Lobster: Nutrition Facts

Calories in Lobster and Its Health Benefits

 Justin Sullivan / Staff/ Getty Images News/Getty Images 

There is nothing quite like sinking your teeth into the tender, sweet meat of a freshly steamed lobster. Although often thought of as a delicacy due to its cost, lobster is a wonderfully versatile protein source that offers a host of nutritional benefits. Lobster is low in calories, fat, and sodium, and rich in protein, B vitamins, phosphorous, and potassium.

A member of the crustacean family, lobster is a hard bodied shellfish with joint appendages found in fresh and salt water.

Lobsters have brown to blue-black outer shells that turn red when cooked. The most common market species include the Maine lobster, found in cold waters along the northeast coast, and the spiny lobster, most typically sold as frozen tails and identified as rock lobster. Spiny lobsters are either cold water tails which come from South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand or warm-water tails which are found off Florida, Brazil, and the Caribbean.

There are also clawless forms of lobster found in tropical and subtropical waters worldwide; however, their flavor has been said to be inferior to both Main and spiny lobsters. Lastly, Langoustine lobsters are small North Atlantic lobsters.

Lobster Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Lobster Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 4oz raw Spiny Lobster (113 g)
Per Serving% Daily Value*
Calories 127 
Calories from Fat  
Total Fat 1.7g3%
Saturated Fat 0.3 g0%
Cholesterol 79mg26%
Sodium 201mg8%
Carbohydrates 2.8 g1%
Dietary Fiber 0g0%
Sugars 0g 
Protein 23g 
Vitamin A 1% · Vitamin C 3%
Calcium 6% · Iron 14%
*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Lobster is a low calorie protein source, one four ounce portion containing 23 grams. Protein is an essential macronutrient that is important in immune function, cell repair, muscle building, and energy production.

Lobster is also a good source of phosphorous, a mineral important in several biological processes, including bone mineralization, cell signaling, and energy production.

It is also a good source of magnesium and contains some potassium. Magnesium is involved in multiple pathways, including energy production and protein synthesis, and potassium rich diets can help to lower blood pressure.

Lobster is also a good source of B-vitamins, which aid in energy production, and iron, an essential component important in oxygen transport, energy production and DNA synthesis.

Isn't Lobster High in Cholesterol?

Lobster does contain some cholesterol, however, a small portion (about four ounces) does not provide a large amount.

The USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 lifted the guidelines of limiting dietary cholesterol to no more than 300 mg/day. However, it is important to limit high cholesterol foods that also contain high levels of saturated and trans fat—such as processed and cured meats, fried, and processed foods.

The shift in thinking is because we have learned throughout the years that dietary cholesterol may not impact blood cholesterol as much as we thought. Instead, we should focus on limiting unhealthy fats such as trans fat and saturated fat and eating more quality fats, such as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated ones.

Picking and Storing Lobster 

If you are looking to purchase a live lobster, there are a few things you want to look out for.

  • The Shell: Lobsters grow by shedding their old, hard shell and replacing it with a soft, new shell. Younger lobsters molt a few times per year, whereas older ones molt about once a year.
    If you are looking for a sweeter flavor and an easier to open lobster, you'll want to find a lobster with a softer shell. These lobsters also have some water in their shell that can be used for soup and to flavor other foods. If you purchase a harder shelled lobster, you are likely to receive more meat with a brinier taste.
  • Gender: Most lobster experts say both genders taste equally soft and delicious, however, only female lobsters have "coral" or roe, which is an internal edible egg sac that can be used to enrich recipes. If you want a female lobster, turn it upside down and look at the tiny flippers on its tail, those closest to the head are the reproductive organs. If they are hard, it's a male, if they are soft and feathery, it's a female.
  • Activity: They should be feisty and not sluggish.
  • Appearance and Feel: They should be heavy for their size. They tails should curl when you lift them.
  • Size: The larger the lobster, the more it will cost. Lobsters range in size from "chickens," which are about one pound, to "jumbo," which can be more than two and a half pounds.

If you are not interested in buying live fresh lobster, you can also purchase lobster meat which is available, fresh, frozen, or blanched. Many fish stores will even cook the lobsters for you, crack them, save the meat, and give you the shells if you need them to make a stock or a soup.

Lastly, lobster tails can also be purchased and can be bought in or out of the shell, fresh or frozen.

If you purchase whole, live lobsters, keep them on the bottom of the refrigerator to avoid cross contamination, in a bag with a frozen gel pack inside. They can stay alive for 36 to 48 hours and should be discarded if they are not alive before you cook them.

Healthy Ways to Prepare Lobster 

Lobsters are known for their sweet, rich flavor and savory texture. Because they are naturally flavorful, they can be prepared simply and still taste delicious.

Typically, lobsters are prepared using low-fat cooking methods, which make them a healthy, low calorie protein option. They can be poached, steamed, simmered, baked, or grilled and taste delicious hot and cold. Lobster meat can be used in prepared dishes, salads, soups and sauces. Aim to avoid foods that contain large amounts of mayonnaise, butter, or cream, as these types of food tend to have more calories and fat.

In addition to the white meat, the tomalley (which is an olive green liver) and coral (the reproductive roe found in women lobster species) can be eaten. These inside parts of the lobster are typically used in sauces.

Recipes with Lobster

Basic Steamed Lobster

Grilled Rock Lobster Tails

Lobster, Avocado, and Grapefruit Salad

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