If you’re a true-blue Singaporean like us, you’d most probably share an unhealthy obsession for seafood, especially crabs. One thing that stopped us from indulging in such seafood is the hefty price tag, but we got to satisfy our craving or we’ll get irritated and crabby (pun intended), so we turn to substitutes like crab sticks.
They’re cheap, taste a little bit like crab and are pretty chewy. As far as fake stuff goes, crab sticks rate pretty high in the average Singaporean’s list. Do you have an unhealthy love for crab sticks? We know we do, with most writers in the office having a pack or two of crab sticks in the freezer, ready to throw into a pot together with Maggie mee whenever we feel like it.
Well, or at least we did, until we’ve come across this and decided, well, maybe we might want to cut back on this favorite ‘delicacy’ of Singaporeans. You’ll know what we mean when you read about what crab sticks really do to your body.
Okay, before we really get into why we should stop eating crab sticks, let’s just take a quick look at what really goes into this delicious pseudo-crab that keeps us eating it again, and again, and again.
Alaska Pollock, Water, Egg Whites, Wheat Starch, Sugar, Corn Starch, Sorbitol, Contains 2% or Less of the Following: King Crab Meat, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Extracts of Crab, Oyster, Scallop, Lobster and Fish (Salmon, Anchovy, Bonito, Cutlassfish), Refined Fish Oil (Adds a Trivial Amount of Fat) (Anchovy, Sardine), Rice Wine (Rice, Water, Koji, Yeast, Salt), Sea Salt, Modified Tapioca Starch, Carrageenan, Yam Flour, Hydrolyzed Soy, Corn, and Wheat Proteins, Potassium Chloride, Disodium Inosinate and Guanylate, Sodium Pyrophosphate, Carmine, Paprika.
Other than being a salt substitute to give that savoury taste, it’s also said to cause cardiovascular distress, muscular weakness and paralysis, and gastrointestinal effects of nausea and vomiting when taken in large doses.
Disodium inosinate and Guanylate
Flavor enhancers used together with MSG, manufacturers used these to avoid putting MSG on their food label.
A binding agent to bind everything together and maintain acidity level. It’s also said that it’s twice as toxic as table salt when eaten, and may cause some to feel stomach cramps and discomfort.
You know how our crab sticks look has red strips which makes it look like a real crab? It’s carmine, and made from crushed cochineal beetles.
This ingredient has all the health benefits of soy, but at the same time, it also contains loads of MSG which not mentioned on some labels.
High Sodium Content
It’s ‘healthy’ because it’s low in fat, but the sodium content is high which may lead to problems like kidney failure.
It’s not really high in protein
You’ll be thinking, since it’s made from Pollack, it’s probably high in protein since it’s fish after all, right? If you’re eating them for nutritional value, eating lentils, cheese and tuna would probably give you more protein.
But since most Singaporeans eat this for the taste, this point probably won’t affect much. And as a bonus, let’s take a quick look at the production process. It’s probably going to turn you off from crab sticks, at least for a little while.
And a final thing before we end off, this doesn’t mean we’re saying totally cut off from crab sticks.
I mean, almost everything we’re eating nowadays has hidden secrets behind them anyway, from pesticides to huge, overgrown durians, you can’t be sure that everything’s safe for consumption, but what you can do is to cut back on eating crab sticks if you’ve a habit of eating them every. Single. Day.