Canned Chicken vs Canned Tuna For Weight Loss

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Canned Chicken vs Canned Tuna For Weight Loss

Losing weight isn’t just about shedding pounds; it’s about making the right choices to get there. The foods you choose play a pivotal role in your quest for a healthier, leaner you.

Canned foods have become a staple in today’s world, thanks to their wide variety and convenient accessibility, even for those watching their weight. Canned chicken and canned tuna are two contenders in the world of weight loss, and this article is your compass to navigate the culinary battlefield.

Delve into the specifics of canned chicken vs canned tuna for weight loss, backed by scientific insights, and discover how to maximize your weight loss journey with these pantry staples. So, gear up and let’s unravel the delicious duel between canned chicken and canned tuna!

Canned Meat

Before we delve into the distinctions between canned chicken and canned tuna, let’s first establish what constitutes canned meat.

Canned meat refers to various types of meat products that have been cooked, processed, and sealed in a can or tin, usually for the purpose of preservation and convenience. This method of preserving meat has been used for centuries and was especially popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries when refrigeration was not widely available.

Here are some key points to understand about canned meat:

Preservation: The primary reason for canning meat is to extend its shelf life. Canning involves heating the meat to a high temperature to kill harmful bacteria and enzymes that cause spoilage. Once the meat is sealed in an airtight container, it becomes less susceptible to spoilage and can be stored at room temperature for an extended period, often several years.

Varieties: Canned meat comes in various forms, including whole cuts, ground meat, sausages, and even some processed meat products like meatloaf. Common types of canned meat include canned chicken, canned beef, canned pork, canned ham, canned turkey, and canned sausages.

Processing: The process of canning meat typically involves several steps:

  • Cooking – The meat is cooked to a specific temperature to ensure it’s safe to eat and to kill any harmful microorganisms.
  • Packaging – After cooking, the meat is placed into cans or jars, and often broth, gravy, or other liquid is added for flavor and moisture.
  • Sealing – The cans are sealed airtight to prevent air and contaminants from entering, which helps maintain the meat’s quality and safety.
  • Heat Treatment – The sealed cans are then subjected to additional heat treatment, which varies depending on the type of meat and canning process. This final heat treatment helps to destroy any remaining bacteria and ensures long-term shelf stability.

Long Shelf Life: Canned meat has an extended shelf life, making it suitable for emergency food storage, camping, or situations where refrigeration isn’t available. It can remain safe to eat for years as long as the seal remains intact and the cans are stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

Nutrition: Canned meat typically retains most of its nutritional value during the canning process. It remains a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. However, it’s essential to be mindful of added ingredients like sodium, which can be relatively high in some canned meat products, such as canned soups and processed meats.

Usage: Canned meat can be used in various dishes, including sandwiches, soups, stews, casseroles, and pasta dishes. It’s a convenient option for adding protein to meals when fresh meat is not readily available.

Safety Precautions: While canned meat is generally safe to consume, it’s essential to check for signs of spoilage, such as bulging cans, off-putting odors, or unusual color changes, before consuming it. Also, ensure that the can’s seal is intact and hasn’t been compromised.

Nutritional Profile

Now that you have a grasp of how canned meat is processed let’s dive into the nutritional profiles of canned chicken and canned tuna.

Canned Chicken Nutrition

Canned chicken is a versatile protein source, providing a substantial amount of lean protein while keeping the fat content in check. For individuals looking to shed those extra pounds, protein is your ally. It not only helps in preserving muscle mass but also boosts your metabolism.

Protein Content: Canned chicken typically offers around 31 grams of protein per 3.5-ounce (100g) serving1. This is vital for those seeking to maintain or build lean muscle mass while losing weight1.

Low Fat: Canned chicken is renowned for being low in fat, making it an excellent choice for calorie-conscious individuals.

Vitamins and Minerals: It also contains essential vitamins and minerals, such as B-vitamins, selenium, and phosphorus, which are necessary for overall health and metabolism.

Canned Tuna Nutrition

Canned tuna, particularly albacore and skipjack tuna, is known for its high omega-3 fatty acid content, making it an attractive option for health-conscious individuals. Omega-3 fatty acids are not only heart-healthy but can also aid in weight loss.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Canned tuna is packed with omega-3s, specifically EPA and DHA, which have been associated with reduced inflammation, improved insulin sensitivity, and enhanced fat oxidation2,3.

Protein: Tuna offers a solid dose of protein, similar to chicken, with approximately 19 grams of protein per 3.5-ounce (100g) serving4.

Vitamins and Minerals: It also provides essential nutrients such as selenium, B vitamins, and potassium.

Canned Chicken Parts

Canned chicken typically contains various parts of the chicken, which may include:

Chicken Breast: Canned chicken breast is the leanest and most commonly used part of the chicken in canned chicken products. It’s known for its relatively low-fat content and high protein content.

Chicken Thighs: Some canned chicken products may also include chicken thighs, which have a slightly higher fat content compared to chicken breasts.

Chicken Legs: In some cases, canned chicken may contain chicken legs or drumsticks, which are also slightly higher in fat than chicken breasts.

Mechanically Separated Chicken: In some canned chicken products, particularly those used for products like chicken spreads and processed foods, mechanically separated chicken may be used. This is a paste-like mixture of chicken meat, including smaller bits and sometimes even the bones. It’s finely processed and used in products where a smoother texture is desired.

The specific parts used in canned chicken can vary between brands and products, so it’s a good idea to check the product label or description for more details on the chicken content. Most canned chicken products are cooked, shredded, and packed in water or other liquids to preserve their freshness.

Types Of Canned Tuna

There are several species of tuna, each with its own characteristics and qualities. Some of the most common tuna species include:

Albacore Tuna: Albacore tuna, also known as “white tuna,” is prized for its mild flavor and firm texture. It is often used for canned tuna products, especially solid white tuna.

Yellowfin Tuna: Yellowfin tuna is known for its bright yellow fins and slightly stronger flavor compared to albacore. It is a popular choice for sushi and sashimi and is also used in canned tuna.

Skipjack Tuna: Skipjack tuna is one of the smaller tuna species and has a distinct, pronounced flavor. It is commonly used in canned chunk light tuna.

Bigeye Tuna: Bigeye tuna is larger than skipjack and yellowfin tuna and has a rich, flavorful taste. It is often used for sashimi, sushi, and grilling.

Bluefin Tuna: Bluefin tuna is one of the largest and most sought-after tuna species. It is known for its high-fat content and rich, buttery flavor. Bluefin tuna is prized for sashimi and sushi and is often found in high-end seafood dishes.

Bonito: Bonito is a smaller tuna species and is related to skipjack tuna. It has a strong, bold flavor and is commonly used in Mediterranean and Japanese cuisines.

Blackfin Tuna: Blackfin tuna is smaller in size compared to other tuna species and is known for its tender, mild flesh. It is often grilled or used in salads.

Bullet Tuna: Bullet tuna is a smaller species of tuna with a more moderate flavor. It is commonly used in Asian cuisine, especially in salads and dishes that require canned tuna.

These are just a few examples of tuna species, and there are more varieties found in different regions around the world. The choice of canned tuna depends on personal taste preferences, dietary considerations, and the intended use in recipes.

Studies Confirming The Benefits

Several studies support the weight loss benefits of including canned chicken or tuna in your diet:

Canned Chicken Studies

  • A study published in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” found that a high-protein diet, including lean protein sources like chicken, increased satiety and promoted greater fat loss5.
  • Another review suggests that diets rich in protein can help maintain muscle mass during weight loss, which is essential for long-term success6.

Canned Tuna Studies

  • Research discovered that omega-3 supplementation, such as that found in canned fish like tuna, contributed to greater fat loss and improved insulin sensitivity in overweight individuals7,8.
  • A study revealed that a part of tuna called TP-D can help prevent the formation of fat cells, potentially fighting obesity9.

Cooking With Canned Chicken And Canned Tuna

Preparing canned chicken and canned tuna is relatively simple and convenient. Here’s a basic guide on how to prepare and cook them:

Cooking Canned Chicken

  1. Open the Can: Use a can opener to remove the lid of the canned chicken.
  2. Drain and Rinse (Optional): Depending on your recipe and dietary preferences, you may choose to drain and rinse canned chicken under cold water to reduce the sodium content or remove any excess liquid.
  3. Shred or Flake: Canned chicken is usually packed in small chunks or shreds. If your recipe calls for shredded or flaked chicken, use a fork to break it apart into the desired consistency.
  4. Cooking Methods: You can use canned chicken in various recipes. Common cooking methods include:
  • Stovetop – Add the canned chicken to a skillet or saucepan with other ingredients to make dishes like chicken tacos, chicken salad, or chicken soup.
  • Microwave – Heat the canned chicken in a microwave-safe container for a quick meal. Be sure to follow the microwave’s instructions for heating times.
  • Oven – Use canned chicken as a topping for casseroles, pizzas, or baked dishes.
  1. Season and Flavor: Season the canned chicken to taste with your preferred herbs, spices, sauces, or dressings to enhance the flavor.

Cooking Canned Tuna

  1. Open the Can: Use a can opener to remove the lid of the canned tuna.
  2. Drain (Optional): Canned tuna is often packed in water, oil, or brine. You can drain the liquid from the can if desired. Tuna packed in water is a lighter option, while tuna in oil adds richness and flavor.
  3. Flake or Keep Whole: Depending on your recipe, you can choose to flake the tuna with a fork for salads and sandwiches or use it whole for dishes like tuna steaks.
  4. Cooking Methods: Canned tuna is versatile and can be used in various ways:
  • Cold Dishes – Use it in salads, sandwiches, wraps, or as a topping for crackers.
  • Hot Dishes – Incorporate it into hot pasta dishes, casseroles, or stir-fries.
  • Grilling – Make tuna patties or grill tuna steaks for a delicious main course.
  1. Season and Enhance: Add seasonings, herbs, spices, sauces, or other ingredients to customize the flavor of your canned tuna dish.

Canned Chicken And Canned Tuna Recipes

Canned Chicken Culinary Adventures

Canned chicken is a culinary chameleon, adapting to various dishes. Here’s how you can make the most of it:

1. Chicken Salad: Combine canned chicken with Greek yogurt, diced celery, and a dash of mustard for a low-calorie chicken salad.

2. Chicken Wraps: Make a healthy wrap with whole-grain tortillas, canned chicken, lettuce, and a dollop of low-fat ranch dressing.

3. Chicken Soup: Add canned chicken to a hearty vegetable soup for a comforting meal that’s high in protein.

Tuna Triumphs In The Kitchen

Canned tuna, too, has a versatile role in your kitchen. Here are some delicious options:

1. Tuna Salad: Mix canned tuna with chopped red onion, cucumber, and a light vinaigrette dressing for a refreshing salad.

2. Tuna Sandwich: Create a classic tuna sandwich with whole-grain bread, lettuce, and a touch of mayo.

3. Tuna Casserole: Whip up a tuna casserole with whole-grain pasta, canned tuna, peas, and a creamy sauce for a comforting, high-protein dish.

Pairing Canned Chicken And Tuna For Balanced Meals

While you can choose between canned chicken and tuna, you can also combine these protein sources in your meals for variety and added nutrition.

1. Protein-Packed Salad: Create a vibrant salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and a blend of canned chicken and tuna. Top it with a balsamic vinaigrette for a satisfying, low-calorie meal.

2. Wrap it Up: Prepare a protein-packed wrap by using a whole-grain tortilla and filling it with a mixture of canned chicken and tuna, along with your favorite veggies and a light sauce.

3. Stir-fry Sensation: Stir-fry canned chicken and tuna with a medley of colorful vegetables and a low-sodium stir-fry sauce for a quick and nutritious dinner.

Safety Tips For Consumption

In different aspects of consumption, it’s quite normal to ask, “Is canned tuna and canned chicken healthy and safe?”

Safety is crucial when consuming canned chicken and canned tuna to ensure you enjoy these products without any health risks. Here are some safety tips for eating canned chicken and canned tuna:

Inspect the Can: Before opening the can, check for any signs of damage, such as dents, bulges, or rust. Damaged cans can indicate spoilage or contamination, so it’s best to avoid them.

Check the Expiration Date: Always look at the expiration or “best by” date on the can. Consuming products past their expiration date can pose health risks.

Store Properly: Store canned chicken and tuna in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and temperature extremes. Proper storage helps maintain product quality.

Wash Hands: Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before handling canned meat or seafood to prevent cross-contamination.

Use Clean Utensils: When removing the meat from the can, use clean utensils to avoid introducing harmful bacteria.

Drain Excess Liquid: If you’re using canned tuna packed in oil or brine, drain the excess liquid before using it in recipes. This can help reduce the sodium or fat content in your dishes.

Refrigerate Leftovers: If you have leftover canned chicken or tuna, transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate it promptly. Consume refrigerated leftovers within a few days.

Avoid Consuming Raw: While they are pre-cooked, it’s advisable not to consume raw chicken and tuna even if they canned. Cooking or reheating the meat before eating it can help eliminate any potential bacteria.

Monitor for Allergies: If you or anyone you are serving has seafood or poultry allergies, be cautious and read labels carefully to avoid allergen exposure.

Minimize Mercury Exposure: If you’re concerned about mercury levels in tuna, consider choosing “light” tuna or other low-mercury seafood options. Limit consumption of high-mercury fish, especially for pregnant women and young children.

Diverse Diet: Include a variety of protein sources in your diet to avoid excessive consumption of any one type of canned meat or seafood.

Follow Recipe Guidelines: When preparing dishes with canned chicken or tuna, follow cooking or recipe guidelines to ensure that the food is cooked thoroughly and safely.

Symptoms of Spoilage: If you notice any unusual odors, colors, or textures when opening a can, or if the food appears spoiled, do not consume it. Dispose of it properly.

By following these safety tips, you can enjoy canned chicken and canned tuna while minimizing the risk of foodborne illness or spoilage.

Conclusion: Canned Chicken vs Canned Tuna For Weight Loss

Both canned chicken and canned tuna have their unique advantages when it comes to weight loss. Canned chicken is a lean protein option that supports muscle preservation and satiety, while canned tuna provides heart-healthy omega-3s and enhances fat loss. The choice between these two should depend on your dietary preferences and nutritional goals.

The scientific evidence solidly supports the inclusion of these canned proteins in your weight loss journey. Whether you’re cooking up a storm in the kitchen or seeking quick, nutritious meals, both canned chicken and tuna can be your allies in achieving your weight loss goals. So, why not enjoy the best of both worlds and embrace a balanced, healthy diet with these canned treasures?


1 FoodData Central. (n.d.). https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171477/nutrients

2 Abbott, K., Burrows, T., Acharya, S., Thota, R. N., & Garg, M. L. (2020). DHA-enriched fish oil reduces insulin resistance in overweight and obese adults. Prostaglandins Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids, 159, 102154. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.plefa.2020.102154

3 Albracht-Schulte, K., Kalupahana, N. S., Ramalingam, L., Wang, S., Rahman, S. M., Robert-McComb, J., & Moustaid-Moussa, N. (2018). Omega-3 fatty acids in obesity and metabolic syndrome: a mechanistic update. The Journal of nutritional biochemistry, 58, 1–16. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jnutbio.2018.02.012

4 FoodData Central. (n.d.). https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/334194/nutrients

5 Leidy, H. J., Clifton, P. M., Astrup, A., Wycherley, T. P., Westerterp-Plantenga, M. S., Luscombe-Marsh, N. D., Woods, S. C., & Mattes, R. D. (2015). The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 101(6), 1320S–1329S. https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.114.084038

6 Paddon-Jones, D., & Leidy, H. (2014). Dietary protein and muscle in older persons. Current opinion in clinical nutrition and metabolic care, 17(1), 5–11. https://doi.org/10.1097/MCO.0000000000000011

7 Khalili, L., Valdes-Ramos, R., & Harbige, L. S. (2021). Effect of n-3 (Omega-3) Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Supplementation on Metabolic and Inflammatory Biomarkers and Body Weight in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of RCTs. Metabolites, 11(11), 742. https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo11110742

8 Salman, H. B., Salman, M. A., & Yildiz Akal, E. (2022). The effect of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on weight loss and cognitive function in overweight or obese individuals on weight-loss diet. El efecto de la suplementación con ácidos grasos omega-3 sobre la pérdida de peso y las funciones cognitivas en personas con sobrepeso u obesidad en dieta para adelgazar. Nutricion hospitalaria, 39(4), 803–813. https://doi.org/10.20960/nh.03992

9 Kim, Y. M., Kim, I. H., Choi, J. W., Lee, M. K., & Nam, T. J. (2015). The anti-obesity effects of a tuna peptide on 3T3-L1 adipocytes are mediated by the inhibition of the expression of lipogenic and adipogenic genes and by the activation of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. International journal of molecular medicine, 36(2), 327–334. https://doi.org/10.3892/ijmm.2015.2231


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