King crab's nutrition profile makes it a great source of protein with minimal fat and zero carbs. Harvard Health Publishing recommends adding shellfish to your weekly diet to lower your risk of developing high blood pressure, noting that fish, nuts and legumes can help ward off hypertension.
There are around 130 calories in one king crab leg, but this varies depending on how the crab is prepared. There will be more calories in king crab legs cooked with butter or oil.
Shellfish is an ideal protein source for people eating a pescatarian diet, and the low number of carbs in king crab legs make it suitable for people on a high protein diet. If fresh crab is too expensive, there are plenty of tasty and healthy meals you can make using canned crab or imitation options.
Read more: 7 Reasons to Consider a Pescatarian Diet
King Crab Nutrition Information
Accurate king crab nutrition info will depend on your serving size and how the dish is prepared. According to the USDA, there are 130 calories in one king crab leg, which weighs about 134 grams.
This portion will provide 26 grams of protein, just over 2 grams of fat, zero grams of carbs, 79 milligrams of calcium, 1 milligram of iron, over 84 milligrams of magnesium, 375 milligrams of phosphorus, 351 milligrams of potassium, 1,440 milligrams of sodium, 10 milligrams of zinc and almost 2 milligrams of copper.
A 3-ounce serving of king crab provides 82 calories, 16 grams of protein, over 1 gram of fat and zero grams of carbohydrates. It also contains 50 milligrams of calcium, less than 1 milligram of iron, 54 milligrams of magnesium, 238 milligrams of phosphorus, 223 milligrams of potassium, 911 milligrams of sodium, over 6 milligrams of zinc and 1 milligram of copper.
Imitation Alaskan crab, made from a fish paste, provides 81 calories in a 3-ounce serving. Though a similar amount of calories, it has far less protein and more carbohydrate compared to king crab. Imitation Alaskan crab has just 6 grams of protein but 13 grams of carbs.
Read more: The 9 Safest Seafood Options
According to the USDA, there are no carbs in king crab legs. Other types of shellfish, such as shrimp, are also low-carb options. Of course, you can increase the amount of carbs in king crab legs depending on how you prepare them. For example, breading or deep-frying crab meat will increase the carb count.
King Crab Safety
When you are buying crab to prepare at home, follow the food safety tips from the Food and Drug Administration. The Food and Drug Administration says that crabs and lobsters spoil "rapidly" after death, so it's best to select them when they're alive — and they should be showing some movement.
If you prefer to purchase frozen seafood, avoid any packages that are open or torn or have hard ice crystals on them (this could signify that the package was thawed and then refrozen). Also, frozen seafood should not be bendable inside the package.
When cooking, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says to separate raw seafood from any ready-to-eat foods. That means you should use a different chopping board and utensils for raw foods, store them separately in your fridge or freezer, and make sure to thoroughly wash your hands with soap and hot water after handling.
- USDA: "Crustaceans, Crab, Alaska King, Cooked, Moist Heat"
- USDA: "Crustaceans, Crab, Alaska King, Imitation, Made From Surimi"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Beating High Blood Pressure With Food"
- Food and Drug Administration: "Selecting and Serving Fresh and Frozen Seafood Safely"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Four Steps (Clean, Separate, Cook, Chill) to Food Safety"