Losing weight can be tough. To lose weight, you must eat fewer calories than your body needs. This creates an energy deficit. Faced with this energy shortfall, your body has no choice but to burn fat for fuel, which is what leads to weight loss.
However, while the math of weight loss really is quite simple, eating less is much harder. Faced with hunger and cravings, almost every dieter experiences difficulties, especially if they try and lose weight too fast.
Because of this, the search is on for foods that make weight loss even just a little easier.
The best weight loss foods are low in calories, high in fiber, protein, or water, filling, and tasty. Building any diet around foods that meet these criteria will make it easier to stick to.
This begs the question, is tuna good for weight loss?
The simple answer is yes!
Tuna is very low in fat, high in protein, filling, and doesn’t contain too many calories. Eating tuna won’t magically lead to weight loss, and mixing it with mayo or loads of oil will negate all of its weight loss benefits, but it is useful diet food.
In this article, we reveal how tuna can help you lose weight and how it may also be good for your health.
Is Tuna Good for Weight Loss
What is Tuna?
Tuna is one of the most widely consumed varieties of fish. It’s available in cans (packed in water or oil), foil pouches, and fresh and frozen tuna is very popular too.
Tuna is inexpensive, high in protein, and canned tuna has a very long shelf life, so you can buy it and store it in your pantry for several years.
Tuna is a large saltwater fish, often weighing as much as 250kg, although there are smaller varieties.
There are eight different types of tuna, including bluefin, albacore, yellowfin, and skipjack.
Skipjack is the most abundant type of tuna and the one that most people eat.
Bodybuilders and other fitness enthusiasts love tuna because it’s high in protein, low in fat, readily available, and very portable. It’s often consumed as part of fat loss diets for this reason, and eating tuna after exercise may help speed up recovery.
Tuna is low in fat and calories but high in protein. The nutritional values for tuna depend on whether it’s packed in water or oil. Water-packed tuna is considerably lower in calories, so it is arguably the best choice for weight loss.
A four-ounce serving of drained, canned tuna contains:
- Calories: 145
- Protein: 26.77 grams
- Fat: 3.37 grams
- Carbohydrates: 0 grams
- Fiber: 0 grams
- Sugar: 0 grams
In addition, tuna is an excellent source of the following vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B12
Tuna and Weight Loss
Tuna is an excellent addition to any diet and can help you lose weight in several ways:
Tuna is filling – high protein foods like tuna are very satiating. The less hunger you have to endure, the easier it will be to stick to your low-calorie diet.
Eating tuna boosts your metabolism – the protein in tuna increases your metabolism. Your metabolism is the number of calories your body burns per day.
A higher metabolic rate should lead to faster, easier weight loss. All high protein foods have the potential to boost your metabolism.
Low in calories – tuna contains roughly half the number of calories compared to beef. Eating tuna instead of meat could save you a lot of calories, mainly because you’ll be consuming less fat. This is especially true if you stick to tuna packed in water or fresh tuna.
Additional Benefits of Tuna
Adding tuna to your diet may offer several health benefits, most of which are linked to tuna’s high omega-three fat content:
Lower risk of coronary heart disease – CHD is the leading cause of death in the developed world. It’s caused by the blocking of the blood vessels that supply the heart.
The omega-three fats in tuna may help lower bad LDL cholesterol while raising levels of good HDL cholesterol, which is good for overall cardiovascular health.
Better vision – omega-three fats are good for your eyes. Eating tuna may help prevent dry eyes, and improve retinal health, leading to better eyesight and less age-related macular degeneration.
Lower risk of cancer – a diet high in omega-three fats may help reduce the inflammation that causes some cancers and may even inhibit the growth of tumor cells. Tuna also contains selenium, which is linked to a lower risk of prostate cancer.
Better thyroid health – tuna contains iodine, which is a mineral linked to proper thyroid function. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the throat that secretes hormones that regulate your metabolic rate.
An underactive thyroid could lead to weight loss or make losing weight harder than necessary.
Treatment and prevention of anemia – tuna contains an abundance of vitamin B12 and iron. This vitamin and mineral combo increases the oxygen-carrying ability of your blood, leading to a lower risk of and treatment for anemia.
Tuna is generally considered to be healthy, but there are a couple of drawbacks to consider before adding this popular fish to your diet:
Mercury toxicity – mercury is a toxic heavy metal that may be present in tuna because of contaminated waters.
Ingesting excessive amounts of mercury can cause several serious health problems, including impairment of the nervous system, chronic fatigue, and cancer.
You can minimize your intake of mercury by sticking to skipjack tuna and limiting your tuna intake to two four-ounce servings per week.
High sodium content – some tuna varieties are high in sodium. Consuming too much sodium could lead to elevated blood pressure, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Seek out low sodium brands if you’re following a low salt diet, such as DASH.
Sustainability – tuna is so popular that there is a danger that it may be overfished. Seek out tuna products with the MSC certification label, which indicate that they come from a sustainable source.
Tuna fishing may also have a negative impact on dolphins. Dolphins are often caught in the same nets as tuna but, because they’re marine mammals and not fish, they end up drowning. Choose dolphin-friendly certified tuna whenever possible.
BPA – BPA is a type of plastic that is sometimes used to line cans to prevent cracking or rusting. Exposure to BPA is linked to several health issues, including increased estrogen, decreased testosterone, weight gain, and cancer. Seek out BPA-free cans if you eat a lot of canned tuna or canned food in general.
Tuna is excellent weight-loss food. It’s lower in calories than meat, low in fat, high in protein, filling, and can help boost your metabolism.
It’s also reasonably priced and readily available. Tuna tastes pretty good too, which is a massive bonus for any weight loss food!
Most tuna comes in cans, packed in water or oil, but you can also get it in foil pouches and fresh or frozen.
If you are eating tuna for weight loss, canned tuna in water and fresh tuna are generally the best options. Oil-packed tuna is much higher in calories.
As well as helping you on your weight loss journey, tuna is also very healthy. It’s packed with omega-three fats and a range of beneficial vitamins and minerals.
Eating tuna may help lower your risk of heart disease, improve your eyesight, ward off some types of cancer, and prevent anemia.
Eating tuna won’t magically lead to weight loss; you’ll have to eat fewer calories for that to happen.
However, because it’s low in calories, it’s a good diet food, and you can eat it in abundance without derailing your diet. Just go easy on the mayo!
Tuna is primarily safe to eat, but it’s best to seek out low-mercury tuna varieties and tuna in BPA-free cans if you intend to eat more than a couple of servings per week.