Prawns could be set for a sales boost after new research busted the myth that the shellfish raises levels of bad cholesterol.

University of Surrey researchers found eating 225g of prawns a day had no effect on blood cholesterol. Prawn-eating volunteers were compared with a control group eating crab sticks in the 24-week crossover study.

Producers now hoped health care professionals would stop giving outdated advice to patients to cut back on prawns, said Shellfish Association of Great Britain director Tom Pickerell. The NHS, British Heart Foundation and Medical Research Council all agreed that dietary cholesterol nearly four times higher in the prawn diet than in the control group had little effect on blood cholesterol, he pointed out.

“Prawns are low in satfat and calories and a rich source of omega-3. They should form part of a healthy diet,” said Pickerell.