Is shrimp high in cholesterol? As the most popular shellfish in the world today, shrimp is a great source of protein, as well as a host of vitamins and minerals, including B12, selenium, choline, iodine and copper.
But in spite of its healthy nutrients, many people are concerned about shrimp cholesterol levels. In fact, it’s right up there with eggs as far as how concerned people are about the amount of cholesterol the food contains.
How much cholesterol is in shrimp?
According to the USDA, a 100 gram serving of shrimp contains about 189 mg of cholesterol. To give you an idea of just how many shrimp are in a 100 gram serving, you’re talking about about 10 medium shrimp or 5-6 large shrimp. So a regular lunch or dinner size portion will put you at 100 grams.
The government guidelines used to recommend a limit of 300 mg of dietary cholesterol each day for a healthy individual, and 200 mg per day if you have cholesterol issues, diabetes or heart disease. So basically, a shrimp dinner was about 63% of your recommended daily cholesterol intake. That’s about the same as one boiled egg for your reference.
But as of 2015 they have dropped the recommended daily limit. According to the latest guidelines, dietary cholesterol is no longer a nutrient of concern. So if the government has removed any limitation on cholesterol from the diet, why exactly are you worried about the amount of cholesterol in shrimp?
Also, it’s important to realize that recent studies have shown that dietary cholesterol has very little effect on your overall cholesterol levels anyway. Most of your body’s cholesterol, over 75% of it, is manufactured by your liver. As such only about 20% comes from your diet.
So you know what happens if you eat too many shrimp? Your liver will just make less cholesterol. So worrying about how much cholesterol is in shrimp should not be at the top of your list.
So shrimp is not bad for cholesterol?
As the science shows, although the food you eat can have an effect on your body’s cholesterol, that effect is minimal at best. Eating shrimp, lobster, eggs, fatty meats is not going to raise your LDL in any appreciable way. If you consume too much, your body will simply compensate by producing less, maintaining a healthy balance.
One of the main concerns that experts had about high cholesterol foods is that they often contain high saturated fat levels as well. Although that’s also been proven to not be as big a deal as they claim, shrimp are in fact low in saturated fat, another reason not to avoid them.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you should start having shrimp at every meal. As the saying goes, everything in moderation. Especially if you have a cholesterol problem, diabetes or other health condition that affects your cholesterol levels. You never want to overdo it, but there is no reason why you can’t have shrimp once or twice a week.
Also, if you are allergic to shellfish, you obviously don’t want to eat shrimp. But everyone else? There’s absolutely no reason to start limiting the crustacean you love so much.
The bottom line on shrimp and cholesterol
If you’ve learned two things from this article on shrimp cholesterol levels it should be this:
1) There is no longer a daily dietary cholesterol limit because the government has finally realized that dietary cholesterol has minimal effect on your total cholesterol levels.
2) Shrimp may have a higher concentration of cholesterol than some other foods, but again, eating foods with high cholesterol does not translate to higher total cholesterol in your body. That’s a myth.
Shrimp are low in saturated fat, high in protein and packed with important vitamins and minerals. Unless you are allergic or have been advised to avoid them due to a medical condition, by all means indulge yourself. And the next time you see someone avoiding shrimp, or eggs, or meat because they are high in cholesterol, you can snicker knowing that they are depriving themselves unnecessarily.