What's the Healthiest Kind of Tuna?

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS
1-minute read

Q. We've had it drilled into our heads that the oil in fish is healthy for us.  So what does it mean when I see one can of tuna with one gram of fat and another with 20 grams of fat?  By choosing the leaner variety am I losing out on all the health benefits?

A.  It doesn’t sound as if you’re comparing apples to apples. The can of tuna with one gram of fat is probably chunk light tuna in water and the can with 20 grams of fat is probably white tuna in oil--and you’d probably drain the oil off before eating it anyway.

If it’s the healthy omega-3 fats that you’re after, choose white tuna canned in water. White tuna is higher in omega-3s than chunk light tuna. And tuna canned in water retains more of the omega-3 fats than tuna canned in oil. It seems that when you store the fish in oil, the omega-3 fats are more likely to leach out of the fish and into the surrounding liquid. When you drain the tuna, the omega-3s go down the drain.

Should you be worried about mercury in fish? Find out in my full episode.

Tuna image courtesy of Shutterstock

About the Author

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Monica Reinagel is a board-certified licensed nutritionist, author, and the creator of one of iTunes' most highly ranked health and fitness podcasts. Her advice is regularly featured on the TODAY show, Dr. Oz, NPR, and in the nation's leading newspapers, magazines, and websites. Do you have a nutrition question? Call the Nutrition Diva listener line at 443-961-6206. Your question could be featured on the show.