How Much Protein Is in Shrimp?

Whole, cooked shrimp in a bowl.

Shrimp is America's favorite seafood, according to The average American consumes 4.2 lbs. of shrimp each year. The firm, slightly sweet crustaceans are grilled, sauteed, steamed, breaded or fried. They provide a protein source in the diet, and protein is important for tissue growth and repair, as well as enzyme production. Including an appropriate amount of protein in the diet can be challenging. Knowing the nutritional value to monitor protein intake is a reasonable strategy for meeting nutritional requirements.

Protein in Shrimp

A 3-oz. serving of shrimp provides 11.6 g of protein. Shrimp is a healthy protein source relative to many other protein choices because it contains only 0.1 g saturated fat, provides omega-3 fatty acids and contains few contaminants. The preparation method helps determine the healthfulness of shrimp. Additives such as butter, breading, oil and sauces reduce its nutritional value. Like all animal sources of protein, shrimp is a complete protein, containing all the amino acids the human body needs to function.

Protein Guidelines

The U.S. Department of Agriculture 2010 Dietary Guidelines include a protein recommendation range based on a variety of factors, including activity level, age and gender. A standard protein requirement range is 50 to 175 g each day, or 10 to 35 percent of daily nutrient intake. For an average 2,000-calorie diet, protein should account for 200 to 700 calories a day. Each gram of protein equals four calories.

Protein Comparisons

Shrimp provides approximately 46 calories of protein in the diet. Relative to other seafood and meat types, shrimp's protein contribution is relatively low. A 3-oz. serving of beef provides 25 g, or 100 calories of protein; a 3-oz. serving of chicken breast provides 26.7 g, or 107 calories of protein; and a 3-oz. fillet of cod provides 15.9 g, or 64 calories of protein.


A serving of shrimp provides 107 mg of cholesterol. The USDA recommends consuming no more than 300 mg of cholesterol each day. A combination of shrimp with other high-cholesterol foods, such as eggs, can quickly accumulate and cause an overconsumption of cholesterol that might lead to cardiovascular complications, such as clogged arteries.