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Home arrow Health arrow Diabetes arrow Is Tuna Fish Good for Diabetes? A Nutritionist’s Take

Is Tuna Fish Good for Diabetes? A Nutritionist’s Take

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: August 14, 2022
5 min read 1407 Views 0 Comments
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Tuna is a fatty fish with many benefits for your health. It is often recommended as a diabetes-friendly food choice, but how exactly does it benefit those with diabetes? We’ve taken a look at this fish variety and have gathered all the information on how it can help those with diabetes manage their condition in this article.

Is tuna good for diabetes

Tuna is a popular fatty fish consumed around the world. It is known for its omega-3 fatty acids and is regularly consumed as part of a healthy and balanced diet. Tuna comes in many forms, including canned tuna, tuna salad, and tuna mayonnaise.

It has many health benefits, but is it good for managing diabetes?

In this article, we’re going to take a look at this fatty fish and find out whether it can help with blood sugar control, its nutritional value, and the health benefits of consuming it. Take a look now to learn more.

Is Tuna Fish Good for Diabetes?

Tuna is a good fish to consume if you have diabetes. Nutritionally, it offers a massive amount of protein and absolutely no carbs. This means it will not raise your blood sugar and can help keep your blood sugar levels within the target range.

How you cook fresh tuna may impact its carbohydrate content, so keep this in mind when preparing it as part of an approved diabetes diet.

The high levels of omega-3 fatty acids in tuna also make it a good choice for a diabetes diet. Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat found primarily in fish oils, and you are encouraged to eat fish as part of a healthy diet to get these healthy fats in your diet.

Tuna has both unsaturated and saturated fat, but omega-3 fatty acids are the best for diabetes. This is because they are thought to protect against heart disease and other heart conditions. Those with diabetes are at higher risk of developing heart disease, so eating tuna may help!

Other methods of protecting against heart disease include getting more regular exercise, like taking up running, cycling for weight control, or even trying out rowing, as well as eating more healthy fats!

Though tuna does contain saturated fat, it is in small quantities. Those with diabetes are at risk of an elevated blood cholesterol level, but eating tuna can help keep this low.

Finally, tuna contains lots of vitamin D. Vitamin D may help keep blood glucose levels within range and is even thought to reduce insulin resistance, which can be a factor in the development of type 2 diabetes.

How tuna benefits diabetes

There are a few ways eating tuna can benefit diabetes. It is thought that high vitamin D levels may help boost glucose metabolism and increase insulin sensitivity. Tuna also has no carb content, meaning it will not raise blood sugar levels.

Eating fish is part of a healthy diet and a staple of the Mediterranean diet, which is a healthy choice regarding dieting methods. Marine fish varieties tend to have lots of protein, which can help boost weight loss.

Losing weight is usually recommended for diabetes management, so eating fish, like tuna, could help you reduce body weight. Fatty fish is a great food on the keto diet, which is thought to be a diabetes-friendly method of losing weight.

Finally, tuna has lots of omega-3 fatty acids. These omega-3 fatty acids have a ton of protective benefits for the heart. Those with diabetes are at higher risk of heart conditions, like heart attack and stroke, and so eating more tuna could help lower the risk of these conditions.

Tuna Nutritional Value

The nutritional value of tuna per 100g is as follows:


Tuna also contains vitamins A, D, and E, as well as some B vitamins. Mineral content includes calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc.

The nutritional value of tuna may alter depending on how it is cooked. Fried fish, for example, will likely have more fat than broiled tuna.

Glycemic Index of Tuna

Tuna has a glycemic index of 0. This is because it does not contain any carbohydrates. Glycemic index or glycemic load refers to the rate at which carb-containing food is broken down, turned into glucose, and absorbed into the bloodstream. Tuna doesn’t contain any simple sugars, so an increase in blood sugar level will not occur when consumed.

Those with diabetes are often told to consume more low glycemic index foods, which usually results in following a low-carb diet. This is to help keep blood glucose levels within the target range and avoid spikes in blood sugar.

Can People With Diabetes Eat Canned Tuna?

Canned tuna is a great option for those with diabetes. It is low in saturated fat, high in healthy, unsaturated fats, and high in protein. With no glycemic index, it will not cause a blood sugar spike and may offer other benefits for those with diabetes.

Canned tuna is a processed food people with diabetes may consume safely. This saltwater fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can boost cardiovascular health, and has a high vitamin D content, which may boost insulin sensitivity.

Additionally, canned tuna contains many antioxidant compounds, including selenium, which can help reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation has been linked to complications in those with diabetes.

5 Health Benefits of Tuna Fish for Diabetes

Tuna has many health benefits and can be consumed safely as part of a healthy diet. We’ve summarized some of the benefits below.

#1 Better blood circulation

Tuna contains omega-3 fatty acids, which help lower triglyceride levels in the bloodstream. High levels of triglycerides can read to plaque build-up, blocking blood flow. They also relax blood vessels and reduce blood pressure. Getting more omega-3 fatty acids may help improve circulation.

#2 Source of iron

Iron is an essential nutrient in the body. It plays a role in the movement of oxygen around the body, helping improve circulation and oxygenation of muscles. Tuna has about 1.02mg of iron per 100g. The recommended daily amount of iron differs depending on gender and is usually around 8mg for men and 18mg for women. Much more iron is needed for pregnant women.

If you do not get enough iron from food, you can add an iron supplement to your diet. Be aware that iron supplements come with some side effects.

#3 Good for your heart

Tuna is a healthy choice for your heart too. Not only does the healthy fat in tuna help boost heart health, but it is also low in saturated fat. This can help reduce triglycerides and lower cholesterol levels in the bloodstream.

#4 Might help to reduce blood pressure

The healthy omega-3 fats found in tuna are thought to help lower blood pressure. High blood pressure levels are very common in those with diabetes and can lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular problems. Consuming tuna may help lower blood pressure levels.

#5 Reduces inflammation

Tuna has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation has been linked to several conditions, including diabetes. Eating anti-inflammatory foods like tuna could reduce your risk of developing these chronic diseases.


Does tuna spike blood sugar?

Tuna has no carbohydrate or simple sugar content. This means it will not cause a spike in blood sugar when consumed.

How to eat tuna if you have diabetes?

Eating canned and fresh tuna on its own is good for those with diabetes. It could also be added to salads or grilled with low-carb vegetables. Be aware that cooking methods can alter the GI of tuna.

How much tuna can a person with diabetes eat?

As with all foods, tuna should be consumed in moderation by those with diabetes. You should also consider that tuna is a high-mercury fish before eating it in high quantities.

A Word From Our MD

Tuna is a fatty fish with no carbohydrate content and high protein content. It is also loaded with unsaturated fats, which are great for heart health and inflammation. It has a glycemic index of zero, meaning it will not cause a blood glucose spike, so it is an excellent food for people with diabetes to consume.

Few foods have no glycemic index, so tuna is a good option for diabetes management. Those with diabetes are usually told to eat a low-carb diet and could try out dieting methods like the Atkins diet or the keto diet. Remember to consult your doctor before starting any new diet to ensure it is safe.

Though tuna is a good choice for those with diabetes and consuming it may have other benefits for your condition, you should not rely solely on its advantages to manage diabetes. Instead, you need to alter your diet and exercise regime.

Losing weight is often recommended for those with diabetes, and you could try out diabetes-friendly dieting methods, like intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is thought to help with blood glucose control and comes in many styles, including the 12-hour fast and the 5:2 method. Remember to speak with a health professional to ensure this dieting method is safe for you.

In addition to dietary changes, you could also increase your activity level. This could mean joining a gym class, like pilates, or running long distances. Whatever you choose, make sure you get your heart rate up.

There are many remedies recommended for those with diabetes, but they cannot be relied upon solely. Instead, you should incorporate them into a healthier diet and boosted exercise regime to manage your condition.


Tuna is a healthy fish to add to your diet. It has many benefits for those with diabetes and may be a good choice for diabetes management. Remember that while tuna is a diabetes-friendly food choice, you need to make other changes to your diet and activity level to manage your condition.

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: August 14, 2022
5 min read 1407 Views 0 Comments

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