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Are Crab Legs High in Cholesterol? Everything You Need to Know About How Crab Legs Impact Cholesterol Levels and Your Heart

Are Crab Legs High in Cholesterol? Everything You Need to Know About How Crab Legs Impact Cholesterol Levels and Your Heart

High cholesterol is something that millions of people have to worry about when making decisions regarding whether they can eat certain foods or not. In fact, roughly 28 million adults across America have high cholesterol, and 7% of American children have high cholesterol, per the CDC.

So, when it comes to a delicacy like crab legs, you may be wondering: Are crab legs high in cholesterol?

Crab legs are not high in cholesterol. Although the crab meat has varying amounts of cholesterol based on the type of crab and serving size, crab leg meat is generally very low in saturated fats and trans fats.

Medical professionals often rely on saturated fats, trans fats, and added sugars to inform whether a dish is bad for cholesterol. With that information in mind, we argue that crab legs, and crab meat in general, aren’t bad for our cholesterol and overall health!

We cover the following items in this post:

An Overview of Crab Legs and Cholesterol

Cooked crab legs. Are crab legs high in cholesterol?

Let’s address the elephant in the room first. You need cholesterol as it assists in the building of cells and the production of certain hormones. Your body produces cholesterol naturally through your intestines, by leveraging your proteins, fats, and sugars. There is no way to avoid cholesterol, but there are ways to be smart about how much we have.

Now, onto crab legs and cholesterol!

One cooked king crab leg is roughly 134 grams or 4.7 ounces in size and comes out to nearly 130 calories. This same serving size of cooked king crab contains 71 mg of cholesterol.

But how much cholesterol should the average adult be consuming in a day?

Historically, medical professionals have recommended that:

  • The average adult consumes no more than 300 mg a day
  • Adults with a higher risk of heart disease consume no more than 200 mg a day

Based on the above, a single serving of king crab legs equates to about:

  • 24% of daily cholesterol limits for the average adult
  • 36% of daily cholesterol limits for an adult with a higher risk of heart disease

However, the presence of cholesterol in food is less important than the presence of added sugars, trans fats, and saturated fats. These have a more significant impact on your blood cholesterol levels.

Let’s take a look at the nutritional value of crab legs, as it pertains specifically to those three items above:

  • Added sugars: 0g per single serving
  • Trans fats: 0g per single serving
  • Saturated fats: 2g per single serving

The only item of even slight concern is saturated fats, and per the American Heart Association, a 2,000-calorie diet should have no more than 13g of saturated fats per day. So, unless you’re eating a ton of crab legs, which I do from time to time, you shouldn’t worry about the levels of cholesterol, trans fats, saturated fats, or even sugars.

Are Crab Legs High in Cholesterol?

A chalk board that says "cholesterol." Are crab legs high in cholesterol?

No, they’re not. As we noted above, a single serving of king crab legs equates to roughly 24% of the daily recommended cholesterol limit for healthy adults.

To make this point even clearer, let’s compare the cholesterol in a snow crab leg against some other forms of popular protein sources.

  • Crab legs: 71 mg per leg (4.7 ounces)
  • Eggs: 186 mg per large egg
  • Shrimp: 211 mg per 3.5 ounces
  • Ground beef: 90 mg per 3.5 ounces

Crab legs certainly aren’t the lowest in cholesterol, but they are not considered a high cholesterol food either. They are a pretty healthy snack overall, as long as you’re not adding too much to them in the form of seasoning and dipping sauces.

But, that’s the rub. Many people across the world love to dip crab legs in melted butter. I am one of those people.

A half a stick of butter comes out to roughly 215 mg of cholesterol. Not to mention the high levels of saturated fats found in butter.

So, when it comes to how you enjoy your crab legs, be sure to remember that the sauces, particularly butter, are of more concern for heart health than the crab meat itself.

Can Crab Legs Cause High Cholesterol?

Crab legs themselves can’t cause high cholesterol.

Your cholesterol levels really depend on two important factors:

  1. Lifestyle. Your diet and exercise regimen can lead to changes in your cholesterol levels.
  2. Genetics. Unfortunately, or fortunately for others, your cholesterol levels can be naturally higher or lower based on your genes.

If you are someone who keeps a relatively clean diet and a normal exercise routine, you’ll likely have lower chances of battling high cholesterol.

However, you may have genes that can make it difficult to remove low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol from your body.

So, no, crab legs won’t cause high cholesterol. But if you lead a sedentary lifestyle and enjoy crab legs with some warm butter quite often, they won’t help either!

Are Crab Legs Heart Healthy?

A woman holding a toy heart. Are crab legs high in cholesterol?

We argue that they are! They’re low in calories, carbs, and fats. They’re high in protein, iron, zinc, and vitamin B12. Crab legs are also high in omega-3 fatty acids.

Omega-3 is an important nutrient for the heart, and it may reduce blood clotting, decrease your risk of heart arrhythmia, and lower your triglycerides.

Whether you’re enjoying Dungeness crab legs, snow crab legs, Alaskan king crab legs, or blue crab legs, you’re eating heart-healthy meat!

How About Cholesterol in King Crab Legs?

As we noted above, king crab legs contain about 71 mg of cholesterol per serving. However, king crab legs lack trans fats and saturated fats, so they are not thought to be particularly bad for you overall.

Let’s take a look at the amount of cholesterol found in king crab legs versus other types of crab meat:

  • King crab meat: 71 mg of cholesterol per 134 g
  • Blue crab meat: 131 mg of cholesterol per 134g
  • Dungeness crab meat: 79 mg of cholesterol per 134 g

It seems safe to say that king crab legs are a safer choice when it comes to cholesterol levels in the various types of crab meat.

Are King Crab Legs Bad for Cholesterol?

Frozen king crab legs. Are crab legs high in cholesterol?

No, they’re not.

Although king crab legs have a decent bit of cholesterol per serving, they are not believed to be bad for your cholesterol or health overall. King crab contains some essential polyunsaturated fatty acids, which have a variety of health benefits.

Because they do not contain a lot of saturated fats or trans fats, you don’t need to be too cautious about eating king crab legs. However, if you have a history of high cholesterol, it may be best to stay away from king crab legs or ensure they are eaten in moderation.

Final Thoughts: Are Crab Legs High in Cholesterol?

Crab legs are not considered either particularly high or particularly low in cholesterol. Although their cholesterol levels aren’t considered extremely low, their lack of trans and saturated fats points to a lower risk of negatively impacting your overall cholesterol levels.

Crab meat won’t make you gain weight, it shouldn’t hurt your cholesterol, and it’s got a great flavor profile with the perfect combination of salty and sweet.

But be sure to speak with your doctor if you have a history of high cholesterol before making any changes to your diet.

If you have no concerns, go forth and prosper! Enjoy that delicious crab meat!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are Crab Cakes High in Cholesterol?

Crab cakes tend to be very high in cholesterol and may contain 137 mg per 100 grams. This is because they are made with mayonnaise, which is fatty. They also contain high levels of sodium.

Can I Eat Crab If I Have High Cholesterol?

You can eat crab if you have high cholesterol, but you should only eat it in moderation, and be careful about what ingredients you are pairing it with. Adding in melted butter, or other items high in trans fats, saturated fats, or added sugars can quickly make crab a less than ideal option for those with cholesterol issues.

Just be sure to discuss any changes to your diet with your doctor!

What Seafood Is Best for Lowering Cholesterol?

The below options are highly recommended:

  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Flounder
  • Haddock
  • Flounder
  • Herring
  • Cod

Crabs fall somewhere in the middle and should be eaten occasionally.

How About The Cholesterol in Snow Crab Legs?

To keep our measurements the same, we will work off of 134 g, or 4.7 ounces when looking at snow crab legs. As such, 134 g of snow crab legs equates to roughly 93 mg of cholesterol.

They’re a bit higher in cholesterol than king crab legs, but still low in trans and saturated fats.

Is Crab Good For High Cholesterol?

I wouldn’t say crab is good for high cholesterol, but it’s not bad either. Good options would be foods that not only are extremely low in cholesterol, but also low in trans fats, saturated fats, and added sugars.

Is Crab Bad For Blood Pressure?

Foods that have high doses of sugar, sodium (salt), trans fats, and saturated fats aren’t good options for high bloof pressure.

Even though we know crab is low in sugar and both fats, crabs are naturally high in sodium. It’s worth noting that WebMD doesn’t list crustaceans or crabs specifically as foods to avoid when dealing with high blood pressure.

We don’t know that that alone makes crabs bad for blood pressure, but we also don’t believe it’s good either. You should work with your doctor to understand whether you can eat crab meat with high blood pressure.