If you’re wondering whether or not shrimp are allowed on the Keto diet then you’re in luck! The short answer is, yes, shrimp is a great addition to any Keto diet. The following article will explore why shrimp works so well with Keto and ways in which you can incorporate this tasty seafood into your daily Keto meal plan.
Overview of the Keto diet
Before you can understand why shrimp is a great addition to the Keto diet, you have to first have a basic understanding of what Keto is, what its main purpose is and how it works.
The majority of people use Keto as a way to lose weight and improve their energy levels. The Keto diet can help you stabilize your blood sugar levels and prevent the spikes and crashes in energy that comes with a higher carb diet. Doctors had been using versions of the Keto diet for years before celebrities made it popular in order to help patients with diabetes manage and treat their disease. Keto is also great for reducing brain fog and increasing mental clarity.
Keto, short for ketogenic, is at its heart an ultra-low-carb diet. When you follow the Keto diet you aim to have 20g of net carbs daily if you’re male and 25g of net carbs daily if you’re female. Net carbs are the carbs that can be converted into glucose by your body which means that fibre and sugar alcohols aren’t counted in your net carb count because they pass through your body undigested. So if you see the total carbs listed on the back of a nutrition package and you subtract any fibre and net carbs from it in order to get the net carb count. For example, if your food item has 12g of total carbs, no sugar alcohols and 1g of fibre then your net carbs for that food would be 11g.
Instead of carbs, the Keto diet focuses on healthy fats and a moderate amount of protein. Roughly 80-85% of your calories on Keto should come from fat with 20-25% of them coming from protein sources and only 5=10% coming from carbs. This means that you’re going to be eating a lot of lean meats, nuts, seeds, non-starchy vegetables and seafood while on the Keto diet.
Why does Keto limit carbs?
Carbs are limited on Keto in order to switch your body from using glucose as fuel to using ketones. When you eat carbs you’re providing your body with what it needs to create glucose. Glucose is your body’s primary energy source and it’s fast to create and quick to burn away. If you’ve ever had a high carb meal you’re probably familiar with the spike in energy you feel shortly after eating the meal and the crash that follows a few hours later.
Because your body burns through glucose so quickly it sends hunger signals to your brain every few hours in order to prompt you into eating more food. This can be devastating to a diet. If you don’t give in to the hunger cravings you’re stressed and miserable and you don’t have the energy you need. If you do give in to the cravings you’re not going to lose any weight because you keep putting calories in your body. In addition, any carbs that your body doesn’t need immediately are stored in your body as fat to be used at a later date, but that day never comes so you keep accumulating fat while your body keeps asking you for more food.
Keto seeks to change this by helping you trick your body into releasing the stored body fat so that it can be turned into ketones. Ketones are created in your liver from your fat and they make a much more consistent and stable form of energy for your body to function off of. They’re slow to create, but they’re also slow to burn through so you feel energized for a lot longer. Because fat is readily available you find yourself hungry less often which allows you to lose weight a lot easier.
Is shrimp Keto?
Shrimp is a great addition to your Keto meal plan. It’s low in carbs, has a moderate amount of protein and it’s full of healthy fats. The average 3oz serving of shrimp has less than 100 calories so which makes it a great source of nutrition for anyone looking to lose weight because you get a healthy source of nutrients with very little calories.
It can be difficult to find a protein source on Keto that is both low in calories and high in healthy fats but shrimp manages to do just that. There’s only 0.3g of net carbs in a 3oz serving of shrimp which means it’ll barely make a dent in your 20-25g net carb limit. The fats that are in shrimp are healthy; however, there isn’t much fat there so it’s a good idea to pair your shrimp meal with a handful of nuts or seeds in order to boost your meal’s fat content.
Keto and Seafood
Seafood in general is great on the Keto diet. Fish contains high levels of Omega 3’s and healthy fats. It’s a very lean source of protein and there are lots of essential nutrients that can be found in seafood. Fish is a great source of selenium, potassium and vitamin B while remaining very low in carbs. Seafood can help lower your risk of heart disease and increase your overall sense of wellbeing and mental health. Seafood is also, generally, very low in calories which makes it a great addition to any diet.
Benefits of shrimp for your Keto diet
Shrimp is a great source of nutrients and vitamins that can be difficult to get in other places while on the Keto diet. In a 3oz serving of shrimp, you can get a whopping 18g of protein and almost half of your daily recommended amount of selenium for improved mental clarity and a better immune system. There’s also almost a quarter of your daily recommended vitamin B12 which is important for regulating your mood. Shrimp contains a generous helping of iron, phosphorus, niacin, zinc and magnesium which are all vital nutrients for your body.
Doesn’t shrimp have high cholesterol levels?
Shrimp has some of the highest levels of cholesterol of any seafood; however, high cholesterol doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to raise your cholesterol levels. The majority of people aren’t affected by dietary cholesterol. The cholesterol that’s found in your blood isn’t put there from the food you eat, it’s actually created inside your body in your liver. Eating dietary cholesterol sends a signal to your liver which tells it to slow down its cholesterol production which might actually help lower your body’s cholesterol levels.
Studies have shown that people who eat shrimp actually have lower triglyceride levels than those people that don’t eat it regularly. There have also been studies that show that regular consumption of shrimp might lead to a lowered risk of developing heart disease. Shrimp is high in levels of heart-healthy Omega-3 and an antioxidant known as astaxanthin which helps contribute to increased health overall.
Ways of incorporating shrimp into your Keto diet
If you’re new to seafood and you’re looking for a Keto-friendly way to incorporate this low-calorie nutrient-dense food into your meals then the following meals are a great place to start.
- Lemon Garlic Shrimp: garlic and shrimp are featured together in a lot of recipes and when you toss lemon into the mix you have a flavor combination that will make your taste buds tingle.
- Garlic Shrimp Zucchini Noodles: When you’re on Keto you can’t eat pasta but vegetable noodles such as zucchini let you eat your favorite pasta filled meals without the carbs. The garlic shrimp in this recipe makes it even tastier.
- Garlic Shrimp Zucchini Boats: There are those ingredients again! Garlic, shrimp and zucchini come together in these cheesy delicious zucchini boats.
- Buffalo Shrimp Lettuce Wraps: These lettuce wraps are perfect for spice lovers. Like a spicy lettuce taco, this shrimp meal has a satisfying crunch and it’s easy to make.
- Spicy Shrimp Avocados: This is a fantastic way to pair the healthy fat of an avocado with the lean protein and nutrients of shrimp.
- Tuscan Butter Shrimp: In this recipe, shrimp is smothered in buttery goodness. You can serve this dish over veggie noodles, mashed cauliflower or even on its own with a side salad.
Of course, shrimp are delicious all on their own. You can dip them in shrimp sauce (although watch the carb counts), bread them or fry them in healthy oils for a super quick, heart-healthy meal.
Not only is shrimp Keto-friendly, but it’s also a fantastic addition to any Keto meal plan. There are a ton of great shrimp recipes available online and it’s a very versatile ingredient that tastes good spicy, sweet or buttery. This low-carb seafood is chock full of important nutrients such as Vitamin B, selenium and potassium as well as being a great protein source. If you’ve never thought about incorporating shrimp into your Keto diet you should choose a recipe that looks good to you, give it a try and add this seafood superfood into your weekly Keto meal plan!