How Much Canned Tuna Is Safe To Eat Per Week – Both bluefin and albacore tuna offer nutritional benefits, but each differs in how much you should eat.
Canned tuna is a healthy and convenient option for fresh fish, providing the same good source of low-calorie protein, important nutrients and heart-friendly omega-3 fatty acids. That’s probably the reason canned tuna is the second most popular seafood in the United States after shrimp. The USDA recommends that you include fish in your diet, but it’s important to know what type of tuna is safe to eat and what size of fish.
How Much Canned Tuna Is Safe To Eat Per Week
Because of the risk of mercury poisoning, eating tuna every day exceeds the amount recommended as safe by the FDA. How much depends on the type of tuna you eat. Canned light tuna contains the least amount of mercury, and the FDA suggests limiting it to no more than 12 ounces per week, or no more than four 3-ounce cans.
What You Should Know About Buying Canned Tuna
Tuna are members of the Scombridae family and are commercially fished throughout the world, in tropical and subtropical seas. Of the many species, canned tuna comes almost exclusively from two types of tuna.
Skipjack is a relatively small fish and the most abundant and widely fished tuna of the species. About 70 percent of the canned tuna in the United States is skipjack. It is often called chang light or flake tuna and is canned in water, brine or oil.
Yellowfin is a larger fish than skipjack, often growing over 4 feet in length and weighing nearly 90 pounds. Its pale flesh is appreciated for its delicate and sweet taste. Albacore is the only type of tuna that is allowed to be labeled as “white” in premium canned tuna. About 30 percent of the canned tuna consumed in the United States is albacore.
Fish is a good lean protein, low in saturated fat and the best source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, so including tuna in your diet is a good thing. All fish contain some mercury. You just need to know which ones have the highest levels to avoid mercury poisoning.
Tuna Lover’s Dilemma: To Eat Or Not To Eat?
So how does mercury get into the fish you eat? Mercury occurs naturally in the environment—such as from volcanic activity—but industrial pollution can also contribute to mercury in the air. Mercury is removed in rivers and streams and ends up in the world’s oceans, becoming mercury, which can accumulate in fish flesh over time.
The largest fish that live the longest and are higher on the food chain contain the highest amount of mercury, according to the Department of Environmental Conservation. According to a 2017 report from Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, mercury levels in many fish unfortunately continue to increase each year.
In an effort to help consumers reduce their exposure to mercury while allowing them to reap the health benefits of eating fish, the US ” and “choices to avoid”, based on their mercury content. Each category has specific recommendations for safe consumption, including for pregnant people and children.
According to the FDA, canned light tuna, made mainly from skipjack, is recognized as a fish with low levels of mercury and is designated as “the best choice”. This means you can eat 2-3 servings per week, or about 8-12 ounces. The number of servings is also applied to women of childbearing age – from 16 to 49 years – and also to pregnant people.
The Problem With Canned Tuna For Babies
Fish Serving Size: An adult serving of fish is the amount that fits in the palm of your hand, or about 4 ounces. Therefore, the recommendation would be to eat 3-4 3-ounce cans
Because albacore, or albacore, typically contains three times more mercury than canned light tuna, the FDA has included it in the “good choices” category. That means the recommendation is one serving per week or 4 ounces for adults — a little more than a 3-ounce can.
Feeding your child protein-rich canned tuna is beneficial for growth and development. The FDA recommends serving fish to your children one to two times a week, using a variety of fish. But it is important that the size of the portion is correct according to the age of the child and the total caloric needs.
Fish Serving Size: On average, a serving size for children ages 2 to 3 should be about 1 ounce; For children 4 to 7 years old, the recommendation is 2 ounces; For children ages 8-10, the serving size is 3 ounces; And for children 11 years and older, it is 4 ounces.
Citing Mercury Levels, Consumer Reports Warns Pregnant Women To Avoid All Tuna
The FDA’s recommendation for the amount of fish that is safe to consume is intended as a general guideline based on the average weight of the American population. If you are an adult who weighs less than average (165 pounds), you can choose to eat smaller portions or limit your intake to two servings of fish per week instead of three.
If you want a more accurate indication of how much tuna you can safely eat per week, check out the tuna calculator created by the Environmental Working Group. It allows you to enter your weight, age, sex and if you have a heart condition. Based on this information, you can get suggestions for the type and amount of fish you can eat safely, along with mercury content and sustainability information.
Mercury content standards for edible fish are regulated for safety. The limit for a safe level of mercury in fish is determined to be 0.15 parts per million or less; Moderate to high levels can vary from 0.16 to 0.46 parts per million. Any fish with a mercury concentration higher than 0.46 parts per million is not considered safe for consumption, according to the EPA.
The level of mercury in a can of tuna can vary slightly, depending on the age of the fish, its size and where it was caught. Averages are determined for each species of fish, which are the basis for regulations and recommendations for certain amounts to eat. The average mercury concentration of canned light bluefin tuna is 0.13 parts per million, and canned albacore albacore tuna is 0.35 parts per million, according to the EPA.
Great Meals To Make With Canned Tuna
Tuna packed in water contains fewer calories and less fat, useful if you are trying to maintain your weight. For comparison, one can of
In oil, drained, contains 331 calories and 14.4 grams of fat; A water-packed albacore tuna dog, drained, contains 220 calories and 5.1 grams of fat.
Our members asked: In order to avoid mercury, I tried tuna with skipjack instead of albacore, but I didn’t like the taste. Is it safe to continue eating albacore if only once a week?
Yellow Spot On Canned Tuna. Is It Safe To Eat?
Tests of popular brands of canned tuna and salmon found that all five brands of albacore (“white” tuna) were contaminated with mercury to such an extent that you should limit intake to no more than one serving per week. Brands of skipjack tuna contained less mercury, although there were levels of mercury that suggested consumption no more than twice a week.
Yellowfin tunas contain the least mercury among tunas; However, one has a fairly high amount of arsenic (like most albacore tuna), suggesting that its use is also limited.
So while it is safe for you to continue eating albacore tuna once a week, there are many better tuna alternatives.
Before you turn to eating tuna, or any tuna, consider canned salmon—especially pink salmon, which is sweet-tasting and light-colored, like salmon. It is also more “heart healthy” than most tuna because pink salmon tends to provide a greater amount of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA than albacore tuna. Additionally, the brand of pink salmon we tested had the lowest amount of mercury and the second lowest amount of arsenic of any of the canned tuna and salmon tested.
Healthy Protein Packed Canned Tuna Recipes
Although it may not appeal to your tastes, if you really want to increase your omega-3 intake, try sockeye (“red”) salmon. The three sockeye salmon we tested all provided very high amounts of omega-3 and low amounts of mercury and arsenic.
More details of our tests can be found in Canned Tuna and Salmon, which includes our top picks among the products tested.
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What Are The Health Benefits Of Solid Albacore Tuna?
Tuna is a widely eaten species of fish. However, canned tuna is often the most common source of mercury in the diet.
The term tuna includes many
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