How many shrimp do I have to eat?

Shrimp are a popular type of seafood that many people enjoy eating. They have a sweet, briny flavor and tender texture when cooked properly. But how many shrimp does one need to eat to get adequate nutrition or reach other goals? There are a few factors to consider when determining the answer.

Why Would You Want to Eat a Lot of Shrimp?

Here are some common reasons one might aim to eat a high quantity of shrimp:

  • To get sufficient protein. Shrimp are high in protein, providing about 20 grams per 3-ounce cooked serving. People who are building muscle through strength training or who follow high-protein diets like the keto diet may aim to eat a lot of shrimp and other protein-rich foods.
  • To get omega-3 fatty acids. Shrimp contain omega-3s like DHA and EPA, which are beneficial for heart and brain health. Some people may eat shrimp frequently to increase omega-3 intake.
  • For weight loss. Shrimp are low in calories for their protein content. Eating shrimp in place of higher calorie meats or foods may aid in weight loss.
  • Because they enjoy the taste. Some people simply love shrimp and want to incorporate them into meals and snacks regularly.

Nutrition Info Per Serving

To determine how much shrimp you need to eat, it helps to know the nutrition information per serving:

  • Calories: 84
  • Protein: 18g
  • Fat: 1g
  • Carbs: 0g
  • Omega-3s: 252mg

This is for a 3-ounce serving of cooked shrimp. The protein and omega-3 content makes shrimp very nutritious. But the relatively low calorie content means you’d have to eat a large quantity to meet high calorie needs.

How Much Protein?

If your goal is to eat shrimp for protein, here is how much you’d need to meet different protein targets:

50 grams of protein

  • Each 3 oz serving has 18g protein
  • 50/18 = 2.78 servings
  • 2.78 servings x 3 oz per serving = 8.34 ounces

To get 50 grams of protein, you’d need to eat about 8 1/3 ounces of cooked shrimp.

100 grams of protein

  • 100/18 = 5.56 servings
  • 5.56 x 3 oz per serving = about 16.7 ounces

For 100 grams of protein, eat approximately 1 pound of shrimp.

150 grams of protein

  • 150/18 = 8.33 servings
  • 8.33 x 3 oz/serving = 25 ounces

To get 150 grams of protein, you’d need to eat about 1.5 pounds of cooked shrimp.

As you can see, the amount of shrimp you need to eat for protein climbs quickly as the protein target increases. Eating extremely high protein like 150+ grams likely requires supplements in addition to high protein foods like shrimp.

How Many Calories?

Here’s how much shrimp you’d need to eat to reach different calorie goals:

500 calories

  • Each 3 oz serving has 84 calories
  • 500/84 = 5.95 servings
  • 5.95 x 3 oz/serving = about 18 ounces

To get 500 calories from shrimp, you’d need to eat about 1.1 pounds.

1000 calories

  • 1000/84 = 11.9 servings
  • 11.9 x 3 oz/serving = 36 ounces

For 1000 calories, eat around 2.25 pounds of shrimp.

1500 calories

  • 1500/84 = 17.86 servings
  • 17.86 x 3 oz/serving = 54 ounces

To get 1500 calories, you’d need to eat about 3.4 pounds of shrimp.

Shrimp are low in calories, so reaching high calorie goals requires eating very large amounts. For example, eating 1000 calories of chicken breast would take about half a pound versus over 2 pounds of shrimp.

How Much for Omega-3s?

Here is how much shrimp you’d need to eat to meet omega-3 fatty acid targets:

500mg Omega-3s

  • Each 3 oz serving has 252mg
  • 500/252 = 1.98 servings
  • 1.98 x 3 oz/serving = about 6 ounces

You’d need to eat 6 ounces of shrimp to get 500mg of omega-3s.

1000mg Omega-3s

  • 1000/252 = 3.97 servings
  • 3.97 x 3 oz/serving = 12 ounces

To get 1000mg of omega-3s, eat about 12 ounces or 3/4 pound of shrimp.

1500mg Omega-3s

  • 1500/252 = 5.95 servings
  • 5.95 x 3 oz/serving = 18 ounces

For 1500mg of omega-3s, eat around 1.1 pounds of shrimp.

The omega-3 content in shrimp is substantial, so you can get high amounts without eating extremely large serving sizes. But it would still be difficult to get extremely high omega-3 intakes like 3000mg per day from shrimp alone.

Daily Eating Recommendations

Based on nutrition needs, here are some recommendations for daily shrimp consumption:

Average Healthy Person

3-6 ounces of shrimp per day provides:

  • About 25-50% of protein needs
  • Less than 10% of calorie needs
  • Half of recommended omega-3 intake

This amount as part of a balanced diet helps meet protein and omega-3 goals while keeping calories in a healthy range.

High Protein Needs

6-12 ounces of shrimp daily provides:

  • 50-100% of protein needs
  • Less than 20% of calorie needs
  • 100% of recommended omega-3 intake

People with increased protein needs can eat this larger serving of shrimp to help meet higher protein targets.

Weight Loss Diet

6-10 ounces of shrimp daily gives:

  • 50-75% of protein needs
  • Less than 15% of calorie needs for a 1500-1800 calorie diet
  • Over 100% of omega-3 needs

The low calorie, high protein properties make shrimp an excellent food for weight loss diets. This serving size contributes protein without excessive calories.

So in summary, a healthy daily shrimp intake can range from 3-12 ounces depending on your needs and goals. Consuming shrimp within these serving size recommendations helps provide nutrition benefits without going overboard on calories.

Total Shrimp Consumption

If your goal is to simply eat a lot of shrimp, here’s how much shrimp you’d consume in different time periods:

1 day

Eating 1 pound of shrimp in a day (about 16 ounces) provides:

  • Over 80% of protein needs
  • About 15% of calorie needs
  • 200% of the omega-3 recommendation

One pound is a sizable but not extremely large amount for one day. It provides excellent nutrition.

1 week

Eating 7 pounds of shrimp in a week gives you:

  • All of your needed protein
  • About 20% of your weekly calorie needs
  • 1400% of your weekly omega-3 recommendation

At 7 pounds per week, shrimp provide plenty of protein and omega-3s without hugely impacting calorie intake.

1 month

If you ate 28 pounds of shrimp in a month, you’d get:

  • 4 times your monthly protein recommendation
  • About 25% of your calorie needs
  • Over 5000% of your omega-3 recommendation

At 28 pounds per month, shrimp give you very high amounts of protein and omega-3s for the calorie content. This level of consumption likely requires some dedication to buying and preparing lots of shrimp.

In summary, you can healthily eat up to a pound of shrimp daily as part of a balanced diet, or larger amounts spread out over a week or month. At high weekly or monthly shrimp consumption, be mindful of potential effects on cholesterol or contaminant exposure.

Cost Analysis

For a cost analysis, let’s assume an average price of $8 per pound for medium shrimp:

Amount Cost
1 pound per day $8 per day
7 pounds per week $56 per week
28 pounds per month $224 per month

As you increase your shrimp consumption, the costs climb accordingly. Eating 7 or more pounds per week results in over $50 weekly for shrimp alone. You can reduce costs by buying larger amounts and freezing what you don’t immediately use. Purchasing lower-cost shrimp like frozen also helps control the budget impact.

Health Risks

While shrimp provide excellent nutrition, eating very high amounts may pose some health risks:

  • High cholesterol – Shrimp have higher cholesterol than most meats. Eating more than 4 servings (12 ounces) daily may significantly increase cholesterol levels.
  • Heavy metal exposure – Shrimp can contain heavy metals from water sources. Eating more than 12 ounces daily may cause excessive buildup.
  • Allergic reaction – Some people are allergic to shellfish. High intake greatly increases chance of reaction.
  • Contaminants – Occasional recalls occur due to antibiotic residues or bacteria. Risk increases with more shrimp eaten.
  • Iodine excess – Shrimp are high in iodine. Consuming very large amounts could lead to excessive iodine levels.

It’s likely best to keep total shrimp consumption under 12 ounces per day, or 84 ounces (over 5 pounds) per week. Staying within these limits helps reduce the risk of potential adverse effects. Those with shellfish allergies need to be particularly cautious.


Shrimp can be included in your diet in moderate amounts as part of a healthy eating pattern. Eating 3-6 ounces per day can provide protein, omega-3s, and other nutrients without too many calories. People with increased protein needs may healthily consume 6-12 ounces daily as part of a balanced diet.

Consuming very high amounts of shrimp could lead to excess cholesterol, heavy metal exposure, allergic reactions, or other adverse effects in some individuals. But staying under 12 ounces daily and 84 ounces weekly is likely safe for most people.

Determining how much shrimp to eat depends on your nutritional needs and goals. But shrimp can fit into almost any eating plan in moderation and provide excellent nutritional value.

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