Achieving your weight loss goals necessitates adopting a well-balanced diet that provides your body with the essential nutrition it requires while also promoting optimal weight management. When it comes to protein-rich foods, two highly beneficial options are chicken and tuna. These nutritious choices offer distinct advantages that can accelerate your weight loss journey.
When considering chicken vs tuna for weight loss, this article aims to explore the nutritional benefits of these lean protein sources, assisting weight watchers like you in making an informed decision on which option to incorporate into your diet.
Chicken And Tuna: Calories, Protein, Fat, Carbohydrates, Vitamins, And Minerals
Protein is vital in supporting muscle maintenance and repair, promoting satiety, and preserving lean body mass during a caloric deficit.
When it comes to lean protein sources, chicken stands out as an excellent option due to its high protein content and relatively low fat content per serving, making it a popular choice among health-conscious individuals. Moreover, chicken is rich in essential nutrients, adding to its nutritional value.
The calorie content and protein-to-fat ratio of chicken can vary based on the specific cut and preparation method. From succulent drumsticks to flavorful wings, tender thighs, and versatile breasts, chicken offers a variety of choices to suit different preferences and dietary needs.
To ensure you make the most informed choices, it’s helpful to be mindful of the calorie counts and protein-to-fat ratios, which can vary depending on the specific cut of chicken you choose.
One of the most popular chicken cuts is the chicken breast. It is an excellent option for those attempting to reduce weight because it is high in protein and low in fat1. A typical serving of skinless, boneless chicken breast (approximately 3.5 ounces or 100 grams) contains about 165 calories, making it a calorie-conscious addition to meals. In that same 100-gram serving, chicken breast can provide around 31 grams of high-quality protein.
As for other cuts per serving, a boiled chicken thigh (116g) provides 208 calories, 2.3g of saturated fat, and 28.8g of protein, while 21g of skinless, boneless chicken wings offers 43 calories and 6.4g of protein. Additionally, a boiled chicken drumstick (96g) contains 149 calories, 2.1g of saturated fat, and 23.2g of protein.
Additionally, chicken offers essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B6, niacin, phosphorus, and selenium, which are crucial for various bodily functions.
On the other hand, tuna, a popular fish choice, is equally worthy of attention if you are on a weight loss journey. Canned tuna, in particular, is a convenient and widely available option. A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of raw tuna typically provides around 109 calories, less than 1g of fat, and 24g of protein2. Meanwhile, a standard 100g serving of canned tuna packed in water typically provides approximately 100 calories.
One of the standout nutritional features of tuna is its rich content of omega-3 fatty acids, specifically eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These essential fatty acids offer numerous health benefits, including supporting heart health, reducing inflammation, and contributing to brain function3.
Tuna also provides essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin D, B12, selenium, and phosphorus, enhancing its nutritional value.
Health Benefits Of Tuna
1. Prevent Anemia
Vitamin B12, necessary for the development of DNA, is abundant in tuna. Additionally, vitamin B12 aids in the production of new red blood cells and helps to ward off anemia4.
2. Promotes Heart Health
Tuna is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids play a crucial role in reducing inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation is associated with various health issues, including heart disease, and omega-3s can help mitigate inflammation, and stress levels in the body, contributing to weight gain5.
3. Aid in Blood Sugar Control
The omega-3 fatty acids in tuna are good for managing diabetes and are free of carbs. Fish containing a lot of omega-3s, such as albacore tuna, are among the top 10 superfoods, according to the American Diabetes Association. Researchers found that eating fish twice a week helps aid diabetes6.
4. Boost Weight Loss
Including fish, such as lean or fatty fish and fish oil, as part of an energy-restricted diet has been found to promote approximately 1 kg more weight loss after 4 weeks in young, overweight men compared to a similar diet without seafood or marine-based supplements7.
Health Benefits Of Chicken
1. Boost Muscle and Bones Strength
The amino acids needed to build muscular tissue, especially as you age, are abundant in chicken. According to research, higher protein consumption may also help preserve bone mineral density8. By eating chicken, you can fortify your muscles and create stronger bones, lowering your chance of accidents caused by osteoporosis.
2. Improves the Mood
Tryptophan, an amino acid found in chicken, has been associated with greater brain levels of serotonin (the “feel good” hormone)9. People who experience mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression, may find that eating chicken helps them feel better. It has a lot of amino acids, which aid in mood improvement and stress relief for the brain.
3. Helps you Lose Weight
Consuming protein-rich foods, such as chicken, could improve satiety, making you feel full and satisfied after meals. This feeling of fullness can cause you to consume fewer calories, potentially assisting in weight loss management.
4. Regulates Blood Pressure
According to a study, chicken can significantly improve high blood pressure. Physicians recommend those with high blood pressure create a healthy lunch with vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy, and chicken10.
Who Should Not Eat Chicken And Tuna?
Both chicken and tuna offer their own health benefits. However, it is important to consider your health conditions, dietary restrictions, and allergies. Here are some groups of individuals who may need to be cautious when consuming chicken and tuna:
- If you have allergies: Both chicken and tuna are known allergens for some people. People with a known allergy to chicken or tuna should avoid consuming them to prevent allergic reactions. Symptoms of food allergies can range from mild, such as hives and itching, to severe, including difficulty breathing and anaphylaxis11,12.
- Mercury concerns: Tuna, particularly certain types of larger tuna species, can contain higher levels of mercury, which can be harmful, especially to pregnant women, nursing mothers, and young children. High mercury levels can adversely affect the nervous system and brain development13,14.
- Dietary restrictions: Individuals who follow specific dietary plans, such as vegetarian or vegan diets, will need to avoid chicken due to its animal origin. Additionally, those following religious dietary restrictions may abstain from consuming chicken or tuna.
- Health conditions: Individuals with gout may need to moderate their intake of high-purine foods like tuna15. Those with kidney issues may need to monitor their protein intake, including chicken and tuna16. Individuals with histamine intolerance may be sensitive to canned tuna due to its higher histamine content17.
Chicken vs Tuna For Weight Loss: Final Thoughts
Choosing between chicken and tuna can be a pivotal decision in the quest for weight loss and overall health. Both are valuable protein sources, but their unique nutritional profiles offer distinct advantages. Incorporating these options into a healthy diet can support your weight loss journey while providing essential nutrients for overall well-being.
Chicken’s high protein content makes it an ideal choice for those looking to build muscle mass, whether grilled, baked, or added to nutritious soups. On the other hand, eating fish, such as canned tuna, unleashes a trove of omega-3 fatty acids that promote heart health, reduce appetite, and sustain energy levels.
Opting for chicken soups or grilled tuna, rather than calorie-dense alternatives, can help you stay lean while satisfying your taste buds. Both choices offer a low-calorie content and less salt, making them favorable for cardiovascular health.
Ultimately, a well-rounded and balanced diet is the key to successful weight loss. By choosing chicken and tuna as part of your protein-rich meal plan, you can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, nourish your body, and build muscles while sustaining your energy levels.
Whether your goal is to lose weight, maintain a healthy weight, or simply make better dietary choices, incorporating chicken and tuna into your meals offers a nutritious and delightful path to achieving your weight loss and overall wellness objectives.
5 Swanson D, Block R, Mousa SA. Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA: health benefits throughout life. Adv Nutr. 2012 Jan;3(1):1-7. doi: 10.3945/an.111.000893. Epub 2012 Jan 5. PMID: 22332096; PMCID: PMC3262608.
7 Thorsdottir I, Tomasson H, Gunnarsdottir I, Gisladottir E, Kiely M, Parra MD, Bandarra NM, Schaafsma G, Martinéz JA. Randomized trial of weight-loss-diets for young adults varying in fish and fish oil content. Int J Obes (Lond). 2007 Oct;31(10):1560-6. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0803643. Epub 2007 May 15. PMID: 17502874.
8 BRANCHED-CHAIN AMINO ACIDS (BCAA): Overview, Uses, Side Effects, Precautions, Interactions, Dosing and Reviews. (n.d.). BRANCHED-CHAIN AMINO ACIDS (BCAA): Overview, Uses, Side Effects, Precautions, Interactions, Dosing and Reviews.
13 Chen B, Dong S. Mercury Contamination in Fish and Its Effects on the Health of Pregnant Women and Their Fetuses, and Guidance for Fish Consumption-A Narrative Review. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Nov 29;19(23):15929. doi: 10.3390/ijerph192315929. PMID: 36498005; PMCID: PMC9739465.
14 Kim EH, Kim IK, Kwon JY, Kim SW, Park YW. The effect of fish consumption on blood mercury levels of pregnant women. Yonsei Med J. 2006 Oct 31;47(5):626-33. doi: 10.3349/ymj.2006.47.5.626. PMID: 17066506; PMCID: PMC2687748.
15 Kakutani-Hatayama M, Kadoya M, Okazaki H, Kurajoh M, Shoji T, Koyama H, Tsutsumi Z, Moriwaki Y, Namba M, Yamamoto T. Nonpharmacological Management of Gout and Hyperuricemia: Hints for Better Lifestyle. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2015 Sep 2;11(4):321-329. doi: 10.1177/1559827615601973. PMID: 30202351; PMCID: PMC6125106.
16 Ko GJ, Obi Y, Tortorici AR, Kalantar-Zadeh K. Dietary protein intake and chronic kidney disease. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2017 Jan;20(1):77-85. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000342. PMID: 27801685; PMCID: PMC5962279.
17 Crobu L, Mudadu AG, Melillo R, Pais GL, Meloni D. Qualitative determination of histamine in canned yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) marketed in Sardinia (Italy) by rapid screening methods. Ital J Food Saf. 2021 Jul 1;10(2):9379. doi: 10.4081/ijfs.2021.9379. PMID: 34322399; PMCID: PMC8273629.