Imitation crab is an inexpensive, low-carb alternative to real crab. You can find it in a variety of products, from sushi rolls to salads, dips and soups. Imitation crab is also commonly used in Chinese takeout, but it isn't as nutritious or healthy as real seafood.
Imitation crab, also known as krab, is a type of fish paste called surimi that has been in use for over 900 years. It consists of minced fish, starch, egg whites, sugar and other ingredients that mimic the flavor, color and texture of real crab meat.
In addition to the fish paste, imitation crab is usually made from a mixture of water, vegetable oil, starch and protein. These ingredients help the product hold its shape and improve its texture, white color and glossiness.
Imitation crab isn't as nutritionally valuable as real crab, and it doesn't have the same amount of protein, fewer carbohydrates or less sodium. It is also more highly processed and has added additives, like monosodium glutamate (MSG), that can have negative effects on your health.
MSG is a common food additive that's often found in Asian cuisine, but it's also a hidden source of gluten, which can cause digestive problems for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
It's also often high in fat, so it's not the best choice for people who are watching their weight or trying to lose a few pounds.