use any sauces?

Some popular sauces for shrimp recipes include mayonnaise and cocktail sauce. Most sauces will add a lot of calories to your meal without filling you up at all.

  • Does the recipe combine shrimp with suboptimal ingredients?

Some shrimp recipes include foods like white pasta and white rice. You can lose weight while eating these ingredients but they usually don’t make it easier for you.

If the weight loss recipe combines the shrimp with a lot of vegetables that is usually a good sign.

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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.