Fish Egg Nutrition Facts

Calories, Carbs, and Health Benefits of Fish Eggs

Caviar on spoon
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If you’re trying to lose weight or improve your diet, you should probably eat more fish. The American Heart Association recommends that you eat at least two servings of fish each week. But do fish eggs count? And are fish eggs healthy? 

Nutrition Facts

Sturgeon Roe Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 tablespoon (16 g)
Per Serving% Daily Value*
Calories 42 
Calories from Fat 27 
Total Fat 3g
Saturated Fat .65g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.185g
Monounsaturated Fat  0.74g 
Cholesterol 94mg31%
Sodium 240mg10%
Potassium 29mg0.6%
Carbohydrates 1g0%
Dietary Fiber 0g0%
Sugars 0g 
Protein 4g9% 
*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Carbs in Fish Eggs

The amount of carbohydrates in fish eggs varies by species, but regardless of type, roe is not a significant source of carbs. If you eat one tablespoon of sturgeon roe, you'll consume one gram of carbohydrate. But if you add one tablespoon of herring roe or mixed species fish eggs, you'll get zero grams of carbohydrate. There is no significant fiber and no significant sugar in fish eggs.

The estimated glycemic load of fish eggs is zero. Glycemic load is an indicator of how a food affects your blood sugar levels and it takes serving size into account. Many healthy eaters prefer foods with a low glycemic index or low glycemic load.

Fats in Fish Eggs

There is a small amount of three different types of fat in fish eggs. 

There is a very small amount (less than one gram) of saturated fat in sturgeon roe. If you consume herring roe, there is no saturated fat—and zero grams of total fat—in the food.

Saturated fats are considered to be less healthy fats as they may contribute to heart disease. But the amount of saturated fat in fish eggs is not likely to make a difference in your total daily consumption. 

You'll also consume just under 1.2 grams of polyunsaturated fat when you consume a tablespoon of sturgeon roe.

Polyunsaturated fatty acids, also called PUFAs, have a positive effect on the cardiovascular system, so they are considered to be healthy fats. But roe boosts your polyunsaturated fat intake only minimally.

Lastly, you'll get just under one gram of monounsaturated fat from a single serving of sturgeon roe. Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) are believed to increase your HDL cholesterol or "good" cholesterol. Health experts recommend that you replace less healthy fats (such as saturated fats and trans fats) with monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fat. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that 15 to 20 percent of your caloric intake come from monounsaturated fatty acids.

Protein in Fish Eggs

You'll get a small boost of protein in fish eggs, although the amount you get will vary slightly on the variety you choose. Sturgeon fish eggs provide four grams of protein per serving, while herring fish eggs provide just three grams of protein.

Micronutrients in Fish Eggs

A single serving also provides 133 percent of your daily dose of vitamin B12, which can help you to maintain a healthy metabolism and strong heart health. You'll also benefit from 79 milligrams of choline (or 18 percent of your target if you follow a 2,000 calorie per day diet).

Choline supports healthy fat and cholesterol transport in your body and serves other important functions as well.

You'll also get a boost of magnesium (48 milligrams or 15 percent of your recommended daily intake) and a boost of selenium (roughly 19 percent of your recommended daily intake) when you consume fish eggs.

Health Benefits

The health benefits of fish eggs make the food popular with specialty dieters, such as those following the Paleo diet and other low carb eaters. The food is relatively high in cholesterol and can be high in sodium, but it is also a source of healthy fat. One serving of fish eggs provides 439 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA) and 608 milligrams of DHA.

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats, these are fats that must be consumed in the diet because your body does not produce them

The omega-3 fatty acids in fish eggs help to reduce blood clotting and inflammation in the body and also may help dilate blood vessels and lower blood pressure. Researchers also believe that the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish may help to reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and may even help to improve brain and eye health.

Common Questions

What are the different kinds of fish eggs? 

There are different types of fish eggs and you'll see them sold under different names at the fish market or grocery store:

  • Caviar is usually made exclusively from the eggs of sturgeon fish. These fish eggs are cured and then placed in tins for aging and storing. In North America, the term "caviar" is used to describe only roe that comes from sturgeon. But in Europe, the word may describe fish eggs from other sources. There are different types of caviar that come from different types of sturgeon. These include osetra, beluga, sevruga, and Siberian caviar.
  • Roe is the term used for female fish eggs. The eggs may come from a variety of fish, including trout, whitefish, salmon, or even carp and shellfish. Fish eggs may vary in size, texture, and color. 

Is there a nutritional difference between different types of fish eggs?

There can be a nutritional difference between fish egg varieties. For example, sturgeon roe (see label) provides about 42 calories per serving and 3 grams of fat per one-tablespoon serving. But herring roe provides only 20 calories per serving and one gram of fat, according to USDA data. Trout caviar provides roughly 35 calories per tablespoon and three grams of fat.

Why isn't there a nutritional label on the fish eggs I bought in the store?

It's not always easy to find nutritional information for fish eggs when you buy the product online as many roe suppliers are located outside of the United States and may not have to provide a nutritional label. However, when most of us eat fish eggs we eat only a very small amount as a garnish so the roe doesn't significantly change the calorie count or nutritional value of the meal.

Are all fish eggs (caviar and roe) expensive?

Because there are many different types of caviar, there are different price points for the product. Many caviar connoisseurs only buy the very finest fish eggs that can cost a hundred dollars or more per ounce. But there are also many less expensive fish eggs—including shelf-stable varieties—that you'll find for under $10.

Recipes and Preparation Tips

When you serve caviar (or any fish eggs) use a spoon that is not made of metal as it can add a metallic taste to the delicate flavor. Pearl caviar spoons are sold in many markets, but you can also use a plastic or wood spoon if you don't have a pearl spoon at home.

Many fish egg lovers enjoy roe on top of blini (small pancakes), on toast, or if you're going low-carb on top of a cucumber with a dollop of creme fraiche. You'll also see fish eggs used as a garnish on dishes served in many restaurants.

To store caviar, keep it in the coldest part of your refrigerator. When you pull it out to serve, keep it on ice to prevent warming. Try to serve the roe in its original container. Transferring the delicate eggs to a serving dish may damage them and they are best enjoyed intact. Throw away any unused caviar after 2-3 days.

Allergies and Interactions

Trying to manage an allergy to fish eggs or fish can be complicated. According to the American College of Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology, it is possible to be allergic to one type of fish and not to another. It is also possible to be allergic to finned fish, but eating shellfish should be fine.

Lastly, according to several sources, you can be allergic to fish roe (fish eggs) even if you are not allergic to fish. According to the authors of one study, "Roe allergy should be explored in patients who test negative to fish but are suspected of having a seafood-related allergy." And to complicate matters further, it is possible to develop a fish allergy in adulthood, even if you have had no symptoms as a child.

For that reason, if you suspect that you have an allergy to fish or fish eggs and experience symptoms such as hives, skin rash, difficulty breathing, headaches, stuffy nose, or nausea, consult your healthcare provider to get a proper diagnosis. 

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