What Is The Best Way To Eat Canned Tuna In Oil

- Mar 16, 2018 -

We know that oily fish like salmon and tuna contain omega 3 fats which promote heart health and reduced inflammation. And while canned varieties are an easy affordable option, the choice on the shelves is bewildering.


As well as a multitude of flavours, plain varieties come in oil, spring water. We set out to provide some insight by comparing three different varieties within a single brand. Pam's was the brand chosen simply because it was the only brand which had all 3 varieties of plain tuna at the time of purchase.

Fish oil is promoted for a whole range of health reasons and salmon, sardines and tuna are our most common food sources in New Zealand. While fresh fish is better, cans are the next best thing but increasingly the fish is drowned in high sugar, high salt sauces. With plain varieties, it is important to note the following: if canned in oil, the oil is NOT fish oil – it is vegetable oil such as olive or sunflower and these will have highest kilojoule and fat content. If canned in brine, the salt (sodium) content will be higher, important to consider if you suffer from or have a family history of high blood pressure. Even when canned in spring water there is a little salt added, but this variety will always have the least sodium.

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Pams Skipjack tuna chunks in spring water 


This is the best nutritionally as it has the least sodium (190mg/100g) and no added fats. Our panel of 11 tasters voted it best, with sixfirsts, three seconds and one third. Some commented that the tuna "tasted the way tuna should". At $2.49 per 185g can it is good value for money.

Overall rating: Best choice – for nutrition and taste.


Pams Skipjack tuna chunks in olive oil 


Not surprisingly, this had the highest kilojoules and highest fat of the three varieties tested. It was second highest for sodium with 410mg/100g. For taste it was second with some of the tasters not liking the oiliness. Cost wise it was the same as the can in spring water.


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