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Is Tuna Red Meat or White Meat?

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.

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
  • Mahi-mahi
  • Herring
  • Perch
  • Pacific wild-caught sardines
  • Arctic char
  • Tilapia
  • Wild-caught Alaskan salmon/Farmed freshwater Coho salmon
  • Mackerel/Atlantic mackerel
  • Wild Alaskan Pollock
  • Prawns
  • Striped bass
  • Scallops
  • Rainbow trout
  • Pacific cod
  • Farmed oysters
  • Pacific halibut
  • Crabs
  • Mussels
  • Eel
  • Haddock
  • Clams
  • Shrimp

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.

Read also: Can I Eat Chicken Nuggets with Braces?

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.

Read also: Can I Eat Pancakes After Tooth Extraction?

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.

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