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Does Crab Make You Gain Weight? An In-Depth Look At The Impact of Crab Meat on Our Weight

Does Crab Make You Gain Weight? An In-Depth Look At The Impact of Crab Meat on Our Weight

Crab meat is flat-out delicious. You can dip it in butter or vinegar right out of a steamed crab. You can make a crab cake and it enjoy it on a toasted roll. You can even get crab meat on nachos. (It’s pretty great!)

But, is crab meat good for us? More specifically, does crab make you gain weight?

Eating crab meat will not cause you to gain weight as long as you eat it in moderation. It’s low in calories, fats, and carbs. Crab meat is also rich in vitamins and minerals that can help to maintain your health.

Crab can make for incredibly delicious and filling meals, so there’s no wonder why the popularity and thus demand for crab is at an all-time high. To help you learn more about how crab meat makes for a great food option, let’s investigate crab meat in detail!

We cover the following items in this post:

Does Crab Make You Gain Weight?

A woman struggling to put her pants on. Does crab make you gain weight?

Crab meat is a very lean source of protein. It’s also low in fats, carbs, and total calories. So, crab meat should never be the reason you gain weight.

However, crab meat served with calorie-rich sides and/or as part of a calorie-rich meal may cause weight gain, if eaten consistently. We’ve provided some examples of higher-calorie crab meals below:

  • Cooking crab in a lot of oil or butter can result in weight gain since you are consuming all the extra calories from the other ingredients.
  • Crab meat is often dipped in warm butter, which is extremely high in fats and calories.
  • Crab cake sandwiches are often served with a brioche bun, likely with butter on it, as well as tartar sauce and the filler in the crab cakes.
  • Crab rangoon is a common appetizer that many restaurants sell, and often they come with a lot of cream cheese and the associated calories. But, who can turn down a delicious crab rangoon?

It’s most simple to compare crab meat to an extremely popular lean source of protein to show how low-calorie crab meat is. For this exercise, we chose chicken.

  • 3.5oz. of cooked king crab meat (or 100g) comes out to roughly 97 calories. (Winner!)
  • 3.5oz. of cooked chicken breast (or 100g) comes out to roughly 165 calories.

As you can see, crab meat alone will not be the reason for your weight gain. Often, it’s the other items on your plate that can tilt the scale in the wrong direction.

Is Crab Good for Weight Loss?

It can be! As we noted above, it’s an extremely lean source of protein that has fewer calories per 100g than chicken does.

However, as with all types of foods, excessively eating crabs can end up contributing to weight gain rather than weight loss. Especially if the crabs are served with calorie-rich additions to the meal.

We compared 3.5oz. of cooked crab meat (97 calories) to cooked chicken breast above to show how low in calories the crab meat is. Let’s compare it to a few other popular protein options.

  1. Strip steak. Strip steak is very lean compared to Ribeye, and 3.5oz. of strip steak comes out to 117 calories. Winner: Crab meat.
  2. Atlantic salmon. 3.5oz. of Atlantic salmon is roughly 208 calories. Winner: Crab meat.
  3. Shrimp. 3.5oz. of shrimp is roughly 99 calories. Winner: Crab meat.

Remember that weight loss has to do with a caloric deficit, plain and simple. So, even though crab meat is a great source of low-fat protein, it needs to be part of a broader plan to keep calories at a deficit so weight loss can begin.

The next time someone asks you, “Is crab meat good for weight loss?” You can tell them that it can be a healthy meal option, but weight loss has to do with a lot more than one meal – it’s more about lifestyle!

How About Crab Legs?

Cooked crab legs. Does crab make you gain weight?

Regarding the calories for crab legs, for every 3.5oz. of crab legs, you take in around 85 calories. Once again, pretty good compared to the competition above!

However, you must understand that crabs can come in various shapes, sizes, and nutritional values depending on the species. For example, snow crabs are fairly small at around six pounds, meaning their legs would be less fattening.

Alternatively, the red king crab, one of the largest in the world, is around 28 pounds in weight. As a result, consuming the legs of the red king crab will likely provide more calories than that of a smaller crab.

On the other hand, if you eat by weight rather than by the number of legs, it should not lead to drastic changes in your weight.

Are Crab Legs Healthy?

Yes! Crab legs are a great source of protein and they’re rich in specific vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for our health.

In general, crab meat provides similar nutrients to other common seafood options. However, crab meat has lower levels of mercury than some very popular types of seafood, inclusive of grouper, tuna, marlin, and swordfish.


Crab legs have plenty of natural vitamins that help to give your body the nutrients it needs in order to maintain good health.

In particular, crab leg meat provides vitamin B12, which has anti-inflammatory effects, can help to improve cognitive function, and can even help to improve the general health of your eyes.


Claw crab meat. Does crab make you gain weight?

On average, around 3.5oz. of crab legs can give approximately 20g of protein. Protein helps repair tissue and build the cell structure in your muscles and skin. In addition, eating crab legs can improve or maintain good bone density.

Elements and Minerals

Crab is very rich in elements such as iron, zinc, and selenium.

  • Iron is vital since it helps transport oxygen all over your body. It is also good for helping you to maintain your body’s immune system. 
  • Zinc is also an essential mineral that you need for many processes in your body, including wound healing and protein synthesis. Since zinc is not something your body naturally produces, crab legs are an excellent, tasty source of zinc.
  • As for selenium, consuming more foods rich in selenium can help protect your body against certain infections and act as an antioxidant. A lack of selenium in your diet can negatively affect your fertility levels and increase your risk of getting chronic diseases.

Crab meat is also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which provide many benefits related to heart health!

Final Thoughts: Does Crab Meat Make You Gain Weight?

The slightly sweet and salty taste of the crab meat may have you thinking that crab mat may make you gain weight. However, crab meat should not be the cause of your weight gain. It’s a very lean source of protein that is rich in nutrients and vitamins.

If you’re worried about gaining weight, but want to splurge with some crabs, try dipping your crab meat in more calorie-friendly sauces. I personally love dipping crab meat in white vinegar, and you basically burn more calories eating vinegar than you get from consuming it!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Will Seafood Make Me Gain Weight?

Seafood can include several types of meat, including clams, lobsters, salmon, tuna, oysters, and crabs.

Since there are so many different options, they each have different fat contents. As such, whether seafood makes you gain weight depends on the type of seafood.

Nonetheless, eating too much of any seafood, or any food in general, will make you gain weight.

What Happens When You Eat Too Much Crab?

“Too much crab” is an arbitrary statement as it depends on the person in question.

Although, crabs have high sodium content, and eating too much crab can cause you to consume higher levels of salt.

Excessive consumption of salt can increase your blood pressure levels and raise the chances of heart failure, stroke, and weight gain. However, you’d need to consume a lot of crab meat for it to be an issue.

Are Crab Legs Fattening?

Crab legs have low carbohydrates and fat content, which is great for weight loss even if you eat a more substantial amount of crab legs.

However, bear in mind that crab legs can differ in size depending on the type of crab, so a Japanese spider crab with a 12-foot length can be fattening if you consume all of it. Please send us pictures if you do!

Are Steamed Crabs Fattening?

No, they’re not. Steaming crabs is the most weight-friendly way to prepare them. They’re often steamed in Old Bay seasoning in the MidAtlantic region of the US, and Old Bay has 0 calories!

Can I Lose Weight Eating Crab?

Yes, you can. Crab meat is high in protein, low in calories, low in fats, and low in carbs. It can be a nice part of a calorie-deficit meal plan, while still providing great flavor!