Due to the low fat high protein count(and cheap), I have been on a canned tuna diet for the past week....and now i am wondering of the mercury levels....
I eat tuna almost every day...sometimes multiple times a day... could this be a problem?
Depends on which report/study you read. Mercola has said for years that we will all die an early death due to mercury toxicity. Others say that it isn't such a big deal. I recently posted a video about imported seafood.....now that gave me pause.
Just do a quick search on mercury levels in tuna....the FDA also has guidelines/info. available. But, as with most foods and supplements, everything in moderation......
This table provides guidelines on how much canned tuna it is safe to eat, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. While mercury poses the most serious health threat to children and women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, others may also wish to use this list as a guide.
If you weigh: Don't eat more than one can every:
White Albacore Chunk Light
20 lbs 10 weeks 3 weeks
30 lbs 6 weeks 2 weeks
40 lbs 5 weeks 11 days
50 lbs 4 weeks 9 days
60 lbs 3 weeks 7 days
70 lbs 3 weeks 6 days
80 lbs 2 weeks 6 days
90 lbs 2 weeks 5 days
100 lbs 2 weeks 5 days
110 lbs 12 days 4 days
120 lbs 11 days 4 days
130 lbs 10 days 4 days
140 lbs 10 days 3 days
150+ lbs 9 days 3 days
Mercury in Tuna Fish
By Dr. Ben Kim
Do you eat tuna fish on a regular basis? If so, you should know about a recently published report on dangerous levels of mercury found in canned tuna fish.
The report was published by an environmental group called "Defenders of Wildlife," which contracted New Age/Landmark Laboratory in Benton Harbor, Michigan to test 164 cans of tuna fish that were produced in Ecuador, Mexico, Costa Rica, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, and the United States.
Here are the key points that I took from their report:
Cans of tuna fish that were tested to have the highest level of mercury originated from waters around Mexico and Ecuador. Coincidentally, the fishing industry in these areas is known for deliberately casting nets in areas where dolphins are spotted, since large tuna fish are usually found swimming below dolphins. The average mercury content of canned tuna fish that was produced in the United States was generally less than that of imported canned tuna fish. Canned tuna fish that was produced in Asia had the lowest average levels of mercury.
Canned tuna fish that was produced in Latin America had the highest average levels of mercury. Some of these cans had levels that exceeded the United States government's limit of 1.0 parts per million.
Even canned light tuna was tested as having high levels of mercury. Light tuna is considered by the FDA to be low in mercury compared to other large fish.
The two lines of canned tuna that were found to have mercury levels that are higher than the U.S. federal limit are: Sardinar from Costa Rica, which tested at 1.3 parts per million, and Calmex from Mexico, which came in at 1.4 parts per million. Note from Chet: Here at Health & Beyond Online, we wouldn't think of eating any tuna other than the healthy tuna we order from Randy Hartnell at Vital Choice Seafood. Click here to order the best tuna I've ever tasted.
Solid pack tuna sold under a brand called "Tuna Real" was found to have levels of mercury as high as 1.5 parts per million.
What does all of this mean for the end consumer? I believe that it is prudent for pregnant women, women who are planning on becoming pregnant, and children to avoid eating more than one can of tuna fish every 2-4 weeks.
Instead of eating tuna, I believe that it is healthier to eat smaller fish such as wild salmon, lake trout, and anchovies. Smaller fish are not as high up on the food chain as larger fish like tuna and shark, and are therefore less likely to bio-accumulate significant amounts of mercury.
What's the problem with steady exposure to mercury through our food choices? Over time, a build up of mercury in our tissues can cause a number of health problems, the most common of which are nervous system damage, cardiovascular challenges, and injury to the kidneys. Most susceptible to these effects are infants and young children.
Hi – Quite a few people are confused about this, and as a dietitian with the National Fisheries Institute, I’d love to clear the water. Here’s the official seafood advice from the Food and Drug Administration and Institute of Medicine:
-For the general population: Eat a variety of fish twice a week, and there are no fish to limit or avoid because of mercury.
-For women who are or may become pregnant, nursing moms, and young kids: The nutrients in fish are especially important for you, so eat a variety of fish twice a week. Half (6 ounces) of the fish you eat every week can be white albacore tuna. There are four fish to avoid that you probably aren’t eating anyway: shark, tilefish, king mackerel, and swordfish.
The more we learn about the good things eating fish does for your body, the more doctors and dietitians are focusing on the health risks of not eating enough fish. One of the most important studies to date on this issue found "Avoidance of modest fish consumption due to confusion regarding risks and benefits could result in thousands of excess CHD [heart disease] deaths annually and suboptimal neurodevelopment in children."
For a look at what plenty of seafood looks like in the real-life diet of a registered dietitian (me!) visit my BlogAboutSeafood. In addition to canned tuna, I also eat a good bit of canned salmon, sardines, and anchovies for variety.
Jennifer McGuire, MS, RD
National Fisheries Institute