Shrimp Side Effects + Benefits

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 07/03/22 •  12 min read
shrimp benefits and side effects

What are shrimp side effects and benefits every ethical consumer must know? Here are shrimp pros and cons and how buying them will impact your health, the environment, animals and laborers. 

Food is something we consume every day and if you’re like me, you do all the research you can to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, the planet, animals or others when shopping. As an ethical consumer myself, I am giving you all the info I’ve found on shrimp benefits and side effects.

You are going to learn all about shrimp benefits and side effects. This will include shrimp benefits for your health and potential risks, shrimp water footprint and shrimp carbon footprint, shrimp sustainability, if shrimp are vegan or impact animals in other ways, and much more. 

After learning if shrimp are good or bad for you, the environment, animals and human rights, you will be able to make the best choices you can the next time you buy food.

This post is all about shrimp benefits and side effects that every ethical consumer should know.

Must-Know Shrimp Benefits And Side Effects

Health

Energy: shrimp is bad for / increases the risk of memory loss from PBCs, sickness from bacterial contamination, seafood is the number one cause of food poisoning in the United States, which leads to many side effects and causes extreme discomfort, high levels of mercury can lead to depression and anxiety

Longevity: shrimp is bad for / increases the risk of antibiotic resistance, toxic chemicals known to cause cancer and brain degeneration, toxic contaminants and heavy metals from polluted water habitats, PBCs may cause liver damage, nervous system disorders, and fetal damage, dioxins, also linked to cancer and death, radioactive substances like strontium 90 and other dangerous contaminants like cadmium, mercury poisoning, lead, chromium, and arsenic, which can cause health problems such as kidney damage, impaired mental development and cancer, high levels of mercury can lead to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, autism, mercury exposure can also lead to high blood pressure, an increased risk of heart attacks and higher LDL (bad) cholesterol

Appearance: shrimp is good for / helps hair growth, hair health

Shrimp is…

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Environment

Water footprint: unknown

Carbon footprint: high, 7.05 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of farmed, frozen shrimp, a car driving equivalent of 16.25 miles or 26 kilometers

Destruction: high, shrimp production is relatively destructive, negative impact on marine ecosystems, discarded fishing nets pollute oceans, fishing damages coral, sponges and poses severe threat to marine habitats

Shrimp is…

Animals

Kills: shrimp, a decapod crustacean, must be killed in order to produce shrimp

Harms: shrimp, a decapod crustacean, must be used in order to produce shrimp, farmed fish spend their entire lives (up to two years) confined in tightly packed spaces, most farmed fish are predators and eat smaller fish, billions of wild fish must be caught in order to feed them, it can take several pounds of ocean fish to produce just one pound of farmed fish 

Indirectly kills or harms: sea-life, such as dolphins, sea turtles, protected fish, whales, seabirds etc. known as “bycatch”, unwanted marine life that unintentionally get caught, hooked and entangled in fishing nets

Shrimp is…

Laborers

Health and safety: hazardous, fishing workers are at risk of accident, injury, and death, reports show 20% of workers and almost 50% of trafficked victims have been injured on the job, injuries include cuts, broken bone, lost fingers, hands and limbs, head injuries, electrocutions, workers get caught in machinery, get thrown overboard, deaths are reported, boat decks are slippery and in constant motion, there can be hazardous machinery present

Living conditions: poor, fishing boats often lack toilets, intensive labor, rapid exhaustion, workers are held at sea and work against their will, they load catch onto bigger, commercial fishing boats in exchange for food and supplies, seafood caught illegally from slave worker boats gets mixed in with legal, commercial fishing boats in order to remain undetected, boats filled with trafficked migrants do not dock, sometimes for years, keeping slave workers unseen, trapped at sea, continuing forced labor and abuse, fishing industries around the world are responsible for systematic, illegal, fishing practices, human rights abuse, fishing workers are vulnerable to human trafficking and slave labor, in countries like Thailand (the third largest seafood exporter in the world), Burma, Indonesia, and Fiji seafood slavery is a major issue for migrant workers originally from Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, seafood consumed in the United States is mostly from foreign sources

Wages: low, recruiters promise well paying jobs to poor, unskilled and vulnerable laborers, recruiters trick migrants into thinking they must work to pay off their debts, referred to as “debt peonage”, and little to no compensation for their work is given for long periods and maybe even years and are paid below the minimum wage 

Shrimp…

Where does most shrimp come from?

The world’s top shrimp exporting country is India, followed by Indonesia, Ecuador, Vietnam, Argentina, Thailand, Spain, Mexico, China and Bangladesh.

Thailand is the third largest seafood exporter in the world and one of the world’s largest shrimp exporters.

About 80% of the seafood consumed in the United States is imported.

Is shrimp nutritious?

Shrimp is high in protein, omega-3 fatty acids and the antioxidant astaxanthin but is high in sodium and often contains antibiotics.

shrimp is acidic. shrimp side effects include being acidic.

shrimp side effects include being acidic.

Is shrimp alkaline or acidic?

Shrimp is acidic once digested.

When you eat food, it breaks down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.

Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List

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shrimp is gluten free.

glutinous foods have side effects but a gluten free diet can help

Is shrimp gluten free? Yes, shrimp is gluten free. Shrimp does not contain gluten when unseasoned and unbreaded. Shrimp is a type of crustacean shellfish, therefore making it a naturally gluten free food. 

While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…

Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:

There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.

Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List

shrimp is a common food allergen: crustacean shellfish.

shrimp side effects include common food allergy

Is shrimp a common food allergen? Yes, shrimp is a common food allergen: crustacean shellfish. Many people experience allergic reactions to shrimp.

A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:

These foods account for about 90% of all food allergies in the United States.

Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. 

Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.

Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List

shrimp contains low levels of mercury.

shrimp side effects include mercury

Is shrimp high in mercury?

No, compared to other kinds of seafood, shrimp is relatively low in mercury but contains mercury nevertheless.

Mercury is metal that produces toxic effects to the body. If consumed in high quantities it poisons the kidneys and nervous system. Mercury occurs naturally at low levels in rock, water and soil…

However, human activity (most notably the burning of fossil fuels) has dangerously increased mercury levels to be around 450% higher than natural. 

Which fish have mercury? Read more about Mercury Levels in Fish

shrimp has a high carbon footprint. shrimp side effects include using lots of energy and emitting pollution.

shrimp side effects include using lots of energy and emitting pollution.

Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Since carbon measurements are a bit more difficult to comprehend, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance which a car drives in miles or kilometers.

When calculating carbon emissions, some factors may include…

There are a number of steps we can take to reduce energy output. According to Oxford Martin School researchers, if the world went vegan, eliminating animal-derived products, it could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two thirds and avoid climate damages of $1.5 trillion.

But that’s not all!

It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:

Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

shrimp is unsustainable. shrimp side effects include being environmentally destructive.

is shrimp sustainable

Whether farmed or wild caught, the seafood industry is environmentally destructive due to its direct impact on decreasing marine populations, polluting waters and habitat destruction.

Wild-caught fish and seafood is destructive due to overfishing (when populations die at a greater rate than they are able to replenish). Degraded ecosystems occur as a result and creates an imbalance that impacts important food chains. Consequently, vulnerable aquatic species like sea turtles and coral suffer. Scientists predict oceans will be fishless by 2048. Such a major loss in biodiversity would be catastrophic, as oceans regulate temperature and contribute to half of our oxygen on Earth.

There’s also an alarming amount of plastic pollution in our oceans. Abandoned and lost fishing gear make up more than 85% of all plastic pollution. Nets, traps and hooks continue to kill marine life. According to Greenpeace, “Abandoned fishing nets kill and injure more than 100,000 whales, dolphins, seals and turtles each year”.

Fish farming, or aquafarming, is not a sustainable alternative. Not only do farmed fish need to be fed fish to eat (perpetuating a never-ending cycle of fishing) but waters become contaminated with antibiotics (to prevent disease that inevitably occurs with overcrowded fish confinements), pesticides, parasites and fish feces. The toxic water then spreads to waterways and oceans, polluting ecosystems and eventually killing off wild fish populations.

All of the aforementioned fishing practices occur in order to meet global demand. The obvious solution for protecting our Earth’s oceans and waterways, marine habitats, ecosystems and wildlife is for consumers to significantly reduce or eliminate their seafood demand entirely.

shrimp is not vegan. shrimp side effects include killing animals.

is shrimp vegan

Is shrimp vegan? No, shrimp is not vegan. Shrimp is a type of crustacean, a living marine animal, therefore making it an animal-derived food. A shrimp must be killed in order to produce shrimp. 

Animals of factory farming are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. Growth hormones allow all kinds of animals to become fatter faster and live short lives.

Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.

Go vegan for animals!

It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.

Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non-Vegan Foods List

shrimp is a product with labor issues. shrimp side effects include human rights issues.

shrimp side effects include human rights issues

Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized. 

Sadly, many labor concerns exist around the world in both developed and developing countries. We must be vigilant to ensure what we buy is not contributing to industries that are unfair to their valuable workers. Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even experience harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death! 

Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. 

Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards. 

We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade. 

This post was all about shrimp benefits and side effects.

Sources:

shrimp – FoodData Central

Shrimp | Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife – WDFW

World Wide Fund for Nature: Overfishing

Animal equality: 4 WAYS THE FISHING INDUSTRY IS DESTROYING THE PLANET

NRDC: Mercury Guide

Global Citizen: The 6 Worst Foods To Buy If You Care About Humanity

How many animals are killed for food every day

Adriane Marie

Hi, I'm Adriane, creator of HEALabel! I organize info for you to comprehensively see how purchases impact health, environment, animals and laborers. Stay aware because you care! Subscribe below to get my weekly newsletter with tips, new info and other ethical consumer insight.

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