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Is Tuna Good for You When Bodybuilding?

author image Nadia Haris
Nadia Haris is a registered radiation therapist who has been writing about nutrition for more than six years. She is completing her Master of Science in nutrition with a focus on the dietary needs of oncology patients.
Is Tuna Good for You When Bodybuilding?
A muscular man sitting in a gym. Photo Credit: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

If you are bodybuilding you know that eating a healthy, balanced diet every day is just as important as your exercise regimen. Fish, such as tuna, is a good option because it is naturally low in fat and high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Tuna is also a good source of lean protein. Replace fat-rich foods and excess carbohydrates with fresh or canned tuna.

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Amount of Protein in Tuna

You may feel differently about a simple can of tuna when you compare its protein content to other foods. According to Columbia University, a 5-ounce can of tuna contains 43 grams of protein -- the same amount as a 5-ounce piece of roasted chicken and more than a 5-ounce steak, which has 35 grams of protein. This amount is higher than other protein-rich foods such as an egg, which gives you 6 grams, and a cup of beans with 15 grams of protein.

Protein Requirements

The Harvard School of Public Health advises that how much protein you need in your diet varies by individual. Most adults need to get at least 0.8 grams of protein per day for each kilogram of body weight. For an average person on a 2,000-calorie diet, that means getting 75 grams of protein every day. If you are a bodybuilder you may need to get slightly more protein to repair and build muscle. Columbia University advises that the top intake of protein should be 1.5 to 2 grams per kilograms of body weight.

Bodybuilding Nutrition

If you are bodybuilding in the pursuit of losing body fat and getting bigger muscles, you may think you need to eat a lot more protein. However, Columbia University notes that bodybuilders still need to eat a balanced diet that includes carbohydrates as the main source of fuel. As with any other type of food, eating too much protein can cause weight gain because the body converts the extra amounts into fat. Additionally, digesting too much protein can put an extra burden on your liver and kidneys.

Low-fat Protein to Cut the Calories

Although bodybuilding often means bulking up, it is still important to eat a healthy balanced diet and avoid eating excess calories. Harvard Health Publications notes that losing a pound of weight requires enough exercise to burn 3,500 calories. This can take days of moderate exercise. Additionally, if you are trying to lose weight it can be beneficial to replace excess carbohydrates with low-fat, high-protein foods. Replace excess carbohydrates and high-fat foods with protein-rich foods such as fresh or canned tuna. If you are using canned tuna, choose low-sodium and low-fat varieties packed in water instead of oil.

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