How many calories in a tin of tuna in oil?

Tuna packed in oil can be a nutritious addition to a healthy diet, but it does contain more calories than tuna canned in water. The number of calories in a tin of tuna varies depending on the variety (white or light), brand, and size of the can. Generally speaking, a 5 ounce (142 gram) can of tuna in oil contains about:

Quick Answer

– White tuna in oil: around 320 calories

– Light tuna in oil: around 260 calories

So a standard 5 ounce tin of tuna in oil can provide 20-25% of your daily calorie needs in one serving. However, tuna canned in oil has around twice as many calories as tuna canned in water. Below is a more detailed look at the calorie count of different types and sizes of tuna in oil.

Calories in White Tuna in Oil

White tuna refers to albacore tuna, which is a larger species of tuna that is milder in flavor and ivory colored. It’s often labeled “solid white tuna” on cans. Here are the calories for 5 ounce cans of white tuna in oil from a few top brands:

Brand Calories
Bumble Bee Solid White Tuna in Oil 320
Chicken of the Sea White Tuna in Oil 330
StarKist Solid White Tuna in Oil 330

As you can see, a 5 ounce can of white tuna in oil contains around 320-330 calories across popular brands. Starkist also makes a 2.6 ounce can of white tuna in oil that contains 170 calories.

Calories per Ounce of White Tuna in Oil

To determine the calories in cans of different sizes, you can calculate around 60-65 calories per ounce of white tuna in oil:

  • 5 oz can = 320 calories, or 64 calories per oz
  • 2.6 oz can = 170 calories, or 65 calories per oz

So for any size can of white tuna in oil, you can estimate 60-65 calories per ounce. A 6 ounce can would contain around 380 calories.

Calories in Light Tuna in Oil

Light tuna, also labeled “chunk light tuna”, comes from smaller tuna species like skipjack. The color is darker and the flavor is stronger than white tuna. Here are the calories for some top brands of light tuna in oil (5 oz cans):

Brand Calories
Bumble Bee Chunk Light Tuna in Oil 260
Chicken of the Sea Chunk Light Tuna in Oil 270
StarKist Chunk Light Tuna in Oil 270

Per 5 ounce can, light tuna in oil has around 260-270 calories across popular brands. Starkist and Chicken of the Sea also offer 3 ounce cans, which contain around 150 calories.

Calories per Ounce of Light Tuna in Oil

To find the calories for other can sizes of light tuna in oil, you can calculate around 50-55 calories per ounce:

  • 5 oz can = 260 calories, or 52 calories per oz
  • 3 oz can = 150 calories, or 50 calories per oz

So you can estimate 50-55 calories for every ounce of light tuna packed in oil. A 6 ounce can would have over 300 calories.

Tuna Variety Differences

As shown above, white albacore tuna packed in oil contains about 20% more calories than light tuna per ounce. Here are some of the factors that account for the higher calorie content:

  • Higher fat content – Albacore tuna is fattier than skipjack or other light tuna varieties.
  • Larger flake size – White tuna flakes are larger than light tuna, which adds more volume.
  • Less water content – Solid white tuna is drier than chunk light.

The combination of higher fat, less water, and more tuna volume results in more calories per ounce in white tuna compared to light. However, both varieties are high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids when packed in oil.

Tuna Canned in Oil vs Water

While tuna canned in oil has more calories than tuna packed in water, it does have some advantages:

  • Higher amount of healthy unsaturated fats from the vegetable oil
  • Increased absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K
  • Higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA
  • Improved flavor from the oils

The oils added to tuna provide important nutrients and benefits. However, tuna in water is significantly lower in calories and fat. Here’s a comparison of the calories in a 5 oz can of light tuna, using Starkist as an example:

Type Calories
Chunk light in vegetable oil 270
Chunk light in water 120

As shown above, canned tuna in oil contains over twice the number of calories compared to tuna in water. The oil adds around 140 extra calories per 5 oz serving. If you’re trying to cut back on calories, tuna canned in water is a lower calorie option.

Nutrition Facts for Tuna in Oil

Here is the full nutrition breakdown for a 5 ounce can of light tuna in vegetable oil:

Nutrient Amount % Daily Value
Calories 260 13%
Protein 29g 58%
Carbohydrates 0g 0%
Fat 12g 15%
Saturated Fat 2.5g 13%
Polyunsaturated Fat 3.5g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 45mg 15%
Sodium 450mg 19%
Potassium 200mg 4%
Vitamin A 15%
Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 2%
Iron 10%

As you can see, tuna canned in oil is high in protein, vitamins, and important omega-3 fatty acids. But it also contains saturated fat and sodium, so it should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

Tips to Reduce Calories in Tuna

If you’re trying to decrease the number of calories in canned tuna, here are some tips:

  • Choose tuna canned in water instead of oil
  • Opt for light tuna over white tuna
  • Drain the oil before eating to remove some excess fat and calories
  • Rinse the tuna with water to wash away additional oil
  • Buy tuna packed in “low calorie” olive oil for a healthier oil option
  • Limit portion size to 2-3 ounces or less per serving
  • Pair with low calorie ingredients like mustard instead of mayo

You can also look for low sodium versions to reduce the salt content while keeping calories in check. With some minor tweaks, tuna can be a flavorful, nutritious addition to a low calorie meal.

Common Questions

Is tuna high in calories?

Tuna is a high protein, low calorie food. A 3 ounce serving of tuna canned in water contains around 90 calories. When packed in oil, the calorie content increases to about 150 calories for 3 ounces. So tuna in oil does contain more calories, but tuna is still relatively low in calories compared to many other protein foods.

Is tuna canned in oil healthy?

Yes, tuna canned in oil can be part of a healthy diet. The oils help increase the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in tuna. However, tuna canned in water is lower in calories and fat while still providing high quality protein. To balance nutrition and calories, experts often recommend alternating between tuna in water vs oil.

What is the healthiest canned tuna?

The healthiest canned tuna depends on your specific needs and dietary preferences. Light tuna is lower in mercury than white tuna. Water packed tuna contains fewer calories than oil packed. But tuna in oil provides more healthy fats. Look for tuna canned in water or olive oil for an option that is sustainable and eco-friendly.

Is tuna high in sodium?

Yes, canned tuna can be high in sodium. A 5 ounce can may contain 450-500mg of sodium, which is about 20% of the daily recommended limit. To help reduce your sodium intake, look for low sodium or no salt added canned tuna. Also, be sure to drain and rinse your tuna before eating.

Is canned tuna good for weight loss?

Tuna can be an excellent addition to a weight loss diet. It is high in protein which helps you feel full for longer. Canned tuna is portable, affordable, and convenient. Choose tuna canned in water and watch your portion sizes to keep calories low. Tuna is a lean source of protein that can help with fat loss.

The Bottom Line

Tuna canned in oil contains more calories than tuna packed in water. A standard 5 ounce can has around:

  • White tuna in oil: 320 calories
  • Light tuna in oil: 260 calories

To reduce the calories, opt for tuna in water, choose light tuna varieties, and drain or rinse the oil before eating. While tuna in oil is higher in calories, the added oils provide important nutrients like healthy fats. Overall, tuna can be included as part of a balanced, low calorie diet when portion sizes and preparation methods are taken into account.

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