Will Eating Tuna Help You Lose Weight | Benefits of Tuna | Is It Dangerous To Eat Too Much Tuna | The Tuna Diet For Weight Loss
When you are trying to lose weight, exploring healthy food options is essential. A well-balanced, nutritious, and easy-to-make meal can make your entire weight loss journey a lot easier. Seafood is great for health as it is a rich source of omega 3 and omega 6. If you are an admirer of seafood and want to include it in your weight loss journey then tuna might be an excellent option.
Tuna is a low-fat fish and is a rich source of lean protein. You can consider tuna for weight loss since it is low in calories, packed with essential nutrients, and quite tasty as well.
So, is tuna a good weight-loss food? Well, we will try to figure this out through this article and also delve into the nutritional value, and health advantages of consuming tuna fish. We will also know the different types of tuna and assess which is good for your weight loss journey.
Will Eating Tuna Help You Lose Weight?
Yes, tuna can be included to support your weight loss goals. Tuna is a lean fish with a reasonable amount of calories and consuming tuna can put you in a calorie deficit. However, you must choose light tuna packed in water instead of olive oil as this version has high calories.
Another advantage of including tuna in your regime is that this fish has high-quality protein. Protein has a high thermic effect that may improve your metabolism. (1)
Having an improved metabolism can help you burn about 80 to 100 calories per day. Further, consuming protein can reduce your appetite by increasing satiety and reducing your calorie intake. (2)
Since tuna is low in fat and carbohydrates, it can not only benefit your weight loss journey but also can provide additional benefits. Let’s find out what kind of tuna is available in the market along with their respective health benefits.
You can find two types of tuna in the supermarket and they are:
Fresh tuna fish: 3 ounces of fresh tuna has the following nutritional value: (3)
- Calories: 122
- Protein: 20 g
- Fat: 4.2 g
- Carbohydrates: 0 g
- Sodium: 33 mg
- Cholesterol: 32 mg
Here are some health benefits of fresh tuna fish:
- It is rich in vitamin B12 which is essential for several body functions
- Can inhibit vision problems
- May reduce the risk of developing cancer
- It may reduce the risk of heart disease
Canned tuna fish: One can of canned tuna fish in brine has the following nutritional value. (4)
- Calories: 220
- Protein: 41 g
- Fat: 5.1 g
- Carbohydrates: 0 g
- Sodium: 648 mg
- Cholesterol: 72 mg
The health benefits of canned tuna fish include:
- It helps develop healthy bones and muscle contractions
- Improves nervous system functioning
- Supports brain function
- It may help lower the risk of heart disease
Other Benefits of Tuna Fish
Not only is tuna good for weight loss but it has other benefits as well. You may include tuna in your diet for the following reasons.
It is Highly Nutritious
Tuna contains a lot of essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals which can help improve your overall health.
It is rich in vitamin B12 which is required to synthesize DNA. Besides, vitamin B12 also helps prevent anemia by participating in the new red blood cell genesis. (5)
Tuna fish also contains vitamin A in abundance which helps boost your immunity and improve vision, reproduction, growth, and development. (6)
It is also an excellent source of vitamin D which is essential for bone health and beneficial in absorbing and retaining calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin D also helps lower the risk of heart disease, multiple sclerosis and improves immunity. For example, 3 ounces of canned tuna fish contains around 50% of vitamin D of the daily recommended intake. (7) (8) (9)
Additionally tuna fish also contains:
- Selenium: This helps improve nail and hair health
- Iron: Boosts proper growth and development
- Potassium: Important for heart, muscle, and nervous system. Also for maintaining normal fluid levels in your body
- Iodine: Required for brain function and reducing thyroid disease
- Vitamin B6: Essential for brain, immune, and nervous system function
It is High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
The high amount of omega-3 fatty acids in tuna can have the following benefits.
- It can prevent eye problems and lower the risk of dry eye syndrome. (10)
- Omega-3 fatty acid is considered an immunonutrient because it can lower the risk of tumor development. (11)
- It can help lower blood sugar levels and improve lipid parameters in people having metabolic syndrome. (12)
- It can also help alleviate inflammation by reducing the creation of eicosanoids and cytokines.
Is It Dangerous To Eat Too Much Tuna?
Although tuna is packed with various nutrients, it is also high in mercury as they eat smaller fish contaminated with mercury. Hence, it should not be consumed every day to avoid some adverse effects.
Mercury is a toxic chemical element that is dangerous for living organisms. Mercury poisoning can cause symptoms like: (13)
- Impaired speech
- Hearing and peripheral vision problems
- Impairment of coordinated movements such as walking or writing
- Muscle weakness
- Mood swings and memory loss
- Skin rashes
- Numbness and a “pins and needles” feeling in the hands, feet, and sometimes around the mouth
So, tuna should be avoided by infants, young children, pregnant women, those planning to become pregnant, and breastfeeding women since it can cause brain health impairment and development issues.
Different types of tuna have different levels of mercury in ppm (part per million). Here is a list of the same: (14)
- Bigeye tuna (fresh or frozen) — 0.689
- Albacore tuna (fresh or frozen) — 0.358
- Yellowfin tuna (fresh or frozen) — 0.354
- Albacore tuna (canned) — 0.350
- Skipjack tuna (fresh or frozen) — 0.144
- Light tuna (canned) — 0.126
To ensure you stay within safe limits, it is advisable to consume tuna in moderation. Opting for light or canned options can help you enjoy tuna responsibly.
The Tuna Diet: Should You Try It for Weight Loss?
The tuna diet plan was created by bodybuilder Dave Draper. However, he had some guidelines to follow the diet that included only consuming tuna and drinking water for three consecutive days.
Further, it is essential to note that while following this diet, you will be allowed to consume plain tuna fish with no oil, spices, mayonnaise, or vinegar. You must drink 34 ounces of water and take supplements such as vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. You need to ensure that while following this regimen your macronutrient ratio should be 30% carbohydrates, 40% protein, and 30% fats.
After three days, you may include chicken, low-fat dairy products, fruits, and vegetables into your regimen. The tuna diet plan may possess some benefits such as:
- It may lead to rapid weight loss as the diet is very restrictive and has a low-calorie count.
- May be beneficial for your brain, heart, and immunity as it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
- It is rich in selenium, which offers anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. (15)
- Can help build and maintain muscles due to its high protein content.
However, the tuna diet can have certain serious disadvantages.
- It can lead to mercury poisoning since it contains high levels of mercury
- This may result in malnutrition since this diet does not provide sufficient calories
- It can give only short-term results as it is very restrictive and can be followed for a limited time only
- The effectiveness of this diet lacks scientific evidence and may yield unsustainable results. Additionally, the safety aspect of this diet remains unclear.
If you want to experience long-term weight loss and other health benefits, then give intermittent fasting a try. To know more read Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss: 7 Winning Tips For Fast Results!.
There are different types of fasting methods designed for beginners and experienced fasters. You can choose the duration of your fasting based on your weight loss goals. However, the 21 Day Hero app can help you pick the correct fasting plan.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you lose weight on a tuna diet?
Although a tuna diet can result in rapid weight loss, it only gives you short-term results and is not sustainable. Further, consumption of tuna for longer can lead to mercury poisoning. Hence, for long-term and sustainable results it is recommended to eat a balanced diet that can meet your body’s needs. However, you can also try intermittent fasting for better results.
Which tuna is best for your diet?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) always recommends to consume tuna that have less mercury content. Amongst all varieties of tuna, the canned light tuna and the skipjack varieties are considered the best choice while albacore and yellowfin tuna are considered as good choices. However, the FDA suggests avoiding bigeye tuna completely as it has the highest levels of mercury content.
Is tuna OK to eat every day?
Though tuna is considered very nutritious, but is has also high levels of mercury content compared to other fish. Thus, it should be consumed in moderation and not daily. Consuming tuna daily can cause mercury poisoning which can lead to many health complications like impaired speech, hearing, and vision loss, impaired movements such as walking or writing, and muscle weakness.
The Final Words
Is tuna a good weight-loss food? Yes!
Tuna fish has moderate calories, high protein, and is an appetite suppressant. Additionally, it is loaded with minerals, vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids. Hence it can be a beneficial addition to the weight loss diet.
However, it is essential to be mindful of the mercury contents of tuna and adhere to the recommended consumption guidelines. You may consider eating tuna only 2-3 times a week. Including tuna in a balanced meal followed by a healthy lifestyle and regular exercise can aid your weight loss goals. But we would recommend consulting a healthcare professional or a nutritionist for better advice that would suit your personal needs.