Weight Loss Made Practical » Nutrition

Are Shrimp Good For Weight Loss Or Fattening?

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

There are many options when it comes to food for your weight loss diet. One of these are shrimp, are they good for weight loss or fattening?

Shrimp are sea creatures that are consumed all around the world. Seafood is often good for weight loss. Is this also the case for shrimp?

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.

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. 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?

You still need a final piece of the puzzle. The amount of calories in shrimp.

Cooked shrimp contains around 99 calories per 100 grams. Around 0 of these calories come from carbs.

This makes shrimp great for low carb diets like the keto diet.

The amount of calories in shrimp is on the low side compared to many other whole foods, certainly compared to many other protein sources. Another point is that a lot of these calories come from protein which is generally the most weight loss friendly macro.

If you choose regular boiled shrimp, without any sugary dips, they are a great addition to a weight loss diet for most people. They will help you feel fuller without adding that many calories to your diet. While at the same time providing you with valuable vitamins, minerals, and protein.

If you gain weight while eating shrimp the first place to look at is usually the shrimp recipes you are using, the rest of your diet, and other lifestyle habits.

Will shrimp help you lose weight

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 causse 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

Find 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’s usually a good sign.