Laparoscopic Associates of San Francisco

Love Tuna-But Worried about Mercury Intake?

May 8th, 2014 Posted in Bariatric surgery, Diabetes, Eating healthy, Nutrition, post weight loss surgery tips, Post WLS tips, Protein and calories

I don’t know about any of you, but I LOVE tuna. Canned tuna is a great “go-to”  when you need a high protein food to go on salad or even have as a snack. It is very filling and provides amazing health benefits such as omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. Unfortunately, tuna is a fish that can be high in mercury and that is potentially harmful to your health.

There are two main kinds of canned tuna: chunk light and solid or chunk white (albacore). Most canned white tuna is albacore. Its mercury levels are almost three times higher than the smaller skipjack, used in most canned light tuna.



  • Canned white, or albacore Adults, including pregnant women, can safely eat it up to three times a month (women, 6-ounce portions; men, 8-ounce portions).
  • Canned light — the safer choice (0.12 parts per million of mercury).  Older children and adults can safely eat it once a week. But look out for “gourmet” or “tonno” labels. They are made with bigger yellowfin tuna and can contain mercury levels comparable to canned white.

Best choices:

Trader Joe’s Shipjack Tuna : Shipjack tuna is smaller and would contain less mercury than canned white or regular albacore tuna

Raincoast Trading Pacific Northwest Albacore Tuna: This product is found at Whole Foods and just recently got brought to my attention. Raincoast harvests the  albacore tuna at only a few years of age and have not had the time to accumulate the amount of mercury deemed unsafe by the FDA. This is frequently tested by Raincoast to ensure you are safe to eat the fish freely. There is also no oil or water added to ensure the best nutritional value possible.

Wild Alaskan Canned Salmon (multiple retailers): Canned salmon is lower in contaminents and is a heart healthy food. It also is sustainable caught in Alaska.

How to eat? Tuna is great with 2 olives cut up, 1 Tbsp. mustard, and lemon.

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