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What Seafood Is Bad for Diabetics?

It is common for those with newly diagnosed diabetes to wonder if they can still enjoy their favorite seafood dishes. Yes, they indeed can! Fish and other seafood are a great source of lean protein and healthy fats. They boost heart health and can help reduce body inflammation and insulin resistance.

But there is a catch! Not all seafood is good for people with diabetes. It’s important to choose the right seafood that’s best for their specific health needs.

So what seafood is bad for diabetic people? This article takes a deep look into it. Continue reading to explore the bad seafood types for diabetics.

Benefits of Common Seafood with Diabetes

For those with diabetes, adding seafood to their diet can help replace heavier red and processed meats. They just need two servings of seafood per week. Experts claim weekly two seafood meals are sufficient to fulfill their bodies’ needs for lean proteins and healthy fats. [1, 2]

Lean protein is a healthier choice for diabetics. Why? It helps stabilize their blood sugar levels and has many health benefits.

Unlike carbs, our bodies do not convert proteins into fat. Proteins often stand tall and firm. The body rather uses protein to produce insulin and maintain muscle mass. And there’s more! Proteins play a role in keeping the cholesterol levels in check. [3, 4] This means they can improve our heart health. They also minimize the risk of diabetes-related complications like kidney failure. [5]

Fish like salmon and tuna are rich in Omega fatty acids, which help reduce inflammation. They are also good for those with diabetes as they help glucose enter cells. In effect, Omega acids slow down the rate of glucose release into the bloodstream. This helps keep a stable blood sugar level, avoiding sudden spikes after meals. [6]

Seafood can also help diabetics with weight management. Most seafood dishes have a low calorie and fat content. So, eating them can make diabetics feel full for longer.

However, some seafood types as well as dishes are bad for diabetics. And they also carry other health risks. In fact, some shellfish and fish can cause a spike in blood sugar levels, such as fried seafood or those coated in sugary sauces. Also, fish like sharks or swordfish can have neurotoxic effects due to their high mercury content. [7]

So it is always wise to stay informed and opt for the healthiest choices.

Bad Seafood for Diabetics

As was already said, not all seafood dishes are diabetes-friendly. Let’s look at some of those that may be bad for diabetics.

Fried Seafood

For people with diabetes, it can be hard to resist a plate of crispy fried fish. But such seafood dishes are not good for their health at all. The batter and the oil used in frying add extra carbs and fats to the seafood dish. This can cause an undue spike in blood sugar levels. [8, 9]

So, the next time diabetics get tempted, they should ask themselves whether that crispy bite worth the rise in blood sugar.

Uncooked Seafood

We all love seafood sushi recipes. They are tasty and delicious. But are they good for those with diabetes?

Sushi poses a risk of bacterial infections due to the use of raw fish. [10] Also, the vinegared rice that comes with the fish can cause blood sugar spikes. That’s because the rice is often seasoned with salt and includes added sugar.

Canned Seafood (High in Sodium)

Yes, canned seafood might be a good choice for diabetics. It’s a healthy, convenient, and low-cost dish to include in their diets. But there is a problem!

Canned fish can cause a rise in blood pressure due to its high sodium content. [11] Since heart disease often goes hand in hand with diabetes, it’s best to keep this off the table. So, always check the label and choose those with no or low sodium.

Sugar-added Seafood

Yes, some seafood dishes come with added sugar! On top of that, sauces, cheeses, and glazes can turn these dishes into sugary traps with high saturated fat content. Imagine eating fish dipped in sugar syrup—sounds absurd, right? Yet, that’s what some diabetics might be consuming without even realizing it. [12]

Recommend Seafood Recipes for Diabetics

 When it comes to diabetic-friendly seafood recipes, we just have a simple mantra: make it tasty and healthy. The goal is to mix the rich 

flavors of the sea with healthy ingredients. 

Let’s check out some seafood recipes that not just satisfy the taste buds of diabetics but also keep their blood

sugar in check. 

1. Low-Fat Salmon Salad
Ingredients:
Canned salmon (a less fishy substitute for tuna salad)
Chopped celery
Diced red bell pepper
Fresh parsley, chopped
Lemon juice
Greek yogurt

Instructions: Mix together all the ingredients. Serve it as a tasty, light sandwich filler on toast or crackers. 

Consider adding a bit of Greek yogurt for an extra protein kick!

2. Grilled Salmon/Tuna Steaks
Ingredients:
Salmon or tuna steaks
Lemon wedges
Fresh dill or rosemary
Olive oil
Sea salt
Instructions: Preheat the grill. Brush the fish steaks with olive oil. Season the steaks with sea salt, lemon juice, and herbs. Grill the steaks on each side (3-5 minutes). After that, let them cool down (5-10 minutes). Serve and enjoy!

3. Seafood Casserole
Ingredients:
Mixed seafood (such as shrimp, clams, and mussels)
Chopped onions and bell peppers
Low-fat milk
Breadcrumbs
Sea salt and pepper
Instructions: Saute onions and bell peppers until translucent. Add mixed seafood and cook until they turn opaque. Next, gently pour in the low-fat milk. Let everything mingle and come to a gentle boil. Put them in a casserole dish once done. Top with 

breadcrumbs. Bake until the top turns golden.

4. Low-Fat Baked Fish Fillets
Ingredients:
Fish fillets 
Egg whites 
Dry breadcrumbs 
Grated Parmesan cheese 
Spices: dried Italian seasoning, dried parsley, paprika, garlic powder, seasoning salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper (optional)
Instructions: Move the rack to the lowest position, and preheat the oven. Gently spray cooking oil over the baking sheet. Whisk together egg whites and normal water. Mix breadcrumbs with Parmesan and spices. Dip each fillet in egg whites and then coat with breadcrumb mixture. Place the coated fillets on the baking sheet. Bake until the 

fish turns flaky.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can Diabetics Eat Lobster?

Yes, they can! Lobster is an excellent source of lean protein and fatty acid (omega-3). Since it’s also low in fats and calories, diabetics can certainly add it to their diet. [13] However, they should 

avoid lobster dishes that are fried in butter or oil and drenched in sugary sauces. [9]

Can Diabetics Eat Scallops?

No restriction currently applies to eating scallops for diabetics. [14] They share nutritional characteristics similar 

to lobsters. So, they can be a great addition to a diabetic diet due to their rich protein yet low carb profile. The key? Cook them without any added fats or sugars.

Can Diabetics Eat Crab?

Indeed! Crabs are another excellent protein source for diabetics. But, like lobsters and scallops, the same cooking and eating guidelines apply.

How Much Seafood Can I Eat with Diabetes?

There is currently no specific limit on how much seafood a diabetic can eat. But always remember moderation is 

the key. In general, one should aim for two servings of seafood a week. 

Final Thoughts

For diabetics, navigating the seafood world can be a smooth sailing experience if they know what to eat and what not to. Of course, some seafood is bad for their health. But there are still many seafood varieties that are both 

delicious and diabetes-friendly. So next time they’re by the coast or at a seafood restaurant, they’ll know exactly what to reel in and what to throw back!

References

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2.EFSA Dietetic Products, Nutrition, and Allergies (NDA). Scientific Opinion on health benefits of seafood (fish and shellfish) consumption in relation to health risks associated with exposure to methylmercury. EFSA journal. 2014 Jul;12(7):3761.
3.Zhao WT, Luo Y, Zhang Y, Zhou Y, Zhao TT. High protein diet is of benefit for patients with type 2 diabetes: an updated meta-analysis. Medicine. 2018 Nov;97(46).
4.Liaset B, Øyen J, Jacques H, Kristiansen K, Madsen L. Seafood intake and the development of obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Nutrition Research Reviews. 2019 Jun;32(1):146-67.
5.Goldstein-Fuchs J, Kalantar-Zadeh K. Nutrition intervention for advanced stages of diabetic kidney disease. Diabetes spectrum: a publication of the American Diabetes Association. 2015 Aug;28(3):181.
6.Belchior T, Paschoal VA, Magdalon J, Chimin P, Farias TM, Chaves‐Filho AB, Gorjão R, St.‐Pierre P, Miyamoto S, Kang JX, Deshaies Y. Omega‐3 fatty acids protect from diet‐induced obesity, glucose intolerance, and adipose tissue inflammation through PPARγ‐dependent and PPARγ‐independent actions. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research. 2015 May;59(5):957-67.
7.Branco V, Aschner M, Carvalho C. Neurotoxicity of mercury: An old issue with contemporary significance. InAdvances in neurotoxicology 2021 Jan 1 (Vol. 5, pp. 239-262). Academic Press.
8.Sun Y, Liu B, Snetselaar LG, Robinson JG, Wallace RB, Peterson LL, Bao W. Association of fried food consumption with all cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality: prospective cohort study. bmj. 2019 Jan 23;364.
9.Wallin A, Di Giuseppe D, Orsini N, Åkesson A, Forouhi NG, Wolk A. Fish consumption and frying of fish in relation to type 2 diabetes incidence: a prospective cohort study of Swedish men. European journal of nutrition. 2017 Mar;56:843-52.
10.Lehel J, Yaucat-Guendi R, Darnay L, Palotás P, Laczay P. Possible food safety hazards of ready-to-eat raw fish containing product (sushi, sashimi). Critical reviews in food science and nutrition. 2021 Mar 9;61(5):867-88.
11.Zhang X, Chen B, Jia P, Han J. Locked on salt? Excessive consumption of high-sodium foods during COVID-19 presents an underappreciated public health risk: a review. Environmental Chemistry Letters. 2021 Oct;19(5):3583-95.
12.Namazi N, Brett NR, Bellissimo N, Larijani B, Heshmati J, Azadbakht L. The association between types of seafood intake and the risk of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Health promotion perspectives. 2019;9(3):164.
13.Lin SP, Chen CM, Wang KL, Wu KL, Li SC. Association of Dietary Fish and n-3 Unsaturated Fatty Acid Consumption with Diabetic Nephropathy from a District Hospital in Northern Taiwan. Nutrients. 2022 May 21;14(10):2148.
14.Liaset B, Øyen J, Jacques H, Kristiansen K, Madsen L. Seafood intake and the development of obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Nutrition Research Reviews. 2019 Jun;32(1):146-67.

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