Oysters are a low-calorie, high-nutrient food, and fit well into a healthy, balanced diet. One 3-ounce serving of fresh oysters contains just 69 calories, making it a far lighter choice than other proteins such as T-bone steak, which contains more than double the calories in the same-size serving. However, eating raw oysters comes with a risk, so you're safest steaming or baking the mollusks instead.
Oysters have relatively few calories but provide more than 8 grams of protein per serving; for perspective, men need about 56 grams of protein per day, while women need about 46 grams. Oysters are also high in zinc, which is necessary for healthy skin and immune function, as well as rich in copper, which is essential for healthy bones and red blood cells.
Oysters may be lean and nutritious, but eating them raw may expose you to a potentially deadly bacteria strain called Vibrio vulnificus, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Even eating small portions of affected oysters may lead to serious illness -- and mixing the oysters with hot sauce or alcohol will not kill the bacteria. Because it's impossible for consumers to distinguish tainted specimens from safe ones, the FDA advises against eating any uncooked oysters.
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Basic Report: 15171, Mollusks, Oyster, Pacific, Raw
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Basic Report:13480, Beef, Short Loin, T-Bone Steak, Separable Lean Only, Trimmed to 0" fat, All Grades, Cooked, Broiled
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Raw Oyster Myths
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Protein
- WomensHealth.gov: Fitness and Nutrition: Minerals