The attraction to imitation crab is that it is more affordable than the real thing. People also like it because it is low in fat and calories, but there are many other, healthier options that are low in calories and fat. The reason we say this is because imitation crab, while mildly exotic to the Western palate and eye, is not crab at all.
What Is Imitation Crab?
The budget-friendliness and versatility has lead to the popularity of imitation crab in restaurants and grocery stores. Imitation crab does come from the sea, but this red and white “crab” stick is like the seafood version of a hot dog. The Japanese refer to it as surimi, which translates to ground meat. Surimi is a blend of different fish that have been ground into a paste. Manufacturers also add artificial flavors, sodium, MSG (occasionally), and starch, according to SF Gate.
Is Imitation Crab Good For You?
Just in case you were wondering, imitation crab is not gluten-free because the starch in it is made from whole wheat. It is also low in protein, vitamin B12, and selenium. Real crab, on the other hand, is more nutritionally diverse and contains a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. Because of the harmful food additives in imitation crab, consuming it can occasionally lead to leaky gut syndrome, intestinal inflammation, diarrhea, bloating, or abdominal pain, especially if someone is gluten intolerant.
Because manufacturers occasionally put MSG in imitation crab, people can have adverse reactions after consumption. Many people, even though they may not realize it, have MSG intolerance. The signs of MSG intolerance can often be muscle tightness, weakness, numbness/tingling, or headaches after ingesting it.
We always encourage cutting out processed foods and processed ingredients from your diet. The body was not designed to process food additives, which are often detrimental to overall health. Consuming imitation crab can lead to blood sugar spikes, due to the high carbohydrate content. You also should know that imitation crab is easily replaced by whole food substitutes that are much healthier, including jackfruit, artichoke hearts, lion’s mane mushroom, or hearts of palm.