The imitation crab sticks that are found in supermarkets in fish coolers may seem tempting. They resemble crab, taste a bit like a crab and are far more affordable as well as readily available. But the question about seafood flakes is what is inside them and what makes them taste and look like they do.
Here are a few facts about fake crab:
- “Surimi” is a Japanese term used for ground meat
- These seafood flakes are created by grinding up white fish meat such as Pollock until it becomes a thick type of paste.
- Once the paste is the right consistency, additional ingredients are put into the mixture in order to make this fish paste feel like, taste and smell like a crab.
Here are the ingredients for a popular brand of this imitation crab:
- Alaska Pollock
- Egg whites
- Wheat starch
- Corn starch
This fake crab also contains 2% or under ingredients that include:
- Artificial and natural flavors
- King Crab meat
- Extracts of fish, lobster, scallop, oyster and crab
- Refined fish oils from sardines and anchovies which add a large volume of fat
- Rice wine
- Sea salt
- Modified starch, tapioca, carrageenan, hydrolyzed soy, yam flour, wheat, corn
- Potassium chloride, sodium pyrophosphate, guanylate and disodium inosinate
The Ingredients In Seafood Flakes That Make It An Unhealthy Choice
Potassium chloride is known as a type of salt substitute that has been discovered to contribute to cardiovascular distress, vomiting, nausea, gastrointestinal effects, paralysis and muscular weakness when consumed in high doses.
Guanylate And Disodium Inosinate
These are known as flavor enhancers that are used with MSG (monosodium glutamate). Many individuals have a sensitivity to MSG’s or others do not like the idea of these chemicals in the food they eat. Manufacturers use various similar chemicals or forms so that they no longer have to state that there are MSG’s in their products.In this way, many manufacturers are able to get away without having to state these harmful chemicals.
This is the ingredient used to make the imitation crab sticks appear red on the outer part of the sticks so that they resemble a real crab. Carmine comes from crushed up cochineal beetles that are red in color. A number of the food companies have been under investigation for using this ingredient due to dietary and allergy issues related to the use of insects in a food.
Other Harmful Ingredients
There are a number of other ingredients in seafood flakes that make them unhealthy. One of these is sorbitol which is a type of sugar that could come from a synthetic or naturally occurring state. Carrageenan is a type of seaweed extract which is associated with gastrointestinal and inflammation issues. The hydrolyzed soy is in actual fact a type of MSG.
About Hydrolyzed Ingredients
Hydrolysis is a type of technique that involves extraction from boiling soy protein in sulfuric acid. The manufacturers then mix this acidic substance with another highly harmful ingredient known as caustic soda in order to neutralize the acid.
Extremely High Sodium Content
While imitation crab or seafood flakes are considered to be low in the area of fat, this product contains a very high amount of sodium. Just 2 sticks contain around 20% of the RDA (recommended daily allowance) for sodium intake on a daily basis.
Not A Great Source Of Protein
Because seafood flakes or surimi is considered to be typically fish it is a type of protein source. However, when going on weight tuna and cheese has around five times and lentils have around three times more. When considering all the added ingredients nutrition should not be a consideration when consuming this product.