Squid Side Effects and Benefits

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 01/01/23 •  12 min read

What are squid side effects and benefits? Is squid vegan? Gluten free? Acidic or alkaline? Low fodmap? Good for you? Healthy? Sustainable? Here are squid pros and cons: all the info on squid that every ethical consumer wants to know…

squid benefits and side effects

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 squid side effects and benefits.

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

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

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

Squid Benefits And Side Effects


Squid side effects may include:

Squid health benefits may include:

Additionally, squid is…

You Will Love This!
Plant-Based Seafood Cookbook


  • The Complete Cookbook with Easy and Tasty Recipes for Vegan and Seafood Lovers.
  • Learn How to Eat and Live in a Healthy and Sustainable Way.
  • With Colored Quality Pictures!
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
06/15/2023 12:49 pm GMT


Water footprint: unknown

Carbon footprint: high, 5.4 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of cephalopod seafood, a car driving equivalent of 12.5 miles or 20 kilometers

Destruction: high, squid 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

Squid is…


Kills: squid, a type of cephalopod marine animal, must be killed in order to produce squid

Harms: squid, a type of cephalopod marine animal, must be used in order to produce squid, 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

Squid is…


Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible

Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation

Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits


Where does most squid come from?

The world’s top squid exporting country is China, followed by Spain, Falkland Islands, India, Morocco, Peru, New Zealand, USA, Argentina and Vietnam.
About 80% of the seafood consumed in the United States is imported.

Is squid good for you? Healthy? Nutritious?

No and here’s why: Squid may be high in Vitamin B-12, potassium, iron, phosphorus and copper.
However, squid is filled with various toxins (as is most seafood nowadays) and high in cholesterol when fried.

Is squid alkaline or acidic?

Is squid alkaline or acidic?

Squid is acidic once digested.

What is the pH level of squid?

Squid has a 4.5 pH level, 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 found in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.

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

Is squid gluten free?

Is squid gluten free?

Is squid gluten free?

Yes, squid is gluten free. Squid does not contain gluten unless fried, breaded or seasoned.

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

Is squid a common food allergen?

Is squid a common food allergen?

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

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

Is squid high in mercury?

Is squid high in mercury?

No, compared to other seafood, squid 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

Carbon footprint of squid?

Carbon footprint of squid?

Squid has a relatively high carbon footprint compared to other foods.

It takes around 5.4 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of cephalopod seafood, a car driving equivalent of 12.5 miles or 20 kilometers.

When calculating carbon emissions, some factors may include…

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

Is squid sustainable?

Is squid sustainable?

Squid production is relatively unsustainable.

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. In fact, abandoned and lost fishing gear makes up more than 85% of all plastic pollution on sea mounts, ocean ridges and the sea floor. 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.

Read more about ‘What Makes Food Sustainable Or Unsustainable?’

Is squid vegan?

Is squid vegan?

No, squid is not vegan. Squid is a cephalopod, a type of marine animal, therefore making it an animal-derived food. A squid must be killed in order to produce squid. 

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

Does squid have human rights issues?

benefits of buying fair trade, labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

Yes. There are reports of serious worker mistreatment regarding the seafood industry. Squid is a product that has human rights concerns.

There are high numbers of trafficked people promised work but then held at sea against their will. Boats filled with trafficked migrants do not dock, sometimes for years on end, keeping slave workers unseen and trapped at sea, continuing the forced labor. Recruiters trick migrants into thinking they must work to pay off their debts, referred to as “debt peonage”. There is little to no compensation for their work which is given for long periods -maybe even years. Seafood caught illegally from slave worker boats gets mixed in with legal, commercial fishing boats in order to remain undetected.

Fishing workers everywhere are at risk of accident, injury, and death. Injuries include cuts, broken bones, lost fingers, hands and limbs, head injuries and electrocutions. Workers get caught in machinery, get thrown overboard and deaths are reported. Boats are in constant motion, decks are slippery and there can be hazardous machinery present.

Fishing industries around the world are responsible for systematic, illegal fishing practices and human rights abuse. Fishing workers are vulnerable to human trafficking and slave labor, especially 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.

We improve lives around the world if we boycott problematic foods that are difficult for human rights authorities to regulate.

Be sure to read up on this list of ‘Foods You Should Always Buy Fair Trade


Squid advantages include:

Squid disadvantages include:

This post was all about squid side effects and benefits.


World Wide Fund for Nature: Overfishing


Human rights watch: Hidden Chains Rights Abuses and Forced Labor in Thailand’s Fishing Industry

International Labour Office: Caught at sea

NRDC: Mercury Guide

Mollusks, squid, mixed species, raw – FoodData Central

Squid and Squid Byproducts – Agricultural Marketing Service

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.

Keep Reading