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    You Ask, I Answer: Imitation Crabmeat

    I’m curious about imitation crabmeat, [the kind used to make most] California rolls.

    What is it made of? Someone told me that it’s vegetarian?

    How healthy (or unhealthy) is it?

    — Corinne Harris
    Fort Lauderdale, FL

    Practically all imitation crab meat (also known as surimi) is made by deboning and mincing Alaskan pollock — an inexpensive, very mild-flavored fish — and mixing it with a variety of other ingredients.

    What ingredients, you ask?

    Mainly sugar, oil, artificial and/or natural flavorings, and a variety of stabilizers and thickeners like egg whites and potato starch (to give it that chewy texture.)

    It is certainly not vegetarian.

    That said, there are vegetarian mock crab meats out there. These can be very hard to find even in specialty vegetarian stores, so your best bet is to look for online suppliers.

    There are also some tofu-based recipes for “Do It Yourself” vegetarian crab meat.

    From a nutritional standpoint, imitation crab meat contains half the protein, three times the carbohydrate, and approximately twice as much sodium as real crab meat.

    Calorically, though, they are almost identical.



    1. christine said on December 3rd, 2008


      I’ve read that a study showed that we don’t really seem to feel full after drinking caloric drinks like soda, so we can easily guzzle down 600 calories of Pepsi and still feel hungry.

      My question is, does this apply just as much to milk, or soymilk? It seems like while I could still guzzle down a full glass of soymilk and not feel that much more satiated, it definitely fills me up more than drinking a glass of diet Coke.

    2. Luise said on December 4th, 2008

      I have heard mixed things about cold weather and its impact on calorie burning and was hoping you could clear up the matter — do you burn more calories in winter, or do you just feel like you do?

    3. Anonymous said on December 18th, 2008

      i wish to enquire about the nutrition of popiahs, chinese style of wraps or spring rolls serve as snacks in singapore and malaysia. Ingredients used in popiahs are usually stewed turnips, carrots, bean sprouts and eggs, sometimes there will be chinese pork sausages, peanuts and fried flour bits. On top of that, sweet sauce is added to give it a better taste. I frequently eat 4 of these popiah rolls for dinner. However, i only asked for the sweet sauce and veggies to be included and omit the rest. In this way, is eating 4 popiahs still calorie dense? i have the pictures of the different versions of popiahs i eat from different stalls here. I can send you the pictures if need be.. kindly advise on their nutritional facts. thanks aplenty.

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