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Tuna Packed In Soy And Additives

Posted Jul 01 2009 6:34pm

Bumble Bee TunaChicken Of The SeaStarkist
Yes, that’s right. Beware of canned tuna. Most, if not all, of big brand name tunas are canned with soy and additives. The large print may say Chunk Light Tuna In Water or Albacore Tuna In Water, but if you read the fine print under the ingredient listings, you will see that it’s not water, but a “broth”. This “broth” contains soy products and many times MSG (monosodium glutamate). In addition, you might also see several chemicals listed.

I ate these brand name tunas for years, thinking they only contained what they said on the front of their packaging. It wasn’t until embarking on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, when I started reading ingredient listings on everything I picked up, that I realized they also contained other ingredients. Being highly adverse to soy, and highly sensitive to MSG, I immediately stopped buying these and started looking for better products.

Here is some information from the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Most inexpensive canned tuna contains two ingredients that turn the fish into sponges so it absorbs more water that drains right out: soy (often listed as vegetable broth containing soy) and sodium pyrophosphate. You may be paying less money, but what you’re getting is less tuna and more additives. Three companies, StarKist, Bumble Bee, and Chicken of the Sea, represent more than 80 percent of America’s canned tuna, but most of their products contain additives, something easily checked in the can’s list of ingredients.

Here are the ingredients of the three main brands:
Bumble Bee
Ingredients: White Tuna, Water, Hydrolyzed Casein, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Vegetable Broth, Salt, Pyrophosphate.

Chicken of the Sea
Ingredients: Solid White Tuna, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Vegetable Broth, Salt, Pyrophosphate.

Star Kist
Ingredients: Solid White Tuna, Spring Water, Vegetable Broth, and Salt.

These big brand tunas contain up to 18% hydrolyzed protein and up to 17% flakes, making them as much as 35% total additives. Also, hydrolyzed proteins may cause reactions in people who are sensitive to MSG (like me). The process of protein hydrolysis creates MSG, because MSG is not listed as an ingredient, sensitive consumers can have reactions to tuna packed with HVP or HSP.

As such, all of these canned tunas are not SCD legal. I definitely noticed a difference in how I felt once I switched over to canned tuna that only contained tuna and water. And it’s not all that much more expensive. When the big brands are on sale, you can usually get them for about 99 cents a can. The better tuna, canned without additives is anywhere from 30 to 50 cents more a can. But it’s so worth it.

After reading every tuna can label in the supermarkets around here, I recommend the following brands that are only canned with tuna, water, and salt. They are usually also available without salt.

Trader Joe’s

Whole Foods 365 Brand

Polar All Natural

Lazio Gourmet

Ocean’s

There are several others also. The most important thing is not to memorize brands, but just to remember to read the fine print ingredient listings on your canned tuna and don’t be fooled by the print on the front of the packaging.

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