Is Canned Tuna Processed Meat?


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A staple in many kitchens and a lunchtime favorite for many, canned tuna is packed full of protein. It can also last for several years in your pantry making it an easy and affordable meal. It can be eaten in a variety of ways as well. Just pop open the can preserving the fish meat and use however you’d like. 

You can find some great recipes for canned tuna here

Since tuna comes in a can, some may question if it is a type of processed meat. Processed foods usually contain huge amounts of chemicals in it which are used for preservation and for some, this can cause alarm. Many people believe that it can’t be safe to eat chemically processed foods. Some meats are slo processed so they last for a long time. 

So, is canned tuna processed meat?

Canned tuna is a processed meat. It undergoes certain steps in order to can and preserve it. But, it isn’t cured meat or treated with a lot of salt or potassium nitrate. This means that although canned tuna is processed meat, it doesn’t contain any chemical by-products.

Is Canned Tuna Processed Meat?

If you enjoy eating canned tuna, you don’t need to worry about it being unhealthy. Although some salt is added to the tuna, it has a lot of health benefits and is just pressure- cooked and sealed in a can so it is ready for you to eat. 

When most people think of processed meat it is usually meat that is smoked, salted, cured, or fermented. But, when tuna is canned, it does go through some processing. This is because you can only find unprocessed tuna swimming in the ocean. 

Processed foods are generally considered to be foods that oil, sugar, or salt have been added to and then packaged. This includes foods that are cooked, frozen, packaged and canned which preserve the food. 

So, when we cook, bake, or prepare food, it is processed. Now, processed foods can fall into different categories depending on how processed they are. Some are less processed than others. 

Canned foods like canned tuna are processed at their peak to lock in their nutritional quality and freshness. So, it isn’t always bad to eat so-called “processed” foods. However, with some foods, a lot of sodium and sugars are added to preserve them and this can be unhealthy to eat all of the time. 

They go through a process to package the food so that they aren’t affected by bacteria. Canned tuna is sealed and pressure-cooked in order to kill any bacteria. This also cooks the meat making it processed.

To see some of the most popular tuna options available just click here. 

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Why Shouldn’t You Eat Canned Tuna?

It seems canned tuna is either loved or hated. Some like a tuna salad sandwich while others can’t stand the stuff. It’s your own personal reference whether you like to eat canned tuna or not. 

But the question is, should you? Tuna offers many health benefits but it also could have some harmful effects. So, why shouldn’t you eat canned tuna?

Some say that eating tuna can cause some health issues. Some of the main reasons why you shouldn’t eat tuna is because of possible mercury poisoning and the harm it causes to the environment.

Now, tuna can be healthy for you. In fact, it is the easiest and most affordable source of protein you can buy. It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are anti-inflammatory and heart-protectant. It also contains about 20 to 25 grams of protein per can. 

Tuna is rich in VItamin D and also low in carbs. So, although it seems like it is healthy to eat, according to some research, canned tuna shouldn’t really be part of your diet. Here are 10 reason why you shouldn’t eat canned tuna:

  • Mercury poisoning.
  • Because of industrial pollution, tuna accumulates toxic mercury in their flesh. This can cause mercury poisoning and is not safe.
  • Bad for your heart.
  • Tuna contains heavy metal which is not good for your heart. Beacsu of these, the benefits from omega-3 fatty acids in fish are outweighed by the heavy metal toxins.
  • Saving the tuna.
    • Some believe in saving tuna, vegans especially. It is believed that tuna are treated cruelly and suffer horrible deaths which those who want to save the fish despise.
  • Harmful for the environment.
  • Environmentalists and vegans also say that the fishing industry hurts the environment. They aren’t wrong about the harmful and destructive effects it has on our oceans.
  • Tuna are amazing fish.
  • Smaller tuna are used for canning but some tuna can grow to be pretty large. They are also very active swimming more than 100 miles a day at 40 mph.
  • You could get sick.
  • Seafood is the number one cause of food poisoning in the U.S. and canned tuna can cause Scombroid poisoning. To avoid getting sick, stay away from tuna.
  • BPA poisoning.
  • Canned tuna could cause BPA poisoning. This is controversial but it is said that the cans could be lined with BPA materials which negatively affect your health.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Tuna could cause high blood pressure because of the sodium it contains. If eaten often, the sodium in canned tuna could increase your wish for high blood pressure.
  • There are alternatives.
  • You can buy non-tuna tuna that is vegan and environmentally friendly while also saving your health. There are also many kinds of other fish to eat.
  • Tuna is not very good.
  • Now, some people may like it but to some, The color can be a strong gray and in reality, it is kind of like eating canned cat food.

As you can see, canned tuna is said to have some healthy benefits but it also could also be unhealthy for you to eat. It contains a lot of nutrition like omega-3s that are good for you. 

However, this protein packed snack or lunch is affordable and easy to eat, but could be harmful to your health in several ways. Though it may sound contradictory, these ways are not from processing but from other factors such as mercury poisoning and environmental destruction. 

Tuna is processed meat since it has to go through processing in order to preserve it but that in and of itself doesn’t make it bad. 

Hannah R.

Hey, I'm Hannah and I'm the founder of Get Eatin'.

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