TUNA WARNING (Mercury levels in Tuna)

Starkist??  BumbleBee??  Chicken of the Sea??  Which of these brands has the lowest mercury content?  How can YOU eat this high-protein source without worrying about whether or not the mercury inside the fish will affect your body and physiology (your body’s systems) negatively?

By the way, if you don’t like tuna, and want another protein choice with no mercury, CLICK HERE.

I love boating and fishing.  Not that I’ve been boating or fishing lately, but I really do like it.  (You know, it’s funny: do you see how shiny the tuna fish is in the picture above?  Kind of looks like he’s made out of mercury, but don’t worry, he’s a skip jack tuna, one of the lowest in mercury levels…)

Why I am writing this post?  Because tuna is a wonderful, low fat, complete protein source, but the fact of the matter remains that we must  be careful now-a-days with the type of tuna we consume, and how much we consume.

During the day, I recommend to my Hershey and Harrisburg area personal training clients that they find and use a good lean protein source.  One of those sources is canned or zip-pouched tuna.  It is very convenient and cheap.

There is a reason why there is concern about mercury levels in the seafood we eat.  It is a toxin and can do a lot of harm to the body.  The best website I’ve found to deal with the problem and offer good education is http://www.gotmercury.org  On that site, they have a free “Mercury Calculator” tool that can estimate the amount of mercury in the type of fish you would like to consume and how much is “safe” for you to consume.  Some of the mercury is naturally occurring from the sea floor, but most of it is from modern industry and factories.

The Canadian safety level is less than .5 ppm (parts per million).  Here in the USA, we are behind the rest of the developed world when it comes to food quality and safety, and the USA’s “safe” cut off is higher at 1 ppm.  Also, the canned tuna industry FOUGHT HARD and threw lots of money at lobbyists to prevent them from forcing the canned tuna industry to LABEL the cans with actual mercury content.  It would cost them 7¢ more per can to test and label everything.

OK.  So if you’ve been following my articles for sometime, you may know that one way to create a “perfect” daytime fitness meal is to take a portion of protein, a portion of carbohydrates, and combine them with water and vitamins and you are good to go. And tuna is convenient and can make you feel STABILIZED when combined with the aforementioned.

By the way, if you’d like to completely skip this whole tuna thing and go to a COMPLETE PROTEIN CHOICE THAT HAS ZERO LEVELS OF MERCURY that you can get results with today, just CLICK THIS LINK and it will take you to a daytime (0r anytime) protein source that tastes great and is chemical and virtually mercury free, and can be combined with practically anything!

If you still want to eat tuna, as I do on occasion, here are my suggestions…

  1. First, if you haven’t reviewed my food chain depiction, I suggest you take a look at it later when you get a chance by browsing for it my BMM “Diet” articles.
  2. Remember that in the toxic world we live in, the lower you go on the food chain, generally speaking, the lower the levels of toxicity in your food.
  3. This means that the smaller the fish, the safer the fish.
  4. Small, vegetarian fish, such as white anchovies, flounder, tilapia, haddock, hake, herring, butterfish, catfish, clams, crab, mullet, oysters, ocean perch, canned salmon, fresh/frozen salmon, sardines, shrimp, squid, whiting, and other white-flaky smaller vegetarian fish are going to have the LOWEST levels of mercury and other toxins.
  5. The larger and more carnivorous the fish, the higher the toxin levels.  The bigger and more muscular, the higher the toxin levels: think shark, swordfish, and BIG tunas.
  6. So for tuna, the best is a tuna fish called “Skip Jack Tuna.”  This tuna is the smallest tuna and the lowest on the food chain.
  7. Albacore tuna and the more expensive tunas have the highest mercury content….  Ironic, because one would think that albacore is the safest, but it is not.
  8. “Light Tuna” or “Chunk Light Tuna” is the second lowest next to skip jack tuna.
  9. Keep in mind that in a lot of animal products that we eat, a lot of the toxins are stored in the animals fat and skin.  Therefore, choose the lowest fat tuna you can find.  And don’t eat the skin or the fat.
  10. Toxins have the most potent impact on unborn fetuses, newborns, and young children, so pregnant women should be careful with their fish consumption and choose smaller, vegetarian fish.
  11. “Organic” fish is always good if you can find it.  Wild caught in super-fresh waters is really hard to find, but if you can find it, great.
  12. As far as “brands” go, they are all about the same, unless you find some specialty brands on the internet or in natural food shops that test and label their stuff.

So, let’s say you are a woman over 50 years old and you weigh 150 pounds.  According to gotmercury.org, the most you can have is 2 cans of chunk light tuna per week.  That 12 oz of tuna will take you to 84% of the recommend maximum level of mercury.  You can check how much you can have at that site… not just for tuna, but any type of seafood.  Maybe you could try canned salmon instead, in which case you could have as much as you want according to gotmercury.org

Anyway, the point here is to build muscle, lose fat, and get in the best shape of your life.  Use the seafood tips I reccommend, and if you don’t like seafood or would like some other protein choices, I suggest trying this one.

George

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