Is Shrimp Good for Weight Loss?

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a white plate topped with shrimp

“Is shrimp good for weight loss?” Yes, shrimp is good for losing weight because it is low in calories and high in protein, all of which are weight loss-friendly.

As a nutritionist, I frequently advise my clients that fresh seafood like shrimp isn’t inherently bad for weight loss.

Instead, it’s the accompanying ingredients and the method of preparation that should be taken into consideration.

In this article, I’ll be doing a deep dive into the health benefits of shrimp, and weight loss, its benefits, downsides, and how you can add it to your weight loss diet without hindering your goals.

Nutritional Value of Shrimp

As per the USDA, a 3-ounce (85 gram) serving of cooked shrimp contains the following nutrients:

Serving Size: 3-ounce (85 g)

  • Calories: 84

  • Protein: 20.4 g

  • Carbs: 0.2 g

  • Sugar: 0 g

  • Fiber: 0 g

  • Fat: 0.2 g

Potential Benefits of Shrimp for Weight Loss

Eating shrimp offers several health benefits that support weight loss.

It is Low in Calories.

Low-calorie foods aid in weight loss by providing fewer calories than the body uses to digest and metabolize them, leading to a caloric deficit.

When you consume fewer calories than your body expends, your body turns to stored fat for energy, resulting in weight loss.

Shrimp provides a flavorful option that doesn’t weigh heavily on the caloric scale.

A typical serving of cooked shrimp contains fewer calories than many other meat counterparts, allowing for a more generous portion without dramatically impacting one’s daily caloric intake.

When combined with fresh veggies, this can create a filling meal that aligns well with weight loss goals.

It is Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish shrimp may help reduce inflammation, which plays a role in obesity and metabolic disease.

Additionally, these fatty acids can decrease the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that is associated with fat storage.

In a controlled study, participants who took fish oil supplements experienced a drop in cortisol, a stress hormone linked to fat storage, and lost an average of 1.1 pounds of fat.

It is Rich in Protein

The body’s appetite and weight are regulated by the brain, specifically an area called the hypothalamus. The brain processes various signals to determine when and how much to eat.

When you eat high-protein foods, it affects the levels of several hormones that play a role in hunger and satiety.

Protein increases the levels of hormones like GLP-1, peptide YY, and cholecystokinin, all of which promote feelings of fullness.

On the other hand, it decreases the levels of the hunger hormone, ghrelin.

This hormonal balance results in a reduced desire to eat, leading to a natural decrease in calorie intake thus supporting your weight loss efforts.

Also Read: Are Protein Bars Good for Weight Loss?

Downsides of Shrimp For Weight Loss

Cooking Method Matters

One of the most popular ways to enjoy shrimp is by frying it. Fried shrimp, especially those that are deep-fried, can significantly increase the calorie content of the dish.

The breading or batter often used in fried shrimp recipes absorbs the cooking oil, leading to a higher caloric intake than one might expect.

Consuming high-calorie meals regularly can hinder weight loss efforts.

Cooking methods can also influence nutrient retention in shrimp. Overcooking, for instance, may result in a reduction of certain vitamins and minerals.

Hence, while fried shrimp might be tasty, it might not offer the same nutritional value as other cooking methods.

Shellfish Allergy

Shellfish, including shrimp, is one of the most common food allergens.

Some individuals may experience symptoms ranging from mild hives or a stuffy nose to more severe reactions like anaphylaxis after consuming shrimp.

It’s worth noting that not everyone allergic to shellfish is allergic to all types of shellfish.

However, if one is aware of a shellfish allergy, it’s best to avoid shrimp and seek out other protein sources to support weight loss.

Saturated Fat

While shrimp is a low-calorie source of protein, it does have a relatively high level of cholesterol and saturated fats compared to other proteins.

Overconsumption of saturated fats can lead to increased LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream, which is a risk factor for heart disease.

That said, when consumed in moderation and as part of a balanced diet, the saturated fat in shrimp may not be a significant concern for many individuals.

However, those with certain health conditions or those monitoring their cholesterol might need to be more cautious.

Also Read: Are Pork Chops Good for Weight Loss?

Tips to Add Shrimps to a Weight Loss Diet

Let’s see how you can add shrimp to a balanced and healthy diet.

Grilled Over Fried

Grilling is a cooking method that requires little to no added fats, preserving the lean nature of shrimp.

This method helps in retaining the natural flavors of the grilled shrimp while avoiding the added calories from frying.

Grilling shrimp can also create a beautiful caramelization on the surface, enhancing its flavor.

Season simply with some herbs, garlic, or lemon, and you have a tasty, low-calorie treat.

Use Olive Oil for Cooking Shrimp

Olive oil is a source of monounsaturated fats, which have been shown to support heart health and can play a role in weight management.

When you need to use oil, choosing olive oil can add a touch of richness without the negatives of trans fats or saturated fats.

If you’re not grilling, consider sautéing your shrimp in a small amount of olive oil.

It provides a way to cook the shrimp quickly, retaining its juiciness, while also benefiting from the health properties of the oil.

Skip the Creamy Sauces

I understand that a creamy sauce can be delicious but it is often calorie-dense due to ingredients like cream, butter, and cheese.

Drenching raw shrimp in these sauces can quickly turn a low-calorie protein source into a calorie-heavy meal.

Instead of rich, creamy sauces, eat shrimp using tomato-based sauces, light broths, or even a squeeze of citrus to give your shrimp flavor.

Fresh herbs and spices can also elevate the taste without adding significant calories.

Choose Wild-Caught or Certified Organic Shrimp

Wild-caught and organic shrimps tend to be of higher quality, offering better taste and texture.

They are also less likely to be exposed to harmful antibiotics or growth hormones commonly used in farming.

Some studies suggest that wild-caught seafood, in general, can have a better nutritional profile compared to farmed varieties.

For example, they might contain higher levels of essential omega-3 fatty acids and fewer omega-6 fatty acids, providing a better ratio that is beneficial for heart health and inflammation reduction.

Monitor Portion Sizes

While shrimp is low in calories, it’s essential to remember that accompanying sides or additions to a shrimp dish can increase the meal’s overall caloric content.

Monitoring portion sizes ensures you get the protein and nutrients from shrimp without overindulging.

Eating a variety of foods is crucial for a balanced diet.

Even if shrimp is a healthy choice, diversifying protein sources ensures you get a range of essential nutrients.

Limiting portion sizes can also help leave room for other beneficial foods in your meal.

Also Read: Is Pasta Salad Good for Weight Loss?

Alternatives to Shrimp for Weight Loss


Prawns are larger than shrimp, but they belong to the same family.

They have a sweeter and meatier flavor than shrimp, and they are also low in calories and fat, but high in protein and iodine.

Prawns can be grilled, boiled, fried, or baked.

Lobster and crayfish

Lobster and crayfish are also crustaceans that have a similar appearance and texture to shrimp but with a more delicate and buttery flavor.

They are also low in calories and fat, but high in protein and selenium. Lobster and crayfish can be steamed, boiled, or roasted.

Vegan shrimp

Vegan shrimp are plant-based alternatives to shrimp that are made from ingredients such as soy protein, konjac powder, seaweed extract, or wheat gluten.

They have a similar shape and color to shrimp but with a different flavor and texture.

They are also low in calories and fat, but high in protein and fiber.

Vegan shrimp can be used in any recipe that calls for shrimp, such as stir-fries, curries, or sushi.


Tofu is a soy-based product that can be used as a substitute for shrimp in some dishes. It has a mild flavor and a firm texture that can absorb the seasonings and sauces of the dish.

It is also low in calories and fat, but high in protein and calcium.

Tofu can be marinated, fried, baked, or grilled.

Also Read: Is Chicken and Rice Good for Weight Loss?


Shrimp, with its high protein content and nutritional value, can indeed be a part of a healthy weight-loss diet when prepared and consumed mindfully.

Like any other food, the key lies in how it’s integrated into one’s diet.

By choosing healthy cooking methods and pairing shrimp with other nutritious foods, it’s possible to harness the health benefits of shrimp while actively losing weight.

Also Read: Is Polenta Good for Weight Loss?


Is shrimp okay to eat for weight loss?

Yes, shrimp is okay to eat for weight loss, as long as you eat it in moderation and prepare it in a healthy way.

Is chicken or shrimp better for weight loss?

Both chicken and shrimp are good sources of lean protein, which can help you lose weight by reducing your appetite and increasing your metabolic rate. However, chicken has more calories, fat, and cholesterol than shrimp, while shrimp has more sodium and iodine than chicken. Therefore, the best choice depends on your personal preference, dietary needs, and health goals.

How much shrimp should I eat to lose weight?

The amount of shrimp you should eat to lose weight depends on several factors, such as your age, gender, activity level, current weight, and weight loss goal. A general guideline is to eat about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. For example, if you weigh 70 kg (154 lbs), you should eat about 56 grams of protein per day. One 3-ounce serving of cooked shrimp has about 24 grams of protein, so you could eat about two servings of shrimp per day to meet your protein needs. However, this may vary depending on your other sources of protein and calories.

Is shrimp good for metabolism?

Yes, shrimp is good for metabolism because it contains iodine, a mineral that is essential for the proper functioning of your thyroid gland. Your thyroid gland regulates your metabolism and energy production. Iodine deficiency can cause hypothyroidism, a condition that slows down your metabolism and makes you gain weight.

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.

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