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Shrimp won't derail diet goals
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 16 - 05 - 2008

If you've been avoiding shrimp because you've heard that these crustaceans are high in cholesterol, you're wrong and right.
Shrimp do contain relatively high levels of dietary cholesterol - 166 milligrams per 3 ounces of steamed shrimp. But shrimp is very low in saturated fat, the kind of fat that gets the biggest blame for raising blood cholesterol levels.
It turns out that the cholesterol in foods we eat has less of an impact on blood cholesterol than saturated fats. Researchers at Rockefeller University in New York found that when volunteers ate shrimp along with foods that were low in saturated fat, their blood lipid ratios remained balanced. So the net-net, as you cast your net to find heart-healthy meals, is that shrimp's overall nutritional profile places it on the list of the dietary good guys. The same goes for shrimp's crustacean cousins lobster and crab.
The healthiest way to cook shrimp is simply steamed and preferably unpeeled. “The shells actually impart flavor to the shrimp. It's kind of like cooking chicken on the bone,” says Nathalie Dupree, Southern food expert and author of “Shrimp & Grits Cookbook” (Gibbs Smith, $21.95).
Add a spritz of fresh lemon or lime juice or a splash of hot sauce and you'll keep the calories low: 84 calories per 3-ounce serving (10 large shrimp). Fresh salsas, savory fruit relishes and vinegar-based marinades add flavors without added fat, too.
Of course, if you drench shrimp in butter or drown them in cheese or cream sauces, you're changing the nutritional picture by increasing the calories and the artery-clogging saturated-fat content of the dish. Fried shrimp will be higher in fat and calories, too. You can add 100 calories per ounce when you plunge shrimp into the deep fryer.
If the fat in the fryer contains trans-fats (the Darth Vader of the nutritional world) you're adding an even higher risk of elevated blood cholesterol levels. Make sure to seek out restaurants that use trans-fat-free oils.
Fry right
That doesn't mean fried shrimp are totally off limits. They do it right at Rathbun's restaurant where the Salt and Pepper Georgia Shrimp are lightly dusted in bread crumbs and flash fried for a few seconds so they're crispy but not greasy.
Topped with serrano peppers, cilantro, a little sesame oil and lemon juice, this dish of six succulent shrimp is listed as one of the small plates on chef-owner (and “Iron Chef”-winning) Kevin Rathbun's menu.
Vicky Murphy of Inland Seafood says expect to start seeing more wild Georgia shrimp on Atlanta's restaurant menus.
“Spring shrimp season in the Southeast just started, so there will be plenty of fresh shrimp available over the coming weeks. We are always pushing wild domestic shrimp because it is the best tasting and is highly sustainable,” she says.
Nutritional tally
u Nearly fat free, low in calories
u High in protein, no carbohydrates
u Good source of cardio-protective omega-3 fatty acids. Four ounces of shrimp provide 14.8 percent of your daily need for these fats.
u Excellent source of mineral selenium, which is associated with lowering the risk of cancer.
u Excellent source of vitamin B-12: a 4-ounce serving of shrimp delivers 28.2 percent of the daily value for this vitamin. Vitamin B-12 is one of the nutrients needed to control levels of homocysteine, a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
u Mineral-rich, supplying iron, zinc and copper. – Cox News Service __

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