Is Crab Good For Weight Loss?

This post may contain affiliate links which means I may receive a commission for purchases made through links at no extra cost to you. See my disclosure policy for more information.

A cooked crab served with a savory sauce on a white plate, garnished with basil and chilies. (Is Crab Good For Weight Loss?)

Yes, crab meat is good for weight loss because it’s low in calories and high in protein. These two features are really helpful when you’re trying to slim down.

Eating foods that don’t have a lot of calories is key for a diet that aims for a calorie deficit, which you need for weight loss.

And, the high amount of protein in crab meat does a few good things for you: it keeps you feeling full longer, helps you keep your muscle while you lose fat, and even takes more energy for your body to digest (this is called the thermic effect of food).

All these benefits support your efforts to lose weight.

Follow me as I go over the benefits and downsides of eating crab, and also give you tips on how to fit crab meat into your diet for weight loss.

Nutritional Value Of Crab

As per the USDA, when you eat 3 oz of crab meat you get the following nutrients:

Serving Size: 3 oz (85 g)

  • Calories: 74

  • Carbohydrates: 0 g

  • Fat: 0.9 g

  • Protein: 15.4 g

  • Fiber: 0 g

  • Sodium: 249 mg

Potential Benefits Of Crab For Weight Loss

Crab meat has quite a lot of benefits for weight loss, let’s see which one they are:

High in Protein for Muscle Preservation

When it comes to weight loss, the basic principle of Calories In, Calories Out (CICO) suggests eating fewer calories than you burn.

But, losing weight isn’t just about shedding fat; you might lose muscle too, which isn’t good because muscle helps with keeping your metabolism up and supports long-term weight management.

That’s why eating plenty of protein is key. Protein helps with muscle repair and growth. If you’re eating less to lose weight, getting enough protein ensures you keep muscle while losing fat.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon talks about the importance of protein for muscle health and overall wellness.

She recommends a higher protein intake, about 1.6 grams per kilogram of body weight, especially for older adults or those trying to lose weight.

This approach helps make sure the weight you lose is mostly fat, not muscle.

Low in Calories

Crabs, being low in calories, fit well into a weight loss strategy because they contribute to creating a calorie deficit.

A calorie deficit happens when the calories you eat in a day are fewer than the calories your body uses for energy and daily functions.

This deficit is essential for weight loss because it signals your body to tap into its stored energy sources, primarily fat, to make up the difference.

When your body faces a calorie deficit, it starts to break down fat stored in adipose tissue—a kind of tissue specialized in storing fat—into fatty acids.

These fatty acids are then released into the bloodstream and used by various cells in your body as fuel.

This process is how weight loss occurs; by burning stored fat for energy, you reduce the overall fat mass in your body.

Eating foods like crabs, which are high in protein and nutrients but low in calories, allows you to feel full and satisfied without consuming a lot of calories.

This makes it easier to achieve and maintain a calorie deficit without feeling deprived or hungry.

High Thermic Effect

The thermic effect of food (TEF) is the energy our bodies use to digest food.

Protein makes your body work harder to break it down, burning more calories in the process compared to fats and carbs.

So when you eat crab meat, which is full of protein, your body uses more energy to digest it. This is because protein is harder for your body to break down than fats or sugars.

For someone trying to lose weight, eating more protein like crab can help because:

  1. You burn more calories: Since it takes more work to deal with protein, you end up using more calories to break it down.

  2. It helps your metabolism: Eating lots of protein can also give your metabolism a small boost. This means you burn more calories even when you’re not doing anything.

So, eating crab can be a good way to help you lose weight because it makes your body do more work and use more calories.

May Increase Satiety

Protein keeps you feeling full longer than carbs or fats, helping you eat less throughout the day.

It affects hormones related to hunger and fullness, like ghrelin (which makes you feel hungry) and GLP-1 (which makes you feel full).

Studies show that protein slows down how quickly your stomach empties, keeping you full longer, and increases GLP-1 release, telling your brain you’re satisfied.

Including high-protein foods like crab meat in your diet can help control hunger and prevent overeating, supporting your weight loss efforts.

Also Read: Is Spam Good For Weight Loss?

Downsides Of Crab For Weight Loss

Crab meat doesnt really have any major downsides but there are a few things you should keep in mind.

High in Sodium

Canned or pre-packaged crabs often have a lot of salt because of the preservatives used to keep them fresh longer.

Eating too much salt can make your body hold onto water, which might make you see temporary weight gain or ups and downs in your weight.

This can be frustrating if you’re trying to lose weight. Too much salt can also raise your blood pressure, which isn’t good for your heart.

If you’re trying to lose weight, watching how much salt you eat is important. Foods with a lot of salt can hide the fact that you’re actually losing fat because they make you hold onto water.

Also, if you get used to eating salty foods, healthier foods that have less salt might not taste as good to you, making it harder to stick to your diet.

Portion Control

Crab dishes can have more calories than you might think, especially if you eat them at restaurants or if they’re made with things like mayonnaise, butter, or creamy sauces.

For example, crab cakes or crab dips can add a lot of calories from fats and sugars, which could make you go over your daily calorie limit for losing weight.

When eating crab as part of a weight loss plan, it’s not just the crab itself you need to think about, but also how it’s cooked and what it’s served with.

Eating crab in simple ways, like steamed or boiled without rich sauces, can help you stay in a calorie deficit. But, it’s easy to eat too much if the crab is in a dish with lots of other ingredients.

Cost and Accessibility

Crab is often seen as a special treat and can be expensive, especially if you want fresh crab.

Depending on where you live, getting fresh crab might not be easy, and it can be costly if you want to eat it often as a main source of protein.

The cost can make it hard to keep up with a diet to lose weight.

If you pick crab as a main protein source but it’s not always easy to get or afford, it could mess up your eating plan and slow down your progress.

Finding protein sources that fit your budget and are easy to get is key to keeping a steady diet and losing weight successfully.

Also Read: 10 High Protein Meals For Weight Loss

Tips For Adding Crab To a Weight Loss Diet

If you are adding crab meat to your weight loss diet, keep these points in mind.

Be Careful with Extras

Adding crab to your meals can be great, but how you prepare it matters a lot for its healthiness.

Crab is often mixed with things that have a lot of calories, like mayonnaise in crab salads, butter in crab dips, or creamy sauces in pasta.

These extras can make a meal that’s usually low in calories and high in protein into one that’s high in calories and might slow down weight loss.

To keep crab healthy, flavor it with herbs and spices, add some lemon or lime for zest, and cook it in ways that don’t add a lot of calories, like baking, steaming, or grilling.

This way, you can still enjoy crab without overdoing the calories.

Watch Your Sodium

Crab meat has some sodium naturally, and crab that’s canned or processed usually has even more salt added to keep it fresh.

Eating too much sodium can make your body hold onto water, which can make it hard to see weight loss progress.

It can also increase your risk of high blood pressure. To keep your sodium intake down, go for fresh crab when you can.

If you’re buying canned or processed crab, look for options that say “no salt added” or “low sodium.”

Always check the nutrition labels to be sure you’re not getting too much sodium.

Read Labels Carefully

When you buy crab, paying attention to the labels is important.

Not all crab products are the same; some have extra things added, like breadcrumbs or sugar, that add calories and lower the protein quality.

Make sure crab is the main ingredient listed, with few other ingredients, to get a good, high-quality protein.

Also, watch out for “imitation crab,” which is usually made from fish and other stuff to taste like crab but doesn’t have the same nutritional value.

Watch Your Portions

Paying attention to how much you eat is key, especially with crab. Crab meat might be low in calories, but eating too much can still add up.

A good amount to aim for is about 3 ounces (85 grams) of cooked crab meat. This helps you get the health benefits of eating crab without too many calories.

Remember, crab is often sold whole, so the weight includes the shell. To keep your portions right, measure or weigh just the meat you’re going to eat.

Choose How You Cook It Carefully

How you cook crab can really change how many calories are in your meal. Steaming or boiling crab doesn’t add any extra calories, making these the best choices.

Cooking methods like sautéing or frying add extra calories because you have to use oil or butter.

Grilling or broiling are also good ways to cook crab that doesn’t add extra fat but still makes it tasty.

Use herbs, spices, and a bit of lemon or lime to make crab delicious without heavy sauces or dressings.

Plan Your Meals

Adding crab to your diet takes a bit of planning, especially because it can be pricier than other proteins. Look out for deals or buy in bulk and freeze what you don’t use right away. P

Planning helps make sure you have everything you need to cook crab in a healthy way.

If crab isn’t easy to find where you live, or if it’s too expensive, think about using other lean proteins instead.

Planning your meals and shopping ahead helps you stick to your weight loss plan and enjoy different healthy foods.

Balance Your Meal

A balanced meal that includes crab should contain vegetables, a source of carbohydrates, and perhaps a little healthy fat, aiming for a mix of nutrients to support overall health and weight loss.

Non-starchy vegetables like leafy greens, bell peppers, or broccoli provide fiber, vitamins, and minerals with very few calories, adding volume and nutrients to your meal.

Including a serving of whole grains or starchy vegetables (like quinoa, brown rice, and sweet potatoes) can offer sustained energy without spiking blood sugar levels.

Healthy fats, such as a drizzle of olive oil or a serving of avocado, can improve satiety and provide essential fatty acids.

This approach to meal planning ensures you get a variety of essential nutrients while keeping your calorie intake in check, which is essential for weight loss.

Also Read: Is Fairlife Nutrition Plan Good For Weight Loss?

Alternatives to Crab Meat For Weight Loss

Here are some alternatives you can use instead of crab meat in your weight loss diet.


Shrimp is a great choice for anyone looking to lose weight because it’s low in calories but high in protein.

You can cook shrimp in healthy ways like grilling, steaming, or sautéing with just a little oil.

Shrimp is also packed with omega-3 fatty acids and cooks quickly, making it a convenient option for fast, nutritious meals.

Also Read: Is Shrimp Good For Weight Loss?


Canned tuna in water is a good pick for a protein boost without a lot of calories or fat, perfect for weight loss.

It’s easy to use in quick meals or snacks, from salads to sandwiches. Tuna has lots of omega-3s but be mindful of mercury levels.

Opt for light tuna instead of white or albacore and eat it only a few times a week to keep mercury intake low.


Cod is a white fish that’s low in fat and calories but high in protein, which can help you feel full without overdoing it on calories.

It’s got a mild taste and a firm texture, making it flexible for lots of recipes. Cod fits well into a healthy diet that’s focused on losing weight.

Mahi Mahi

Mahi Mahi is a lean fish with a bit more flavor than other white fish. It’s low in bad fats and a good source of protein.

Cooking Mahi Mahi by grilling or baking it and adding herbs, spices, or lemon makes a tasty meal that’s still good for losing weight.

Imitation Crab

Imitation crab comes from surimi, a fish paste, and is designed to look and taste like crab.

It’s lower in fat and calories but has more carbs and less protein compared to real crab.

It’s cheaper, but make sure to check the labels for any added sugars or salt.

Imitation crab can be used in salads and sushi as a more affordable way to enjoy seafood flavors without the higher price tag of real crab.

Also Read: Why Low Fat Diets Dont Work For Weight Loss


Eating crab meat is a great choice for anyone trying to lose weight. It’s low in calories, and high in protein, and it even has omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for both weight loss and overall health.

Just remember to watch what you mix with your crab meat. Adding high-calorie sauces, like barbecue sauce or mayonnaise, can cancel out its low-calorie benefit.

And when you’re eating out, pay attention to the crab dishes you choose and what’s added to them, and you’ll be all set.


Can I eat crab for weight loss?

Yes, you can eat crab for weight loss as it is high in protein and low in calories.

Which seafood is good for weight loss?

Most seafood is good for weight loss, especially lean sources like cod, salmon, tuna, and shrimp, due to their high protein and low-calorie content.

Is crab a good diet?

Yes, crab can be part of a good diet for weight loss when prepared healthily and consumed in moderation.

Is crab and shrimp good for weight loss?

Yes, both crab and shrimp are suitable for weight loss due to their high protein content and low calories when cooked without high-calorie additives.

This post may contain affiliate links which means I may receive a commission for purchases made through links at no extra cost to you. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Rahul is a professional nutritionist certified by the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) and a personal trainer certified through the American Council of Exercise (ACE). He has a special interest in the science of nutrition and how it can impact the body.

Sharing is caring!