The #1 Worst Canned Tuna to Buy, Says Dietitian — Eat This Not That

By Ghuman


When it comes to canned tuna, it can be hard to know which brands are the best and which ones to avoid. Unfortunately, some brands of canned tuna are not as healthy as they may seem. According to dietitian, Eat This Not That, the #1 worst canned tuna to buy is a certain brand. In this article, we will discuss why this brand is the worst canned tuna to buy and what to look for when choosing a healthier option.

The #1 Worst Canned Tuna to Buy, Says Dietitian — Eat This Not That

If you’re looking for a healthy and nutritious snack, canned tuna is a great option. But not all canned tuna is created equal. According to dietitian and nutritionist, Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, there is one type of canned tuna that you should avoid at all costs.

Gorin recommends steering clear of light tuna packed in oil. This type of tuna is usually made from skipjack or yellowfin tuna, and is often the least expensive option. However, it is also the least healthy. Light tuna packed in oil is high in fat and calories, and contains more mercury than other types of canned tuna.

Instead, Gorin recommends opting for white albacore tuna packed in water. This type of tuna is made from albacore tuna, which is a larger species of tuna. It is lower in fat and calories than light tuna packed in oil, and contains less mercury. Plus, it is a great source of lean protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

So, the next time you’re at the grocery store, make sure to check the label and opt for white albacore tuna packed in water. Your body will thank you!

Unless you live next door to a fish market or a good seafood restaurant, you’re probably not eating fish consistently enough to reap the heart-healthy benefits of its omega-3 fatty acids. Regularly eating fatty fish like tuna, salmon, sardines, herring, black cod, and mackerel is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, according to the American Heart Association, which recommends we consume at least two servings a week.

There is an easy way to get enough fish in your diet for your heart’s sake without breaking the bank or going through cases of air freshener to rid your kitchen of the low-tide scent of cooking fish: canned tuna.

“It’s a convenient and affordable seafood option, and since most Americans aren’t consuming the recommended servings of seafood every week (have you had your two this week?) canned tuna can be a smart addition to an overall healthy diet,” says registered dietitian nutritionist Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, a member of our medical review board.

Canned tuna is an excellent inexpensive source of hunger-satisfying protein that’s low in saturated fats, unlike fatty meat counterparts like beef. Have some canned tuna on crackers or celery sticks for lunch, and it’s unlikely you’ll notice hunger pangs at 3 or 4 p.m.

Tuna fish crackers

Manaker cautions, however, that not all canned tuna options available in grocery stores are the same. Some are higher in sodium and mercury than others, so you need to pay attention to what you’re buying.

Large fish like tuna tend to have more mercury than small fish like sardines because they live longer and eat a lot of fish containing mercury so the highly toxic heavy metal in the form of methylmercury builds up in their flesh over time. Tuna is generally safe to eat but if you eat a lot of it, you could develop mercury poison, which is characterized by symptoms like numbness, loss of coordination, memory and vision problems, and in some cases, seizures.

Skipjack tuna is a smaller fish used in most canned light tuna products. Canned white tuna is albacore tuna, which contains mercury levels almost three times higher than skipjack, according to the Environmental Defense Fund.

If you’re eating large “quantities of fish that may contain larger amounts of mercury, it’s best to stick to options that specify the type of tuna in the can,” says Manaker. “If I had to choose my least favorite canned tuna, it would be Great Value tuna, chunk light. For one, the variety of the tuna used in Great Value chunk light is not specified on the label. It could be a lower mercury skipjack or a high-mercury tuna variety like yellowfin. You don’t know.”

What’s more, Manaker says this can of tuna is higher in sodium than most because it’s packed in vegetable broth. Better to stick to tuna packed in water or olive oil.

Another concern is the can itself. Some tuna cans are still lined with BPA (Bisphenol A), a chemical in plastic that some research shows can seep into food. BPA exposure may be linked to health problems ranging from developmental issues in infants, behavior in children, and high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes in adults.

“[Because] this can isn’t deemed ‘BPA free,’ eating this tuna frequently may cause the body to have too much exposure to this chemical,” says Manaker. “While eating this tuna in moderation will likely be A-OK and doing so will fuel your body with important omega-3 fatty acids, if it is an option, stick to brands like Safe Catch Elite or Wild Planet.”

Both of those brands test their tuna for mercury. Safe Catch Elite uses only sustainably caught skipjack tuna. Wild Planet catches smaller migratory fish that are lower in mercury.

Now that you know what to look for in your next can of tuna, try these 13 Healthy Recipes to Make with Canned Tuna.

Jeff Csatari

Jeff Csatari, a contributing writer for Eat This, Not That!, is responsible for
editing Galvanized Media books and magazines and for advising journalism
students through the Zinczenko New Media Center at Moravian University in Bethlehem, PA. Read more