Here’ a question we got from Lillie, a Fooducate community member
Can you help me and your other readers understand how it is that shrimp have no fat, but lots of cholesterol? Why don’t they have fat, if they are a living animal?
What you need to know:
We’ll start with the second question. Shrimp actually does have fat, but a very small amount of it. A 3 oz serving has just 1 gram of fat, none of it saturated. Compare that to the same serving of salmon with 11 grams of fat, or beef with 15-25 grams for a comparable portion. But smaller fish such as sardines also have just 3 grams of fat.
Regarding cholesterol – a quick reminder – cholesterol is a waxy substance found only in animal organisms, not plants. It is a lipid, or a fat, in plain English. But it’s weight is measured in milligrams (a thousandth of a gram) compared to “regular fat” that we measure in grams.
Cholesterol levels in shrimp are high, about 150mg per 3oz serving, which is 50% of the daily max. (Math: 150mg of cholesterol is still just 15% of the 1 gram of fat in a serving of shrimp)
If you are worried about cholesterol, the good news is that the cholesterol in food, including shrimp, does not directly translate to high blood cholesterol. It’s saturated fat that raises our levels of blood cholesterol.
That’s not to say the cholesterol in food doesn’t have any effect on our metabolism, but for most healthy adults, the cholesterol in shrimp should not be of concern.
By the way, shrimp is an excellent source of protein, Omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, vitamin D and vitamin B12.