Is Shrimp Fattening? Nutrition Facts, Health Benefits, and Side Effects

Is Shrimp Fattening

Shrimps belong to the crustacean family. They are, without a doubt, very delicious. There are many questions lurking about shrimp. For example, is shrimp fattening? Is shrimp bad for your cholesterol? Is shrimp healthy for weight loss? And lastly, how many calories in 1 shrimp?

Being a seafood, shrimp are healthy and contain a considerable amount of minerals. Shrimp are low in saturated fat and are a good source of niacin, iron, phosphorus, and zinc. They are a very good source of protein, vitamin B12, and selenium. Let’s take a closer look at shrimp nutrition facts.

Is Shrimp Fattening? 

Well, honestly speaking, shrimp are not inherently fattening, but could make you gain a few kilos depending on the cooking method used and the frequency of consumption.

Shrimp Nutrition Facts


A serving of three ounces of shrimps cooked with mixed spices contains 84 calories, most of which comes from the protein content and some good fats. It contains 0.9 grams of fat with only 0.2 grams saturated fats.

When steamed, shrimp are quite low in calories and fat, whereas fried shrimp hike up the fat and calorie content. A standard three-ounce serving of fried and breaded shrimp contain 206 calories, which is 105 calories more than the same amount of steamed shrimps.

At the same time, a standard serving of fried shrimp contains 10.4 grams of fat, which is nine grams more than steamed shrimp.

Furthermore, you should also be mindful of the ingredients and sauces that you choose to eat your shrimps with. The dips used to go along with a plate of fried shrimps also add up to the calorie count.

For example, a humble serving of two tablespoons of tartar sauce adds about 63 additional calories to the fried shrimp. A side dish, like a plate of french fries, will also increase your calorie and fat intake by 491 and 24 grams respectively.

If we make a comparative analysis between shrimp and other food items such as chicken and pork, shrimp are less fattening. A three-ounce serving of shrimp will provide 85 calories, which is about 15 calories less than a three-ounce chicken breast.

So, is shrimp fattening? The answer is no. If you cook them in a healthy way and eat them in moderation, shrimp may not contribute to weight gain. Shrimp are considered as lean protein, and can form a good part of a low-calorie meal.

Does Shrimp Have Omega-3 Fatty Acids?

A favorable factor of shrimp that will convince you that they are healthy is their omega-3 fatty acid content. Yes, shrimp are high in omega-3 fatty acids. A four-ounce serving of shrimp provides 325 to 375 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids, which includes 50% EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and 50% DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). EPA and DHA are two important types of omega-3 fatty acids that are excellent for cardiovascular and nervous system health.

Omega-3 fatty acids are associated with many health benefits. They are crucial for maintaining normal metabolism, fighting inflammation, and improving overall health.

A study published in the International Journal of Cancer says that regular consumption of foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as seafood, may reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer.  Another interesting nutritional aspect of shrimp is their unusual omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. A good ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 has been linked to reduced risk of obesity, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.

Cholesterol Content in Shrimp

Yes, shrimp are high in cholesterol. But, the good news is that the cholesterol they contain is dietary cholesterol, which is only found in animals’ bodies. Shrimp are heart-health friendly, and some studies show that they reduce triglycerides and increase HDL cholesterol. They also increase LDL cholesterol marginally. So, we can safely say that shrimp have an overall positive impact on cholesterol in our body.

Inflammation is one of the major causes of heart disease. And fortunately, shrimp possess anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, limited consumption of shrimp may contribute to good heart health.

Dietary cholesterol is essential, and according to USDA and the American Heart Association, the recommended daily intake of dietary cholesterol shouldn’t be more than 300 milligrams.

A standard serving of three ounces of steamed shrimp contains 179 milligrams of cholesterol, which is more than half of the recommended daily limit of 300 milligrams of cholesterol per day. Therefore, you can have shrimps maybe once or twice a week, and include foods like sautéed vegetables or a green salad to go with it.

The Negative Side of Shrimp

After knowing the answer to, is shrimp fattening? and discussing its nutritional benefits, we must also know that there is a negative side to shrimp which you need to know. Some reports that say that farmed shrimp are detrimental to our health as they are administered various antibiotics. This leads to the presence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in these shrimp.

Furthermore, most shrimp are imported from Thailand or other Asian countries, and thus, it is very difficult to find the source of these shrimps. Some of these farmed shrimp are sprayed with chemicals such as organophosphates and rotenone, which are harmful to human health in various ways.

Some reports say that shrimp farming is destroying the ecological balance. A bulk of wild-caught fish are used to feed farmed shrimps. This, in turn, negatively affects fish populations.

The waste from these shrimp ponds further harms the environment. Also, most shrimp farms are overpopulated, and many coastal lands and mangroves are being destroyed because of this.

Shrimp are rich in protein and antioxidants, like selenium and astaxanthin, which provide shrimp with their characteristic pink color. Astaxanthin is known to have inflammation-reducing properties, while selenium can reduce the risk of cancer.

Compared to other seafood, shrimp contain lower levels of mercury, yet there may be some chance of contamination, even in the wild-caught variety. Whether or not shrimp is fattening depends on the quantity you consume, as well as the method of cooking. Also, when possible, make sure you opt for wild-caught shrimp instead of the farmed ones.



“Crustaceans, shrimp, mixed species, cooked, moist heat Nutrition Facts & Calories,” SELF NutritionData;, last accessed March 30, 2017.

“What’s New and Beneficial About Shrimp,” The World’s Healthiest Foods;, last accessed March 30, 2017.