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Ask Dr. Gourmet

Can I eat shrimp if I'm trying to lower my cholesterol?

My recent blood test showed my cholesterol was elevated. I am trying to find out if shrimp is good while one is trying to reduce cholesterol. I mean grilled, plain shrimp not the swimming in butter kind.

Dr. Gourmet Says....

Shrimp Remoulade - click for recipe!

Shrimp does have cholesterol and in higher amounts than some other animal protein. There is about 200 mg of cholesterol in 4 ounces of shrimp. While there are a small minority of people who will have their cholesterol profile affected by consuming a high cholesterol diet, for the majority of us consuming cholesterol in our diet simply doesn't affect our cholesterol levels.

More important is the amount of saturated fat that you eat, and your plan to avoid the shrimp "swimming in butter" is on target. Grilling or pan roasting is a good plan. You can sauté the shrimp in a little bit of olive oil, however, and still eat healthy. If you like scallops, they are a great choice because they don't have any cholesterol in them.

Look on the site for Shrimp Gazpacho and Shrimp and Fennel Salad.

Here's more information about what is considered high cholesterol.

Thanks for writing,

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP, CCMS
Dr. Gourmet