Canned tuna – to eat or not to eat it?

Canned tuna is almost an integral part of sports diet. It is mostly used by bodybuilding fans. However, there are many controversies around its consumption. You can hear more frequent advice not to eat canned tuna. It's worth looking closer at this matter and think if this fish is more beneficial or not, when it comes to its nutrition and pro-health value.

Where did the popularity of tuna come from?

Canned tuna is one of the most frequently chosen fish, at least in fitness and bodybuilding world. It is mainly valued for high content of proteins and the fact that it's easily accessible, or that it doesn't need any thermal treatment before consumption (you can make tuna salad or spaghetti with it, or just eat it with a fork without any other additives). For people, who haven't got much time, it is very important. Besides, tuna is a sea fish, which is strongly advised to eat (because of high content of fatty acids from the omega 3 group and vitamin D). So, many people grab it, thinking that they do something good for their muscles and health. Are they right?

The unknown truth

If you want to be objective when looking at the content of canned tuna, you have to take under consideration few important facts. First of all, before the fish meat is placed in a can, it is heated for a long time. This thermal treatment causes the change of structure and properties of fatty acids present in the fish's tissues. As a result, they lose their beneficial biological potential and become poisonous. Also cholesterol is oxidised. It's good to know that, as long as unoxidised cholesterol doesn't have to be a threat for our health, if it undergoes the conversion into hydroxycholesterol and 7-ketocholesterol under the influence of adverse factors, it is an extremely unwanted ingredient in our menu. Let's add the fact, that tuna may contain large amount of mercury. Of course, some theories may exaggerate the facts, however, it's true, that tuna contains quite a lot of this element.


As you can see, canned tuna, apart from some advantages, such as mobility, easiness of preparation and high content of protein, also has flaws worth remembering. The presence of mercury, oxygenated polyunsaturated fatty acids and oxygenated cholesterol are definitely negative for this form of fish. Of course, it does not mean that you should avoid tuna, but it's worth to limit its consumption and to include it in the menu only rarely.