Imitation crab meat (also known as fake crab meat to some) is not gluten-free. It contains a large portion of wheat and other heavily processed ingredients, making it a bad choice for health concerns.
If you are on a gluten-free diet and are unsure about imitation crab, this article is for you. So, hang tight to know about is imitation crab meat gluten-free.
- Why imitation crab meat is not gluten-free
- If imitation crab meat is actually bad
- Substitutes for imitation crab meat
- Who must avoid having imitation crab meat with a solution
What Is Imitation Crab Meat Made of?
Surimi (white fish paste), starches, egg whites, salt, sugar, and some real crab are usually used to make imitation crab. The exact ingredients can vary among manufacturers.
When eating out or buying frozen meat products, it might be hard to trace gluten.
Where Is It Mostly Used?
Imitation crab meat can be commonly found in the commercial recipes of:
- California Sushi Rolls
- Seafood salads
- Crab cakes
- Crab rangoons
In the US alone, more than 4000 sushi restaurants use imitation crab meat for commercial purposes. So be aware of its presence in sushi rolls or any typical seafood. Gluten-free seafood recipes can be prepared at home using several gluten-free ingredients found in US grocery stores.
Imitation Crab Meat And Real Crab Meat: The Differences
Imitation crab is not crab after all. Let’s see how imitation crab is inferior in terms of nutrition compared to real crab.
|Factors||Imitation crab meat||Real crab|
|Meets DV(daily value) protein||Lower||Higher|
|Meets DV vitamins & minerals||Lower||Higher|
|Major Calorie source||Carb||Protein|
If you are on a low-carb diet and trying to increase your protein intake, imitation crab is not a good option. Because major calories derive from carbs, it is likely to facilitate weight gain.
Additionally, real crab is significantly higher in vitamin B12, zinc, and selenium than imitation crab.
The amount of Surimi or Pollock is combined with a blend of other ingredients that don’t contain significant vitamins or minerals.
What Brands of Imitation Crab Are Gluten-Free?
Most imitation crab on the market is not gluten-free, as it often contains wheat. These are a few brands that manufacture gluten-free imitation crab meat.
- TransOcean (Certified)
- Kanimi Seafarer Treasures (Not Certified)
- Dyna Sea (Not Certified)
- Classic Creations (Not Certified)
Gluten-free imitation crab meat is comparatively new to the market and research is still going on. So cross-check the labels and nutritional values on the frozen items to be 100% sure about those being gluten-free.
Note that brands often change their ingredients from time to time. In order to be updated on this, you can check the manufacturer’s official page.
Safer Substitutes for Imitation Crab Meat
Use the following gluten-free fillers to replace imitation crab without compromising nutrition.
- Hearts of palm
- Canned tuna
- Canned salmon
- Cooked chicken breast
Imitation crab contains numerous additives and preservatives that may negatively impact your health.
Here are some brands of these substitutes for you to consider. Discover the nutritional aspects of these alternatives to determine their comparative value.
Wellsley Farms Hearts of Palm is Gluten-free and they have very few calories but are packed with iron, fiber, and manganese. It almost tastes like crab meat when seasoned lightly.
Hearts of Palm, Water, Salt, Citric Acid
A nutritional value comparison between Imitation Crab Meat and Heart of Palms(serving size per ½ cup).
|Elements||Heart of Palms||Imitation Crab Meat|
|Cholesterol||0 mg||22.95 mg|
|Sodium||240 mg||607 mg|
|Total Sugar||2 g||7.155 g|
If you want to cut back on sugar and fat, heart of palms is a better choice than imitation crab meat.
Good Catch Plant-Based Seafood Frozen Variety Pack
Are you thinking if imitation crab meats are vegan? The answer is no. However, there are substitutes for imitation crab meats which are gluten-free and vegan. Not only they are nutritious, but they also give a fresh taste of crab.
Water, Pea Protein Isolate, Soy Protein Concentrate, Chickpea Flour, Faba Protein, Lentil Protein, Soy Protein Isolate, Navy Bean Powder, Red Bell Peppers, Green Onions, Sunflower Oil, Corn Starch, Parsley, Natural Flavors, Lemon Juice, Salt, Methylcellulose, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Paprika, Yeast Extracts, Spices.
A nutritional value comparison between Imitation Crab Meat and Plant-based Seafood is given below.
|Elements||Plant-based Seafood||Imitation Crab Meat|
|Calories||160 g||109.35 g|
|Total Fat||5 g||0.54|
|Cholesterol||0 mg||22.95 mg|
|Sodium||570 mg||607 mg|
|Total Sugar||1 g||7.155 g|
Plant-based Seafood is undoubtedly a safer choice as it has no cholesterol at all. It is also a safer substitute for heart disease patients as it is cholesterol-free. And plant-based seafood is low in sugar, sodium, and harmful saturated fat.
Is Imitation Crab Meat Healthy?
It partly depends on who you are. See below who should totally avoid imitation crab meat.
- Patients with seafood allergy
- Patients with Celiac diseases
- People with little to heavy gluten sensitivity
- Patients with diabetes
However, if you are not one of them, you are safe. Imitation crab meat is not a good choice if you are on a keto diet or living a healthy lifestyle.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is It Safe to Eat Imitation Crab Meat While Pregnant?
It is not harmful if you have imitation crab meat while pregnant, but make sure to not exceed the limit. Due to having sugars, preservatives, and increased sodium content, it is not considered beneficial for your health. If you have certain seafood allergies, you better avoid having them. Seek your doctor’s advice to ensure a proper pregnancy diet.
Can Vegetarians Have Imitation Crab Meat?
No, because imitation crab meat is generally produced from white-fleshed surimi, making it a no-no for vegetarians. However, there are substitutes for imitation crab meats that do not include any meat ingredients, making it a vegan meal.
Is Imitation Crab Meat Halal?
Imitation crab meat is halal as long as it is made from pollock or surimi. But as a processed seafood product, it’s possible that it contains ingredients considered haram, including food coloring. Make sure to check the labels if it is marked halal.
Now you know all about is imitation crab meats gluten-free, and make safer eating choices. If you care about your health, hope reading this article helped you to reach one step closer to your goal.