Is Shrimp Considered A Meat or Fish?

Not only is shrimp versatile across a range of recipes and dishes, but it is also a widely popular and very healthy addition to your diet. We all know what it looks like and how it tastes, but have you ever stopped to wonder if shrimp is considered a meat or fish?

Knowing the correct answer to this is very important, especially for those that have allergies or major preferences. We might all have our opinions, but which is actually correct? Keep reading as we explore the food group that shrimp falls under. We will also discuss the health benefits and risks of adding shrimp to your diet.

Is Shrimp Considered A Meat or Fish?

Shrimp is neither a fish nor meat – instead, it is considered a shellfish and likened to crab or lobster. It belongs to the crustacean family and is often mistaken for a fish, however, it does not meet the criteria to be considered a fish. For one, it possesses an exoskeleton, whereas fishes possess an endoskeleton. Second, it does not have scales on the surface of the body and does not possess fins, and therefore cannot be considered fish.

Notwithstanding, shrimp can also be considered meat with some classifications. By definition, meat is the flesh of an animal, so technically all seafood is considered meat, which would include shrimp.

Meat is sometimes limited to the flesh of warm-blooded animals by culinary and religious definitions which usually causes confusion. Catholics, for instance, consider meat to be the flesh of warm-blooded animals only, so, during Lent ( a period when consumption of meat is not allowed) they are permitted to eat fish and shrimp since they don’t count it as meat because it is cold-blooded.  So, by catholic definition, shrimp is fish.

There are various variations on what people consider meat or fish, so basically, the question of if shrimp is considered meat or fish will have different answers depending on who you ask. It can be either meat or fish Depending on what variation apply to you.

Is Shrimp White or Red Meat?

Shrimp is white meat as it remains white after cooking. All seafood and poultry are considered white meat because they contain less myoglobin than beef or pork which are red meat.

Myoglobin is a pigmented protein contained in meat that changes color when heated, so the more myoglobin there is, the redder the meat.

Are Shrimps Meat Eaters?

Yes, shrimps are meat-eaters. They eat the meat of dead organisms and are bottom feeders whose diet mainly consists of organic matter and waste from the bottom of the sea. What shrimps consume largely depends on their environment. The diet of wild shrimps will consist of algae, planktons, dead organisms, and even fish feces, while farmed shrimps are mostly fed pellets to increase their protein content and will also eat smaller shrimp they come across in the tank.

Can Vegans Eat Shrimp?

No, vegans cannot eat shrimp. This is simply because they do not eat meat or use animal products, and shrimps are animals.

Vegetarianism on the other hand takes different forms. The pescatarians are the only type of vegetarians that consume seafood. While it is okay for some vegetarians to eat seafood, vegans refrain completely from meat consumption and the use of animal products in general.

Why Is Shrimp Good for You?

Shrimp is one of the most popular shellfish consumed by seafood lovers. Apart from being delicious, shrimp also became popular because of its health benefits.

  • It is low in calories and packed with nutrients like iodine, which improves thyroid function and brain health.
  • It contains unsaturated fatty acids, which makes it a great addition to your diet.
  • It contains only 84 calories in a serving of 85g and doesn’t contain any carbs.
  • Almost 90% of the calories are protein while the remaining 10% is fat.

Why Is Shrimp Bad for You?

Shrimp receives bad rap because it contains high levels of cholesterol, which might be bad for people when consumed in excess. An 85g serving of shrimp contains 166mg of cholesterol, which is relatively higher than a similar serving of beef or chicken.

While people generally avoid eating food that is high in cholesterol, our bodies actually need cholesterol. It only becomes bad for our health when consumed in excess. Studies show that consumption of shrimp will increase the level of HDL cholesterol – which isn’t bad for you – and would not significantly increase the level of LDL cholesterol, which is what people try to avoid.

Another reason why shrimps might be bad for you is that they are bottom feeders and are likely to contain contaminants. Shrimps eat anything that can fit in their mouths, and depending on the environment this could include sea life excrement, heavy metals, microplastic, and many other substances that would be harmful when consumed.

Read also: Is HelloFresh Worth It for persons, families and vegetarians?

Is Shrimp Healthier Than Chicken?

Shrimp and chicken are both healthy options depending on what you need in your diet.

For instance, shrimp contains fewer calories than chicken, so it would be more ideal for a person who is trying to lose weight, while chicken would be a better option for athletes because it contains amino acids, which are needed for muscle growth and recovery.

Is It A Vein or Poop in Shrimp?

The dark line that runs down the back of shrimp, which is normally removed during the deveining process is not a vein, it is an intestinal tract that contains the body’s waste, which is basically poop.

The removal of the “vein” is completely based on preference as it is not harmful to humans if consumed, but people would prefer to devein shrimp to give it a cleaner appearance.

Read also:Should You Brine A Butterball Turkey?


Several classifications could prove that shrimp is considered meat or fish or shellfish or anything else. Chances are, you will get confused talking to different people about a topic such as this because of varying beliefs, personal preferences, religion, etc. This article should help you to better understand the food group that shrimp falls under and help you define it according to the classifications or variations that apply to you.

By Luong Tan

Luong Tan, the creative and passionate founder of Bourbono, is a multi-talented individual with a deep love for the culinary arts. An accomplished food blogger, cookbook author, and former Ambassador of US cuisine in Vietnam (2015-2016), Luong has been on a mission to share his appreciation for food with the world.

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