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-   -   Canned fish diet (https://www.3fatchicks.com/forum/food-talk-fabulous-finds/292970-canned-fish-diet.html)

Desiderata 02-20-2014 11:39 AM

Serenity - eating tuna every day probably is not healthy, in terms of mercury consumption. Here is a handy calculator to figure out what is a safe consumption, based on weight: http://www.ewg.org/research/tuna-calculator

This is also a good chart, to expand the conversation to more fish types than just tuna: http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/nut...d-mercury.html

Wish you the best, Ian. If it works for you, good. I know some people fine with mono-type eating over the long-run. I can't help but think how it's possible to have too much of a good thing, and that diversifying one's diet is protective (against too much of one thing, too little of another). I know you've done a lot of research though, and I'm glad you stay away from higher mercury choices!

ReNew Me 02-20-2014 11:39 AM


Originally Posted by CherryPie99 (Post 4947685)
Personally, the mercury would concern me eating that much.

Have you tried the tuna that comes in the pouches? I love those - takes away the slightly tinny taste of the canned.

He's getting way less mercury eating canned sardines and kippers than you are eating pouch tuna.

CherryPie99 02-20-2014 11:57 AM

Yes, but I eat 1 pouch per week, not 5 per day.

ReNew Me 02-20-2014 12:41 PM


Originally Posted by CherryPie99 (Post 4947728)
Yes, but I eat 1 pouch per week, not 5 per day.

You could still get more mercury in one pouch of tuna that he gets in 20+ cans of sardines, seriously. Check the numbers if you don't believe me (I compared 6 oz of albacore tuna to 110 oz of sardines):


What's really mind boggling is if you go for something more exotic, like swordfish. One little 6 oz steak and you've consumed more than 400% of the EPA's recommended amount of mercury for the week in one meal.

krampus 02-20-2014 12:58 PM


Originally Posted by Arctic Mama (Post 4947684)
Haha! I'm not Ian but I can't say anyone has ever commented that I smell like canned fish. And I ate it daily while breastfeeding, but Holly never seemed to care. That said, she really likes sardines too, so maybe she's just acclimated herself to fishiness?

At the risk of TMI I can tell what I've been eating recently based on how I sweat - onions and garlic are big telltale stinkers - and if I eat enough tuna I'll notice a hint of that, too!

IanG 02-20-2014 03:10 PM

Wow, thanks for all the great comments.

I couldn't turn down responding to this one:


have to ask. Do your bodily secretions smell and taste of fish?
I get very bad gas. It is a combination of the fish, a lot of protein in the fish and kimchi. It smells very bad.

My skin has started to smell a little of fish. I don't notice it but if I wear a sweatshirt around the house for days on end and forget to wash it, I can smell a faint odor of fish on it. Sometimes when I sweat, I can smell fish. But that is rare.

Now for TMI. My poop does not smell of fish. But it is VERY oily.

My urine smells funny. But again not of fish.

So, yes, it does have a small impact. One I can live with. Not so sure about my wife.

On the mercury, there are surprisingly few fish you need to watch out for. I try to avoid eating on a regular basis tuna, large mackeral and swordfish.

Wild Planet sardines in water, Vital Choice wild sockeye salmon, salted anchovies (rinsed) and Polar kippers are my daily staples. There are some awesome online deals with these.

Polar kippers come on Amazon every now and again for $25 for 18 cans. Elsewhere I have also found 48 cans of wild planet sardines for $92.48 including shipping and 48 cans of Vital Choice sockeye salmon for $156.98 including shipping. That being said, some of my more niche canned fish comes in at close to $10 a can...

Here is a list of my main canned fish goodies:

Fat Calories Protein Carbs
Millers jumbo lump crab 1 120 26 0
Wild Planet Sardines 5 183 33 0
Roland Marinated Mussels 8 150 22 0
Wild planet shrimp 2 80 16 0
East Point shrimp 2 100 22 0
Cockles 1 50 8 4
Skipanon Smoked sturgeon 2.8 132 24 0
Smoked clams 10 150 16 0
Chicken of the Sea Smoked oysters 14 240 22 4
Roland Eel 32 340 12 1
Cod liver 24 246 5 1
Large can of Mackeral 24 540 78 0
Octopus with vegetables 16 240 16 8
Smoked rainbow trout 16 260 28 0
Skipanon Smoked steelhead 21 315 36 6
Albacore tuna 20 400 56 0
Sprats 26 354 32 2
Chipotle Cod 3 171 39 0
Smoked Halibut 5 249 36 0
Small can of mackeral 9 180 27 0
Medium can of mackeral 21 411 62 0
Octopus in oil 12 220 24 6
Squid in ink 18 240 16 4
Wild planet Canned sockeye 9 210 36 0
Vital choice canned sockeye 16 340 48 0
Bar Harbor Smoked Wild Kippers 28 350 39 0
Ekone original oysters 5 165 17 11
Ekone teriyake oysters 6 180 11 20
Ekone lemon pepper oysters 6 165 17 12
Ekone barbeque oysters 5 195 15 21
Ekone habanero oysters 6 165 20 9
Ekone smoked sturgeon 3 123 23 0
Crown Prince smoked oysters with chilli 8 150 11 8
Skipanon Smoked chinook 21 315 30 0
Ocean harvest Dungeness crab 1 120 26 0
Bar Harbor Clams in water 1 67 12 0
Polar Kippers 12 162 14 0

Sum38 02-20-2014 03:22 PM

Yumm! I could do a fish diet. You may be onto something!

IanG 02-20-2014 09:26 PM

I am gaining though, now I am weight training....a lot. I hope it's muscle. The protein in the fish should be good for that.

crispin 02-20-2014 09:30 PM


Originally Posted by IanG (Post 4947841)
So, yes, it does have a small impact. One I can live with. Not so sure about my wife.


I love fish and would eat it every day, but sadly I'm also in the camp that can't go more than 2 consecutive days before I start to smell like a sea creature.

IanG 02-20-2014 09:47 PM

I am evolving into a sealion.

There are some interesting other benefits and costs though:


1) my hair looks great. I don't need to use shampoo any more. I just get in the shower and go.

2) my eyes look amazing. The whites are better.

3) skin. Less wrinkles and pimples. Acne has gone.

4) head. I can read stuff at work now. And concentrate better.


1) smell, bathroom (see earlier posts).

2) skin. I know I said this was a benefit, but I am more prone to cracked skin on my hands. Weird. But I swear it's the fish and specifically the anchovies.

VioletDolphin83 02-21-2014 04:04 AM

Sounds like the benefits outweigh the costs. After reading this thread I decided to buy some canned fish to try.

ReNew Me 02-21-2014 05:46 AM


Originally Posted by IanG (Post 4948041)
I am gaining though, now I am weight training....a lot. I hope it's muscle. The protein in the fish should be good for that.

Scale is useless for tracking muscle gain/loss. It only measures overall body weight.

Assuming that measuring your body composition via water is not an option (although it's the gold standard to measure fat to lean) you have to understand that the scale is kind of useless to measure muscle gain. The easiest thing you can do to track progress is to take a tape measure and get baseline body measurements (tape measure should always be level and not overly compressing tissue): Neck, upper arm, upper chest (under arms), "bust" (nipple level), waist (for men, at bellybutton, for women waist and bellybutton are generally two measurements), hip, upper thigh, mid thigh, mid calf. These should be repeated once per week.

As long as the measurements go up somewhat equally, yeah, you're gaining muscle, especially if your strength gains steadily go up. If you gain ONLY in say, your hips or abdomen, especially accompanied by no strength gains, that's an indicator you're headed down the wrong path and need to revise your diet or workout (or both).

Thinking of it as a work in progress, not a one time shot helps. Basically you are constantly striving to be the best you that you can achieve. It's not a chore, it's a lifetime goal.

Palestrina 02-21-2014 09:19 AM

What is it about the canned fish that's so appealing to you Ian? I mean there is just no beating fresh fish. Even frozen fish can be so wonderful from Trader Joe's and it's a fraction of the cost of fresh. I mean, canned fish is fine once in a while but a whole diet of it - it's just .... I don't know it's just makes me so sad to think of it.

Munchy 02-21-2014 09:29 AM

I always have a stock of canned fish on hand. Sardines are my absolute favorite (I had them for breakfast yesterday) but the interesting sauces/varieties of seafood from the Asian market are great!

I also eat fresh seafood when I can splurge - one grocery store near here has local and never-frozen seafood, but it's pricey for me to go often. I always have frozen white fish filets and frozen scallops too.

kaplods 02-21-2014 11:22 AM

I find it interesting that your animal protein choices would ever be considered sadly limited when it's so mainstream in the US (at least in the midwest) to eat far fewer.

It's sadly not unusual for many people to eat beef and chicken (and pork, but only if you count bacon, ham, and sausage) almost exclusively during most of the year (holiday turkey being the exception).

Most of the "fresh" fish available in noncoastal states is actually defrosted from frozen, or never-frozen that isn't so fresh anymore. Freezing is often done on the fishing boat, and canning is done pretty quickly too.

From a nutritional and food safety standpoint, canned and frozen seafood is often better than any fish that isn't minutes out of the water.

As for flavor, there's at least as much flavor variation in canned fish as in non-canned.

Canned foods (and organ meats, which is another story) are unfairly stigmatized in the USA because of their associated with poverty - foods you eat because you have to, not because you want to.

Almost ten years ago, my husband and I had to file bankruptcy due to job loss and our out-of-pocket medical expenses (and our medical insurance paid 90% of expenses with no deductible). As a result, for about two years, we had to seek out the cheapest
of the cheapest food sources.

Canned fish was literally a lifesaver. In the local Asian markets I discovered an astonishing array of canned fish, just in the "Smiling Fish" brand alone.

I went through a bit of an obsessive canned-fish diet myself, and not only because I had to, but because flavors were just so amazing, especially for the price.

You can't find many foods that are healthy, cheap, tastey, and ready-to-eat, but canned fish are one of the rarest of exceptions.

I eat more variety now, and haven't been eating nearly as much canned fish as when I first discovered them, but I also haven't been losing any weight lately, either.

I may have burned myself out a little on canned fish, in my quest to try as many as I could find, but I wasn't deprived in flavor, nutrition, or variety.

If you can find an Asian or global market, sardines alone, can be found in an amazing variety of sauces. Some are a bit high in fat and even sugar by proportion, but even the sweet varieties tend to be very filling and satiating, so you (or at least I) end up eating less.

All this canned fish is giving me a craving for Smiling fish sardines or mackerel in green or red curry sauce. I may have a can in the pantry. Otherwise I'll have to make a trip to our nearest Asian grocery (only five blocks away). The store must carry at least three varieties of fish in at least five different styles of southeast asian curry sauces. And that's not counting other types of canned seafood, like fried clams with chilies.

The fried clams with chillies are one of my favorites, and while the fat and sugar content are a bit high compared to other products, the flavor is so intense I usually only eat about 1/3 of a serving at a time.

Geez, now I'm hungry for those too.

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