Archive for the Nutrition Category

Ouch! Century Tuna sodium content!

Posted in Nutrition on 05/03/2009 by ganns

The past few days have found me enjoying Pan de Manila’s Sugar-free Bread. It’s a nice, moist bread made with whole wheat flour and no sugar. Oh, it’s still carby, but with less sugar, its low GI will mean more sustained energy over a longer period of time.

Today, I made two sandwiches: one standard tuna sandwich and one spinach-and-cheese sandwich, inspired by a delicious sandwich I had at Cibo. As I was making the tuna sandwich, I happened to glance at the nutrition information of the can of tuna.

Now most people tend to look at the caloric content and be done with it. Some people check fat. Others check protein. I’m one of those people. However, this time, I also happened to glance at the sodium content, and what I saw surprised me.

A 56g serving of Century Tuna (Flakes in Oil) has 280mg of sodium in it. That’s 56% of the Recommended Energy & Nutrient Intakes (RENI), the revised dietary standard of Filipinos. And that’s one serving. A small can of Century Tuna usually has three servings, so with that small can, you get 68% more than your RENI of sodium for the whole day.

And that’s just in a small can. The 420g can of Century Tuna I bought has eight servings in it! If they expect us to believe that getting up to 200% of our sodium intake in a large can of tuna is healthy, well, they’ve got another think coming. Now, Century Tuna Light has 50% less sodium, which makes it a more practical choice. A small can of three servings will give you 84% of your RENI. Go for Century Tuna Light!

Another great alternative: salmon! Salmon is better than tuna. Canned salmon has soft, edible bones, which provides 4% calcium; canned tuna doesn’t provide calcium. Canned tuna also has potentially high levels of mercury content; light tuna and salmon have significantly lower levels of mercury. Locally, canned salmon is available under the Saba brand for a few pesos more than Century Tuna, last time I checked. Here’s the downside, though: a 56g serving has 350mg of sodium. OMG. It’s “salt-added.” Saba can afford to not put the salt in, but they do (probably to help serve as preservative). So beware of the salt!

The best bet is still to go for fresh fish if you can get it. Fresh salmon belly and tuna cubes are readily available and sodium-free save for the natural saltiness of the fish.

(Side note: the Saba salmon Nutrition Information box is misleading. It says 15%, but it actually has more sodium than Century Tuna (56%). That’s because its dietary standard is not RENI, but US RDA. And other parts of the box use RENI (Male 19-29yo), or “normal individual intake.” Stick with one dietary standard, Saba, shame on you!)