It’s seafood, so we know it’s healthy because of the omega-3 fatty acids. It’s also an inexpensive source of protein, fairly low in calories and is quite tasty. Seems like the perfect food for low-carb diets.


While imitation crab is made from fish, it doesn’t provide all the omega-3 benefits of crab. To make this mystery meat, manufacturers skin, debone and mince Alaska pollock — a relatively cheap fish with a mild flavour — and make a paste known as surimi. So far, it’s still a fish. But then things go south. To add stiffness, starch from corn, wheat or tapioca is added, along with egg white, hydrolyzed soy, corn or wheat protein, artificial colours and flavours, vegetable oils, monosodium glutamate (MSG), salt, and, of course, sugar.

The product goes from being a high-protein, low-fat food to one that’s much higher in carbs and lower in protein. An average 3-ounce serving of imitation crab has 81 calories, 6 grams of protein and 13 grams of carbs (5 grams from sugar). The same amount of Alaskan king crab has the same amount of calories, but 10 grams more protein and no carbs.

Imitation crab is comparatively lower in fat, but that’s not actually a good thing. While a serving of Alaskan king crab provides 377 milligrams of essential omega-3 fatty acids, imitation crab has only 20 milligrams — a loss of about 95%. Imitation crab also has fewer vitamins and minerals than real crab. Like other processed foods that contain stabilizers, preservatives, sugars and added salt, it’s best avoided. Save your money for the real thing.

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