Lobster is a true delicacy. Perhaps you treat yourself every year on your wedding anniversary or you like to indulge once a month. The major negative buzz about lobster meat is the high cholesterol content. However, if you only crack into a lobster claw once in a while, it likely isn't a concern for your health.
Amount of Cholesterol
Three ounces of steamed lobster meat, roughly the amount of meat you'll get from a 1 1/4-pound lobster, provide approximately 125 milligrams of cholesterol. This makes up about 40 percent of the recommended daily limit of 300 milligrams per day for healthy adults. If you have a family history of heart disease or if you have had high blood cholesterol in the past, keeping your intake of dietary cholesterol to less than 200 milligrams per day helps lower your risk of developing these conditions, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010.
Exceeding the daily recommendation can lead to an array of health problems. Excessive dietary cholesterol intake raises the bad cholesterol in your blood, known as low-density lipoprotein. Your arteries start to build up with plaque and become stiff. At this point, you can suffer from life-threatening blood clots or even a heart attack.
Saturated Fat Concerns
The harmful effects of dietary cholesterol are enhanced when you have large quantities of saturated fat in your diet. Because saturated fat can be devastating to your heart, keep your intake to less than 10 percent of your total calories. Based on an average 2,000-calorie diet, you can have up to 22 grams per day, since fats have 9 calories per gram. The good news is that lobster is low in saturated fat, providing only about 0.2 gram in a 3-ounce portion.
Healthy Cholesterol Levels
Although enjoying lobster here and there isn't a single determining factor for developing high blood cholesterol, you should have your blood cholesterol levels checked every five years after age 20, suggests the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Depending on your current health, your doctor may check your cholesterol more frequently. Genetics, weight, activity level and other dietary components also contribute to high blood cholesterol levels. Optimal total cholesterol levels should be below 200 milligrams per deciliter. Your low-density lipoprotein should to be under 100 milligrams per deciliter, while your high-density lipoprotein should be greater than 60 milligrams per deciliter.
Lobster dishes are often served with melted butter for your dipping pleasure. Using butter as a dipping sauce drastically increases both your cholesterol and saturated fat intake. Two tablespoons of melted butter have a whopping 60 milligrams of cholesterol and nearly 15 grams of saturated fat. Skip the melted butter next time you splurge on freshly caught lobster. Your heart will thank you. If you're boiling lobster at home, add lemon wedges and fresh herbs to the cooking water. The lobster meat will soak up the extra flavorings, so you won't need butter at the table. For additional flavor, squeeze fresh lemon onto your serving of lobster before you eat.
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Crustaceans, Lobster, Northern, Cooked, Moist Heat
- U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: High Blood Cholesterol: What You Need to Know
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Butter, Salted
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.