Can You Eat Imitation Crab When Pregnant – Is It Safe?

When someone asks a question like this – if it is safe to eat imitation crab when pregnant, the most essential part of the question is ‘while pregnant.’

As you may already know – and should, there are certain things that may be safe for consumption on a normal day. But you find out that they are not too safe for your consumption or your developing baby during pregnancy.

A lot of things change when you are pregnant, and you need to be extra careful when making consumption choices. For example, imitation crab is a seafood meal that is easy to fall in love with after your first trial, but should you be eating it when you are pregnant?

This article has carefully highlighted all you need to know about imitation crab and whether it is safe for you to eat it when pregnant. So we are ready. If you are, then let’s go on a great information ride – shall we?


What is Imitation Crab?

Imitation crab is a type of seafood that is also identified by the name – crab sticks. It is a type of seafood that is made from starch and white fish, which is shaped to resemble the legs of a crab.

If you didn’t know about imitation crab or weren’t told, you would mistake it for the legs of snow crabs or Japanese spider crab. So, what is done here is that fish is mixed with starch and made to look like crab meat.

The imitation crab is achieved when starch is mixed with a shredded white fish that forms a paste called surimi. After the mixture has been minced, it is shaped to resemble the legs of a crab. It looks like real crab legs both in colour and texture.

Yes, you would agree that it is an interesting dish. Its look and taste can have you glued to the meal. So, it is only normal for you to crave for it during pregnancy, but is it safe to have it?


Also Read: Is It Safe to Eat Calamari While Pregnant


Imitation Crab – Is It Safe?

On a general note, is it safe for you to consume imitation crab, or are there concerns you should take to note? Well, let us find out!

Like almost every other meal out there, imitation crab has its pros and cons, but on the question of safety, it is generally safe. Despite the numerous health concerns associated with imitation – like all meats and seafood, it is considered safe.

However, medical experts and nutritionists advise that it should not be made a regular part of your diet. There are also certain classes of people who are advised to avoid imitation crab completely due to health concerns.

It is safe for consumption, but you should know that it contains lesser vitamins and minerals needed for body development than real crab meat. In addition to this, like all processed foods, it could contain a fairly high amount of substances such as sugar, salt, preservatives, and stabilizers.


Nutritional Value of Imitation Crab

The nutritional value of imitation crab listed below is approved by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The body is a federal executive department tasked with the responsibility of developing and executing all federal laws related to food, farming, forestry, and rural development in the United States.

A serving of imitation crab contains 85g of Calories, and 715mg of Sodium. It also contains 76g of Potassium, and 13 g of Carbohydrates. Protein content is placed at 7g, Sugar is 6g, and Cholesterol is 17 mg. Calcium is 1%, and there is no presence of Vitamin C and Dietary Fiber.


Pros and Benefits of Eating Imitation Crab When Pregnant

At this point, it is safe to note that the safety of imitation crab for pregnant women depends on the type of fish used. Taking into consideration that the fish used for imitation crab is the usual white fish, then these are the benefits.

Below, we have listed the top 3 pros and benefits of eating imitation crab when pregnant. Let us check them out:

Top 3 Pros and Benefits of Eating Imitation Crab When Pregnant

1. Imitation Crab is Low in Mercury

Mercury is a harmful substance found freely in the environment. It is often found in fish and other seafood, and it is harmful – especially when consumed in large quantities.

A high intake of mercury can harm the development of the central nervous system in your unborn baby. So, if you are a lover of seafood or live in an environment where it is readily available, imitation crab is a good substitute.

2. It is low in Saturated Fat and Calories

If you are someone who pays attention to what you eat – as you should, you will discover that foods that are high in saturated fat and calories are often advised against.

With imitation crab, you are sure of consuming a meal that is low in fat and calories. This is a great option if you are on a watch list and monitor your cholesterol levels.

According to dietary experts, 3 ounces of an imitation crab meal contains 1 gram of fat, 81 calories, and 17 milligrams of cholesterol. Therefore, a meal that is low in fat and calorie like imitation crab can protect you from chronic diseases.

3. Imitation Crab is High in Phosphorus

Phosphorus is an element that is present in many parts of the human body, like the teeth and bones. We need phosphorus in our systems for the development of our teeth and bones.

Imitation crab is high in phosphorus which helps in the development of the bones and teeth. It also improves the functionality of the kidney, nerves, and muscles.

According to dietary and medical experts, the recommended daily allowance of phosphorus is 700 milligrams. A 3 ounce meal of imitation crab can supply an individual with 240 milligrams, which is great for a single meal.


Also Read: Can You Eat Thai Iced Tea During Pregnancy? – Check If It’s Safe


Cons of Imitation Crab in Pregnancy

The consumption of imitation crab while pregnant raised a lot of questions. But what are the cons, and why is it not safe to eat imitation crab during pregnancy, especially in high amounts? Let us find out in the session below.

Below, we have highlighted the top 3 reasons why it is unsafe to eat imitation crab during pregnancy.

Top 3 Cos of Eating Imitation Crab When Pregnant

1. High Concentration of Sodium

The high concentration of salt contained in imitation crab is one of the concerns associated with consuming it. A 3 ounce serving of imitation crab contains more than 800 milligrams of sodium. 

Looking at the highest recommended daily allowance of sodium which is pegged at 2,300 milligrams, a single meal containing 800 milligrams of sodium is considered high. 

When a pregnant woman consumes excess salt (or sodium), she risks high blood pressure and swellings. 

2. High in Artificial Preservatives

As is the situation with all processed and preserved foods, imitation crabs are high in artificial preservatives. These artificial preservatives are chemical components that can cause unprecedented harm to both the pregnant mother and the unborn child.

Pregnant women are often advised to stay clear of processed foods as much as possible to prevent harm to the fragile fetus. The chemical compounds in the preservatives can harm the fetus or prevent adequate development.

3. Imitation Crab is High in Sugar

According to experts, imitation crabs are very high in carbohydrates and sugar. When eating fish, we do not program our minds that we are consuming a high carbohydrate diet.

So, there is every possibility of combining the meal with a carbohydrate diet. However, when this is done, the carbohydrate, sugar, and salt content becomes overly high and could be harmful to the unborn baby.


How to Include Imitation Crab in Your Diet?

We are told that the major ingredient in imitation crab is fish, but interestingly, when we check the nutritional value of the meal, it has low protein.

The knowledge of this can help us in the way we include imitation crab in our diet. So that we can enjoy the delicious meal we love and crave without exposing ourselves to harm.

Below, we have highlighted how you can include crab in your diet to ensure that you are consuming a balanced diet. If you follow our tips below, it will also help you balance the high sodium and carbohydrate content in the imitation crab.

  • Sandwich Filling: If you haven’t, then you need to try it out. Mix your imitation crab with vegetables and mayonnaise, and use it as a filling for your sandwich. This is not only rich because of the nutritional balance, but also delicious.
  • Vegetable Soup: You can never go wrong with imitation crab and vegetable soup. All you need to do is put some pieces of imitation crab in your vegetable soup and serve to taste.
  • Green Salad: Just like in your vegetable soup, you can put pieces of imitation crab in your green salad and serve to taste.
  • Yogurt Dip: You can fix your imitation crab in yogurt as a substitute for a delicious dip. To spice things up, you can add some pepper and herbs to the yogurt. Try it out, and thank me later!


Can Imitation Crab Cause Food Poisoning?

Contrary to what the name itself denotes, food poisoning is an illness that a person will experience after eating contaminated food. It is also called foodborne illness, but the common name is food poisoning.

It is caused by infectious organisms contained in infectious food. The infectious organisms include bacteria, parasites, and viruses.

Food poisoning is a big concern for many people – especially pregnant women, when it comes to imitation crab. Yes, you can be a victim of food poisoning if you consume spoiled imitation crab.

If you consume an imitation crab dish that has gone bad or one that was prepared with stale fish, you are bound to experience some stomach troubles for a couple of hours. In severe cases, the pregnant woman may experience vomiting and symptoms of diarrhea.


Also Read: Safety Tips to Drinking Lipton Tea While Pregnant


Safety Tips to Consider Before Eating Imitation Crab When Pregnant

Before consuming imitation crab when pregnant, you should consider the following tips in order to protect yourself and your unborn child.

7 Safety Tips to Consider Before Eating Imitation Crab When Pregnant

  1. Always pay attention to the label on the packaging to determine the expiry date of the product.
  2. Check the packaging to confirm the type of fish that was used in making the imitation crab. You should avoid any imitation crab product that was made from fish with high mercury content like swordfish, shark, or mackerel.
  3. Do not eat imitation crab more than two times a week during pregnancy to be on the safer side.
  4. Cook your imitation crab at 145 degrees or above. This way, you can be sure of destroying all the bacteria contained in the meal.
  5. Confirm that the imitation crab is made from Alaskan Pollock, which is the recommended fish for making imitation crab.
  6. Do not eat imitation crab that has been open for more than three days.
  7. You should never, under any circumstance, eat raw imitation crab. When imitation crab is raw or undercooked, it contains bacteria that can harm your unborn baby.


Final Words

In all sincerity, I would be lying if I said imitation crab was not a delicious dish. In fact, I recommend it and would advise you to taste it sometime in your life. But I do not think it is something you should go over the call of duty for when you are pregnant.

Also, it would be best if you also were careful when ordering a crab dish at a restaurant when you are pregnant. When you do, you may be eating imitation crab without knowing.

In a situation where you have ordered imitation crab or were informed that your dish has imitation crab in it, ask questions. Be sure to inquire about the type of fish used in making the imitation crab.

All I am trying to say is that you need to be careful of what you consume when you are pregnant. Prevention they say, is better than cure. In my opinion, if you are having doubts, then you shouldn’t have it.