One of the most confusing meat terminologies is ‘red and white meat’. Asides from knowing why or how meat can be classified with colors, many people are unable to easily differentiate between red meat and white meat. Some others remain confused about how a fish can be classified as meat at all.
How can one decipher which fish is red meat and which is white? For example, is tuna red meat or white meat? Here are some interesting answers to these questions along with other important information about eating tuna and some other fishes.
Is Tuna Red Meat or White Meat?
Tuna is red meat. It can also be considered white meat. Red meat is so because of a protein in the muscles called myoglobin. Red meats typically have more myoglobin compared to white meats. This is why Tuna is classified as red meat because it has enough myoglobin to qualify as one. Red meats are also visibly red before and after being cooked, while white meats can be red before being cooked and white after.
Tuna turns white after being cooked with a reddish-pink inside – this is why it can also be classified as white meat. There are several ways to classify tuna that make it either red or white – hence, there is no official answer. The answer solely depends on the particular classification involved.
There is another type of tuna called albacore tuna, it is white or light pink with some red muscles towards its spine. This suggests that even the whiter kind of tuna has some myoglobin, which technically makes it red meat – an enigma to say the least.
Definition of red and white meat
Meat is a popular food source worldwide, and it is classified into two main types based on their color and composition: red and white meat. Red meat is typically characterized by its dark color and high myoglobin content, while white meat is lighter in color and contains lower myoglobin levels. Myoglobin is a protein found in muscle tissues that plays a role in oxygen storage and distribution.
The main difference between red and white meat is their myoglobin content. Myoglobin is a protein that binds to oxygen and gives meat its red color. Red meats contain more myoglobin than white meats, which gives them a darker color. Additionally, red meat has a higher concentration of slow-twitch muscle fibers, which are used for sustained activity and require more oxygen. In contrast, white meat has more fast-twitch muscle fibers, which are used for quick and powerful movements and require less oxygen. These differences in fiber type and density contribute to the texture and taste of red and white meats.
Examples of red and white meats
Red meats include beef, lamb, pork, and venison, while white meats include chicken, turkey, and fish. However, the classification of certain meats can be subjective and dependent on factors such as cooking method and preparation. For example, some types of fish such as salmon and tuna can be classified as red meat due to their high myoglobin content, while other types such as cod and tilapia can be considered white meat.
In addition to their color and composition, red and white meats also differ in their nutritional profiles and health implications. Understanding these differences is important for making informed dietary choices and recommendations, as well as managing health conditions such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Tuna as a fish
Tuna is a large and predatory fish that belongs to the Scombridae family. It is a highly migratory species that can be found in tropical and temperate oceans worldwide. Tuna is known for its large size, streamlined body, and fast swimming speed, which make it a popular sport and commercial fishing target.
Characteristics of tuna as a fish
Tuna can grow up to 3 meters in length and weigh over 600 kilograms. They have a spindle-shaped body that is adapted for fast swimming, with a powerful tail and fins that provide propulsion and stability. Tuna have a high body temperature that enables them to swim in cold waters, as well as a unique circulatory system that helps them conserve heat. Tuna are also known for their high oxygen consumption and efficient gill system, which allows them to extract oxygen from water efficiently.
Nutritional value of tuna
Tuna is a highly nutritious fish that is rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals. It is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to various health benefits such as reducing inflammation and improving cardiovascular health. Tuna is also low in saturated fat and calories, making it a healthy and lean protein source. However, certain types of tuna such as bluefin tuna can contain high levels of mercury, which can be harmful if consumed in large quantities.
Tuna is a popular food source worldwide and is consumed in various forms such as sushi, sashimi, canned tuna, and grilled tuna steaks. Tuna has cultural and historical significance in many countries, particularly in Japan where it is considered a delicacy and a symbol of good fortune. Tuna fishing is also a significant economic activity, with the global tuna industry valued at billions of dollars annually.
Tuna as red meat
The classification of tuna as red or white meat has been a subject of debate, with some experts arguing that it should be classified as red meat due to its high myoglobin content and dark coloration.
Reasons for classification as red meat
Tuna has a high myoglobin content that is similar to other red meats such as beef and lamb. Myoglobin is a protein that binds to oxygen and gives meat its red color. Tuna also has a dense and firm texture that is characteristic of red meats. In addition, when cooked, tuna tends to retain its pink or red color, which is another indicator of its high myoglobin content and classification as red meat.
Comparison of tuna with other red meats
Compared to other red meats, tuna is a leaner protein source with lower levels of saturated fat and cholesterol. Tuna is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to various health benefits such as reducing inflammation and improving cardiovascular health. However, certain types of tuna such as bluefin tuna can contain high levels of mercury, which can be harmful if consumed in large quantities.
Health implications of consuming tuna as red meat
Consuming tuna as red meat may have health implications due to its high levels of cholesterol and saturated fat. Diets high in red meat have been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other health conditions. Therefore, it is recommended to limit the consumption of red meat, including tuna, and to choose leaner protein sources such as white meat, fish, legumes, and nuts.
Tuna as white meat
Although some experts classify tuna as red meat, others argue that it should be considered a type of white meat due to its texture, flavor profile, and nutritional composition.
Arguments for classification as white meat
Tuna has a relatively low myoglobin content compared to other red meats such as beef and lamb, which gives it a lighter color and texture. Tuna is also a lean protein source with lower levels of saturated fat and cholesterol than red meats. In addition, tuna has a mild and delicate flavor that is similar to other white meats such as chicken and turkey. These characteristics make tuna more comparable to white meats than red meats.
Compared to other white meats, tuna is a good source of lean protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to various health benefits such as reducing inflammation and improving cardiovascular health. Tuna is also low in calories and fat, making it a healthy protein source for weight management. However, certain types of tuna such as bluefin tuna can contain high levels of mercury, which can be harmful if consumed in large quantities.
Health implications of consuming tuna as white meat
Consuming tuna as white meat may have health benefits due to its low levels of saturated fat and cholesterol. Diets high in red meat have been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other health conditions. Therefore, consuming tuna as a white meat alternative to red meat may help to reduce the risk of these health conditions. However, it is important to choose tuna that is low in mercury and to consume it in moderation to avoid potential health risks.
Why Do I Feel Sick After Eating Canned Tuna?
You might get sick after eating too much-canned tuna or get exposed to potential health dangers like histamine, mercury poisoning, sodium poisoning, bacterial contamination, BPA toxicity, high blood pressure, scombroid poisoning, etc. These dangers are more popular in some brands of canned tuna compared to others – so, one good way to reduce the chances of getting poisoned is to buy only reputable brands of canned tuna.
Brands like Safe Catch or Vital Choice test every tuna to reduce the risk of mercury poisoning. Safe catch canned tuna will cost you a bit more but it’s a good price to pay for your health. This does not suggest that there are no health risks with this brand – literally, everything comes with a risk.
The dangers also depend on the type of tuna used and the quantity of canned tuna you eat because of the heavy metals it contains. We recommend that you keep your canned tuna intake to at most 2-3 servings per week to minimize the health risks. Nonetheless, tuna comes with a lot of health benefits (which we will discuss below), and you are in more danger of getting poisoned from fresh tuna than canned tuna.
What Are the Benefits of Tuna?
Here are some health benefits of tuna:
- Great source of vitamin B12
- High levels of various vitamins, organic compounds, and minerals.
- High in protein
- Helps with weight loss
- Reduces the risk of dry eye
- Reduces cardiovascular disorders
- Improves blood pressure and skin health
- Strengthens bones
- Low in calories
- Reduces triglycerides and depression
- Reduces LDL cholesterol
- Slow tumor cell growth
- Fights cancer and kidney disease
- Canned tuna is inexpensive and has a long shelf life
- It is delicious
- Boosts immune system and energy levels
These amongst others are some of the health benefits of tuna. While the benefits list might seem endless, some health risks are present as well. Some things you can do to enjoy your diet with tuna without having to visit the emergency room, are eating in moderation, selecting proper types of tuna or canned tuna, and only eating properly prepared tuna.
Are Canned Tuna Healthy?
Yes, canned tuna is a healthy addition to your diet. Tuna generally comes with several health benefits as listed above. They are filled with several vitamins, organic compounds, and minerals like selenium, DHA, EPA, phosphorus, iron, B-complex vitamins, and vitamins A and D that boost your immune system, skin health, energy levels amongst several other benefits.
As much as canned tuna might seem like one of the healthiest meals, it is recommended to keep your canned tuna intake to at most 2-3 servings per week to minimize the health risks. It might be healthy, but too much of it could get you poisoned.
What’s the Healthiest Fish to Eat?
Here are some of the healthiest fishes to eat:
- Skipjack/albacore tuna
- Pacific wild-caught sardines
- Arctic char
- Wild-caught Alaskan salmon/Farmed freshwater Coho salmon
- Mackerel/Atlantic mackerel
- Wild Alaskan Pollock
- Striped bass
- Rainbow trout
- Pacific cod
- Farmed oysters
- Pacific halibut
Not only do these fishes provide excellent nutrition, but the majority are also easily accessible and inexpensive. They also have fair mercury levels – it is generally recommended to avoid fish with high mercury levels as well as other heavy metals. What is the healthiest fish to eat? It’s salmon. Albeit somewhat expensive, it offers a better number of grams of omega-3s per ounce compared to other fattier fish, and it does not gather as much mercury as other fishes.
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Is Starkist Tuna Healthy?
Yes, starkist tuna is safe and healthy – just like other reputable brands like safe catch, vital choice, wild planet, American tuna, ocean naturals, Tonino, and 365 everyday. These brands take the necessary steps required to reduce the health risks that come with tuna. When picking a brand of canned tuna, here are some things to pay attention to:
- BPA-free cans
- Check the ingredient label for the oils and broths used in the tuna in case of allergies and other preferences
- Brands that employ dependable fishing practices
- Cans in good condition, not dented or bulging
- ‘Pole caught’ or ‘trolling’ – never ‘line caught’
- Some brands to avoid are market pantry, chicken of the sea, bumblebee, Kirkland, etc.
How Many Cans of Tuna Can You Eat in A Week?
It is recommended to keep your canned tuna intake down to at most 2-3 servings per week to minimize the health risks caused by the heavy metals contained in the tuna. This works for most types of tuna and just about anyone. For canned white or albacore tuna, the recommended quantity is 4 ounces or one serving for adults per week. For canned light tuna, you can have 8 to 12 ounces or 2 to 3 servings per week.
Children aged 2 to 3 years are allowed 1 ounce, 4 to 7 years – 2 ounces, 8 to 10 – 3 ounces, and 11 and older can consume up to 4 ounces per week. You can indeed eat more canned tuna than fresh tuna because the latter contains more heavy metals – but you shouldn’t overdo it with canned tuna either.
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Are Any Fishes Considered Red Meat?
Fishes can be considered red meat depending on the definition, dietary preferences, religion, classification, or personal beliefs. According to the definition, ‘meat is the flesh of an animal used for food’ – fish is undoubtedly meat. However, if we look at the colors of some fishes, we can’t possibly call them red. Again, red meat typically sounds like chicken, beef, or ribs and not fishes. The redness of the meat also depends on the myoglobin present, and some fishes have a lot of that too.
The best way to know if tuna is red meat or white meat is to consider the conditions surrounding the question. Is religion involved? Or maybe personal preferences or beliefs? Also, who are you asking? The answer will vary depending on who you ask, you would also get several reasons to back the varying answers that will only get you even more confused.