What Is Easier To Digest: Chicken or Shrimp?

When it comes to easy-to-digest proteins, both chicken and shrimp can be great options But is one easier on the digestive system than the other? We’ll examine the digestibility of chicken versus shrimp to help you determine which is gentler for your gut

An Overview of Digestibility

Digestibility refers to how quickly and easily a food can be broken down by the digestive system into particles small enough for nutrient absorption. More digestible foods require less work by the gut.

Multiple factors affect digestibility, including

  • Fiber content – Fiber slows digestion. Foods low in fiber digest more rapidly.

  • Fat content – High-fat foods take longer to digest. Leaner options are easier.

  • Cooking method – Raw foods are harder to digest. Cooking breaks down cell walls.

  • Spices and seasonings – Heavily spiced food can irritate the gut. Milder seasonings are gentler.

  • Individual tolerances – People vary in what foods their digestive system handles best.

When comparing two protein foods, looking at their fiber content, fat content, and typical cooking methods provides a good starting point for determining digestibility.

Chicken Digestibility

Chicken is considered one of the more easily digested meats. Here’s an overview of how digestible it is:

  • Low in fat – Chicken is a lean source of protein. The fat content depends on the cut, with breast meat being the lowest. Skinless chicken breast contains only about 3 grams of fat per 3 ounce cooked serving.

  • Low in fiber – Chicken contains no fiber, unlike plant foods. The lack of fiber makes it more rapidly digestible.

  • Mild flavor – Chicken has a neutral, mild taste. Spicy seasonings are added in cooking but aren’t inherent to chicken like they are to some other meats.

  • Well-cooked – Chicken is always thoroughly cooked for food safety, which breaks down its protein and makes it easier to digest.

  • Easy to chew – Chicken has a tender, delicate texture that most people find easy to chew. This helps the digestion process.

So with its lack of fiber, low fat when skinless, mild flavor, and soft texture, chicken is one of the more digestible protein options. Exactly how easy it is to digest can vary based on your personal tolerances.

Shrimp Digestibility

Like chicken, shrimp is considered easy on the digestive system. Here’s an overview:

  • Low in fat – Shrimp is very low in fat, with only about 0.1 grams per 3 ounce serving. The low fat content avoids taxing the digestive system.

  • No carbs or fiber – Shrimp contains no carbs or fiber. The lack of fiber helps the digestive process.

  • Delicate protein – Shrimp protein has a delicate texture that breaks down readily with cooking.

  • Commonly peeled – Eating shrimp peeled avoids the chitin in shells that can be hard to digest.

  • Often cooked – Shrimp are often cooked by boiling, grilling, or baking, which partially breaks down the proteins before eating.

  • Small serving size – A 3 ounce portion of shrimp is a small amount of food for the stomach to work on at one time.

  • Low residue – Shrimp leaves behind little undigested food residue, indicating easy digestion.

So with its lack of fiber, low fat content, no carbs, and the ease of its proteins breaking down during cooking, shrimp is also highly digestible for most people.

Chicken vs. Shrimp Digestibility

When looking at the digestibility of chicken versus shrimp, they have more similarities than differences:


  • Low in fat when prepared without skin or batter
  • Require thorough cooking for food safety
  • Contain no carbohydrates or fiber
  • Have delicate, tender textures of protein
  • Leave minimal undigested residue


  • Shrimp protein requires slightly less breakdown than chicken
  • Shrimp eaten peeled avoids chitin shells
  • Smaller serving size of shrimp reduces workload for digestion

The differences give shrimp a slight advantage for being easier to digest. But the digestibility of both is quite high in most individuals.

Tips for Digestive Problems

For those prone to digestive problems, a few simple tweaks can make chicken or shrimp even easier on your system:

  • Remove skin from chicken before cooking
  • Avoid deep frying or breading shrimp
  • Season mildly with herbs and spices
  • Go easy on fat or oils added during cooking
  • Make soups or broths to retain nutrients if solids are troublesome

Start with small portion sizes of 3 ounces or less when introducing these proteins. You can try digestive enzymes or probiotics as a supplement if needed.

The Bottom Line

Overall, both chicken and shrimp are great lean protein choices when you want something that’s easy on your gut! Add them to your menu plan when you need digestible, high-quality proteins that provide nutrients without upsetting your stomach.

FOOD DIGESTION TIME Comparison : How Long Does it Take to Digest These Foods?


Is seafood easier to digest than chicken?

The protein in seafood is also easier to digest because it has less connective tissue than red meats and poultry. This is one reason why fish muscle is so fragile, and why it flakes when cooked and can be eaten without further cutting or slicing.

Is shrimp easy on the digestive system?

Shrimp that is fried or cooked in heavy sauces can be harder to digest, as the added fats and oils can slow down the digestive process. On the other hand, shrimp that is grilled or boiled is easier to digest, as it is cooked with minimal added fats and oils.

What’s better for you, shrimp or chicken?

As you can see, shrimp is significantly lower in calories than both chicken and beef. Additionally, while chicken and beef have the same amount of protein per serving, shrimp has a slightly lower amount.

Is chicken easy or hard to digest?

Chicken also provides a range of minerals and B vitamins. Chicken tends to be easy to digest. It also contains no fiber, making it a good choice for people with digestive issues, such as IBS. Baked or grilled, skinless chicken is a healthful option, as it contains the least fat.

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