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12 Reasons Shellfish is Unhealthy

Shellfish is delicious, and it’s a favorite for preparing elegant dishes (like Mini Lobster Rolls). There’s just something amazingly delicious about the soft white meat that is found in crabs, lobsters, shrimp, and other shellfish– but it’s hardly a health food.

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Unfortunately, it’s actually better to avoid eating shellfish for a number of health reasons. Here’s why you should avoid eating shellfish:

  1. Shellfish feed on the dead skin of dead animals, as well as parasites. They are bottom feeders, and can be a host to parasites and other harmful organisms.
  2. Shellfish don’t have a proper digestive system to filter out the toxins and parasites from their bodies – meaning anything harmful absorbed into the shellfish stays in the shellfish.
  3. Shellfish are one of the most common allergen-causing foods. Shellfish allergies are surprisingly common around the world.
  4. Shellfish like shrimp often comes from places that don’t control the amount of toxins, chemicals, and contaminants that the shellfish are exposed to.
  5. Shellfish have a very simple digestive system, making it difficult for them to expel wastes. When you eat shellfish, you often end up eating those wastes as well. For example, when you try to de-vein a shrimp, if the vein isn’t completely removed you are essentially eating shrimp poop.
  6. Shellfish of nearly every type is known to contain contaminants, particularly mercury. Mercury is one of the most hazardous of the heavy metals, and can lead to serious health problems.

  1. Shellfish tends to have very high levels of cholesterol. With just four or five shrimp – ergo, one serving – you’re getting up to 150 milligrams of cholesterol. That’s over half of the amount of cholesterol you’re recommended to eat in a day.
  2. Shellfish is treated as “dirty” by many religions – Judaism, Christianity, and others. There is a reason why books like the Bible teach that shrimp is unclean, so it may be best avoided.
  3. Shellfish is known to be a bearer of food illnesses, such as E.coli, Salmonella, Norwalk virus, and Hepatitis A.  Shellfish is a bottom feeder, and feeds on the sewage and wastes that are thrown into the ocean.
  4. Shellfish increases the risk of health problems among those with medical conditions. People with altered iron metabolism, liver disease, and diabetes often have much more sensitive digestive systems, and eating shellfish can expose your digestive system to many more risks.
  5. Shellfish is usually cooked, but it’s difficult to cook it properly. The fact that it’s difficult to cook means that you can often be exposed to undercooked shrimp, crab, and other shellfish. It’s the raw seafood that contains the most contaminants, and undercooked shellfish is definitely unhealthy.
  6. Shellfish is highly perishable, and it can spoil very easily. Once the shellfish has spoiled, it can be much more hazardous to your digestive health. You’ll find that eating shellfish when it is even just slightly spoiled can lead to serious bacterial infections and food poisoning, so it’s very important to avoid eating shellfish unless you’re 100% sure it’s fresh.

If you’re a health nut, it may be wise to avoid shellfish more often than not. You can still have a few ounces of your favorite shrimp, crab, lobster, or oyster every month, but you should eat it far less often than you consume meats and other proteins.


About the author


Some people get lucky and are born with fit, toned bodies. Andy Peloquin is not one of those people... Fitness has come hard for him, and he's had to work for it. His trials have led him to becoming a martial artist, an NFPT-certified fitness trainer, and a man passionate about exercise, diet and healthy living. He loves to exercise--he does so six days a week--and loves to share his passion for fitness and health with others.


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