The Tuna Diet: Is it good for weight loss?
This brief guide will answer the query “The Tuna Diet: Is it good for weight loss?”. Moreover, it presents another option for weight loss, and it will explain the role of proteins in your body. After briefly reviewing the health benefits and potential risks of Tuna, this guide will finish with some Tuna recipes you can adopt in your meal plan.
The Tuna Diet: Is it good for weight loss?
Yes, the tuna diet is good for weight loss, but it involves many health risks; actually, it is not an official diet. And as you will read in this guide, tuna may contain toxins like mercury, harmful if you consume it frequently or in high quantities (1).
So you should look for other alternative diets for weight loss. Keep reading to know more about them and more about tuna.
What are the Potential Drawbacks and Risks of the Tuna Diet?
Tuna is known for being a fish with high concentrations of mercury, being this the main risk to your health. Mercury could be poisonous and affect your neural system, it could even be lethal for you (1).
Actually, the FDA has advised to not eat more than 3 servings of tuna a week (2). You can find more information about this in the following link.
Additionally, tuna is missing in some other nutrients like B vitamins, vitamin C, and fiber. A deficiency of B vitamins can increase the risks of neurological problems, limited cognitive development (3).
In the case of vitamin C, its deficiency will increase your risks of getting sick because it is needed for a strong immune system (3).
Fiber is a non-digestible nutrient, it is very important for your gastrointestinal health. So, a low consumption of fiber can increase your risk of constipation and gut’s inflammation (4).
What other alternative can you choose for weight loss?
The tuna diet consists of consuming a lot of protein and very few fats and carbohydrates. This kind of meal plan can be easily replaced by a keto diet or just a low-carb and high-protein diet. These diets are recognized by nutritionists (5).
A keto diet is focused on consuming mostly proteins and fats, with a minimum intake of carbohydrates. A high-protein diet could be done with or without carbohydrate restrictions. The following table shows a brief overview of the macronutrients’ distribution in each diet (6,7).
|Keto diet||10 %||75 %||15 %|
|High-protein diet||35 – 50 %||20 – 35 %||30 %|
|High-protein and low-carb diet||10 %||60 %||30 %|
Adapted from Poorshiri et al. (5) and Manore (6).
What is the role of proteins in weight loss?
Proteins can help you for weight loss because they can make you feel more satiety; when proteins reach your gut, they are transformed by your metabolism to form neuropeptides, which can regulate your appetite (7).
All these mechanisms are helpful for reducing your calorie intake, remember that weight loss is achieved when you use more energy than the energy you consume. So, you can achieve this with the effects of proteins (7).
What are the Nutritional Benefits of Tuna?
The main nutritional benefit of tuna is its high quality proteins. Similar to almost all animal derived foods, tuna’s protein contains all essential amino acids. These amino acids are needed for building strong muscles, organs and tissues, immune cells, and even hormones (8).
Tuna also have unsaturated lipids which can be helpful for your health. Omega-3 fatty acids could be cardio-protective, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant; you can get these nutrients in tuna! (9)
There are two special fatty acids which are beneficial for children’s neurological development and also for preventing diseases like Alzheimer and Parkinson. These are also found in tuna, the docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and the eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) (10).
Regarding other micronutrients, tuna is rich in Manganese and Zinc. Manganese is a mineral with roles in neurological regulation, actually, is needed for the correct synapsis of your neurons (11).
Zinc, on the other hand, is helpful for growth and development in children, and also can strengthen your immune system. Therefore, your immune cells will be strong against diseases (12).
How to Combine Tuna with Other Healthy Foods?
Here you can look for a lot of tuna recipes which include several healthy foods; for instance, you will find legumes, eggs, vegetables, pasta, and more. Remember that a healthy diet includes all food groups, they are important for obtaining all nutrients (13).
This brief guide answered the query “The Tuna Diet: Is it good for weight loss?”. Moreover, it presented another option for weight loss, and it explained the role of proteins in your body. After briefly reviewing the health benefits and potential risks of Tuna, this guide finished with some Tuna recipes you can adopt in your meal plan.
- Alva CV, Mársico ET, Ribeiro R de OR, Carneiro C da S, Simões JS, Ferreira M da S. Concentrations and health risk assessment of total mercury in canned tuna marketed in Southest Brazil. J Food Compost Anal, 2020;88(103357):103357.
- Advice about eating fish [Internet]. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. FDA; [cited 2 May 2023]. Available from: https://www.fda.gov/food/consumers/advice-about-eating-fish
- Kaidar-Person O, Person B, Szomstein S, Rosenthal RJ. Nutritional deficiencies in morbidly obese patients: a new form of malnutrition? Part A: vitamins: Part A: Vitamins. Obes Surg, 2008;18(7):870–6.
- Snauwaert E, Paglialonga F, Vande Walle J, Wan M, Desloovere A, Polderman N, et al. The benefits of dietary fiber: the gastrointestinal tract and beyond. Pediatr Nephrol, 2022.
- Poorshiri B, Barzegar M, Tahmasebi S, Shiva S, Raeisi S, Ebadi Z. The efficacy comparison of classic ketogenic diet and modified Atkins diet in children with refractory epilepsy: a clinical trial. Acta Neurol Belg, 2021;121(2):483–7.
- Manore MM. Exercise and the Institute of Medicine recommendations for nutrition. Current sports medicine reports, 4(4), 193-198.
- Kim JY. Optimal diet strategies for weight loss and weight loss maintenance. J Obes Metab Syndr, 2021;30(1):20–31.
- Shevkani K, Chourasia S. Dietary proteins: Functions, health benefits and healthy aging. In: Healthy Ageing and Longevity. Cham: Springer International Publishing; 2021. p. 3–37.
- Shahidi F, Ambigaipalan P. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and their health benefits. Annu Rev Food Sci Technol, 2018;9:345–81.
- Al-Busaidi M, Yesudhason P, Al-Rabhi W, Al-Harthy K, Al-Waili A, Al-Mazrooei N, et al. Fatty acid profile and selected chemical contaminants in yellowfin tuna from the Arabian sea. Int J Food Prop, 2015;18(12):2764–75.
- Takeda A. Manganese action in brain function. Brain Res Rev, 2003;41(1):79–87.
- Godswill AG, Somtochukwu IV, Ikechukwu AO, Kate EC. Health benefits of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and their associated deficiency diseases: A systematic review. International Journal of Food Sciences, 2020;3(1):1–32.
- Cena H, Calder PC. Defining a healthy diet: Evidence for the role of contemporary dietary patterns in health and disease. Nutrients, 2020;12(2):334.