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11 Of The Unhealthiest Store-Bought Tuna Salads You'll Find

Tuna salad is one of those foods that always hits the spot. Creamy, savory, filling, and easy to make, it's as good on a salad as it is in a sub smothered in cheese. However, while it's pretty easy to make a healthy tuna salad at home, we don't always have the time to do so — and in a world of modern conveniences, store-bought tuna salads are everywhere. Unfortunately, a lot of the time these tuna salads are far from the healthy version we can whip up at home, and are full of ingredients you'd probably rather avoid eating.

The main issue when it comes to store-bought tuna salads is their sodium content. A common culprit for making processed foods less healthy, sodium is usually added to boost the flavor of these salads, and it's often in many of the ingredients that go into the recipe as well as added independently. Even just a few tablespoons of store-bought tuna salad can cover a large proportion of the absolute maximum 2,300 milligram suggested daily value (with 1,500 mg being the healthier, ideal limit), and that's all before you add other ingredients. That's all before you think about the other nutrients that commonly show up in worrying quantities in store-bought tuna salad, like saturated fat and added sugar. We sought out the saltiest tuna salads on the market for this article, and also took into account their saturated fat and added sugar levels when determining which were the unhealthiest out there.

1. Starkist Tuna Creations Deli Style Tuna Salad

For time-pressed folks who often forget to buy fresh food (hey, we've all been there), Starkist's Tuna Creations Deli Style Tuna Salad feels like a real gift. Coming in handy single-serve pouches that have a shelf life of up to three years, this tuna salad can be stored in your pantry and squeezed into your tuna melt at a moment's notice. The cost of all this convenience, however, is a lot of sodium. Each pouch of Tuna Creations Deli Style Tuna Salad has 460 milligrams of sodium, 20% of your daily value. Additionally, every pouch weighs in at just 85 grams, so you're not getting a lot of food for the amount of sodium consumed.

Once you start combining this tuna salad with additional ingredients like bread or crackers (both of which can be high in sodium in their own right), things can get salty pretty quickly. Unfortunately, packaged foods can be very high in sodium because of its ability to add flavor and keep things moist – but this means that packaged foods contribute to a large proportion of our daily dietary sodium intake. Where possible, seek out low-sodium versions of packaged foods like this tuna salad, or just make your own.

2. ‌Bumble Bee Sandwich in Seconds Tuna Salad

Bumble Bee tuna is everywhere. The popular brand has a range of tuna products on offer in countless supermarkets across the country, and it's expanded its range to make things even more convenient. Its Sandwich In Seconds Tuna Salad does exactly what it says on the tin (well, pouch), but what you gain in speed you lose in nutritional value. Each shelf-stable pouch has 340 milligrams of sodium (15% of your daily value) – which doesn't seem like a lot until you consider that they're significantly smaller than other single-serve ready-made tuna salad products.

As well as the sodium it provides, Bumble Bee Sandwich in Seconds Tuna Salad also has a small but significant amount of added sugar, with 2 grams in every serving. Sugar is a common ingredient in tuna salads to balance its flavors and add contrast to the savory notes, so it's not super surprising it shows up here. However, if you're not expecting it, it can be easy to fail to account for these added sugars in your diet. Packaged savory foods are frequently a sneaky source of added sugars, especially those that have tart flavor notes like ketchup, chutney, and (you guessed it) tuna salad — so it's wise to always double-check the nutritional labels.

3. Taste of Inspirations Tuna Salad

Head to the deli section of any supermarket and you're likely to find ready-made tuna salad, just begging to be spooned into a sandwich and eaten. If you're in a Giant Food store, its Taste of Inspirations line has you covered with its 12-oz tuna salad pots. It's worth bearing in mind how much salt this product has, though. Each half-cup serving of Taste of Inspirations Tuna Salad has a giant (see what we did there?) 590 milligrams of sodium, over a quarter of your daily value. It also has a significant amount of saturated fat and added sugar, with 3 grams each per serving.

The salt in this tuna salad, and all tuna salads, really isn't something you just have to put up with. We sort of just expect canned tuna and tuna products to be salty, but it's worth remembering that the fish itself has a naturally low level of sodium. Salt is added to improve its flavor, and in tuna salad it often comes from the ingredients used to make it too. It can be easy to forget to check the labels of deli items like this, but make sure you're keeping a keen eye on what you're eating.

4. Publix Deli Tuna Salad

Publix stores usually have a well-stocked deli section, and its Deli Tuna Salad is one of the stars of the show. What you get for your money, though, is a fair amount of ingredients you might prefer to avoid. Publix Deli Tuna Salad isn't the saltiest out there, but it's still fairly sodium packed: Each half-cup has 420 milligrams of sodium, 18% of your daily value. It also delivers 5 grams of sugar and 2 grams of saturated fat in every portion.

If you're buying any store-bought tuna salad, this combo of salt, sugar, and saturated fat can be hard to avoid due to one key ingredient: Mayonnaise. Store-bought mayonnaise is pretty different from the homemade version, which is usually a simple combination of egg yolks, oil, and acid. Commercially-produced kinds often have salt and sugar added to them in fairly liberal quantities to help boost their flavor, with the fat content potentially coming from less heart-healthy sources. It's important to remember that unless you're making your own mayo, you'll still likely get some of these potentially unwanted nutrients when making it at home with a jar of your favorite brand. All the more reason to try your hand at whipping up your own homemade mayonnaise, right?

5. Reser's Tuna Salad

Reser's Fine Foods makes an impressive selection of ready-to-go deli items, with coleslaw, potato salad, and an assortment of dips in its product line. Unfortunately, though, there's nothing fine about the ingredients in its Tuna Salad. Reser's produces one of the saltiest ready-made tuna salads out there, packing 520 milligrams of sodium into its half-cup serving size (almost a quarter of your daily value). It also has more fat than most alternatives, delivering 20 grams of total fat and 3.5 grams of saturated fat, the latter covering 18% of your daily value. To top it all off, there are 4 grams of added sugar per serving, roughly a teaspoon's worth in just a few bites.

This trio of nutrients may help Reser's Tuna Salad pack in a lot of flavor, but it's not great for you. Fat, salt and added sugar are all nutrients we should be trying to limit, with regular high quantities of all of them contributing to the risk of a wide array of chronic diseases. Saturated fats are especially important to keep an eye on due to their potential to add to heart health-related risks, and you should aim to have no more than 10% of your energy intake coming from them. ‌

6. Golden Taste Tuna Deluxe

We've gotta get real with you, folks: Some nutritional labels can be pretty deceptive. Few food products prove this point as well as Golden Taste's Tuna Deluxe, a tuna salad that seems to promise ultra-low levels of sodium and saturated fat. In every serving there are just 100 milligrams of sodium and 1 gram of saturated fat, which is all well and good until you realize that its suggested serving size is 1.5 tablespoons or 21 grams. This is roughly a fifth of the 100-gram serving suggestion on virtually every other tuna salad product out there.

Some quick multiplication reveals that if you were to match that standard serving size with this product, you'd be getting 500 milligrams of sodium and a massive 5 grams of saturated fat per portion. Sadly, making food products appear healthier by suggesting an unrealistic serving size is a common tactic. This can often be accompanied by other strategies like promoting buzzwords like "gluten-free" or "low-carb," which may be true of the food product but which may be used to mask poor nutritional quality. The only way to know what you're actually getting is by paying close attention to the numbers and ingredients.

7. Kroger Albacore Tuna Salad

Kroger's history of offering ready-to-go foods is well established: As the first grocer in the USA to have its own in-store bakeries, it knows a thing or two about putting fresh produce in its stores. As such, it's little surprise that it has its own tuna salad, made with albacore tuna and requiring little more than to pop the lid and dig in. However, as with other store-bought tuna salads, it has a lot of sodium, providing 540 milligrams per serving. It also has more sugar than most other ready-made options out there, with 5 grams of added sugar in every portion, and 3 grams of saturated fat.

It's also worth noting how extensive its ingredients list is. While some store-bought tuna salads keep things simple, Kroger Albacore Tuna Salad has dozens of items listed in its formulation, pointing to it being an ultra-processed food. These foods tend to be high in sugars, salts, and fats, and also are usually generally fairly lacking in other positive nutritional qualities, which contributes to them being linked to a range of poor health outcomes. Looking for food items that have a minimal ingredients list can be a good starting point for avoiding ultra-processed options.

8. Safeway Signature Select Premium Tuna Salad

There are a lot of mistakes to avoid with tuna salad — and one of the biggest ones is to skip those salty ready-made varieties. Unfortunately, Safeway's version is one of those culprits, and comes packed with sodium. Each half-cup of Safeway Signature Select Premium Tuna Salad delivers 440 milligrams of sodium, almost 20% of your daily value. It also has a small amount of added sugars, and a pretty minimal quantity of vitamins and minerals.

However, what we're really concerned with here is its fat content. Every portion of this tuna salad delivers 20 grams of fat per serving, and 3 grams of saturated fat. This may not make it the fattiest on the market, but it's up there — and the saturated fats are especially worrying. Saturated fats can be especially impactful on your cholesterol levels, and raise the amount of bad cholesterol in your blood. This can put more strain on your cardiovascular system, and lead to a higher risk of stroke. You should also keep an eye on total fats, and remember that, as per MedlinePlus, if a food provides more than 20% of your daily value in one go it's considered a high-fat item. As Safeway Signature Select Premium Tuna Salad covers 25% of your daily value, it's certainly in the high-fat zone.

9. Ukrop's Chunky Tuna Salad

Ukrop's Homestyle Foods promises that it has been "nourishing families since 1937" on its website, but we've gotta question just how nourishing its Chunky Tuna Salad actually is. Unfortunately, it's the same old story with this tuna salad as it is with so many other store-bought versions: This option is high in sodium, delivering 510 milligrams per serving. As well as delivering 22% of your daily sodium value, Ukrop's Chunky Tuna Salad is also super high in fat, containing a mammoth 27 grams of total fat per serving (well over a third of your recommended daily intake), and 4 grams of saturated fat.

It's also worth noting that this tuna salad's calorie content is significantly higher than a lot of other store-bought competitors. With 310 calories per serving, it provides hundreds more than comparable products and may increase your overall daily caloric intake. These calories are largely down to its high-fat content. While you can definitely consume products like this as part of a balanced diet, it's important to consider it in the larger picture of what you eat every day to avoid eating too much fat.‌

10. Taylor Farms Tuna Salad

Appearances can be pretty deceiving with Taylor Farms Tuna Salad. If you only looked at the front label, you might assume that this product is pretty healthy, with it stating that it's made from "tuna, tuna salad dressing, celery, and red onion." What's in the dressing, though, is another story. Its creamy bulk is made from a combination of mayo and light mayo, yet still somehow manages to incorporate 24 grams of fat and 4 grams of saturated fat into each serving. It also packs in a lot of salt, with every portion delivering 510 milligrams.

Taylor Farms Tuna Salad also contains that ever-controversial ingredient high fructose corn syrup, which shows up not once, but twice on the nutritional label, present in both the regular and light mayo used. While this only seems to equate to a small overall sugar content, we prefer our sugar from another, more healthy source. We'd also suggest that when faced with options like this, it's far preferable to take the extra few minutes to make your own tuna salad using low-sodium tuna chunks and low-fat Greek yogurt. It'll still be super-high in protein and creamy, but way better for you. ‌

11. Sally Sherman Tuna Salad

Sally Sherman Tuna Salad might seem simple and homely, but don't let the branding fool you. This tuna salad, made by Sally Sherman Foods, states on the label that it comes "fresh from our farms to your table" and has a pleasing light pink tone that seems to promise the presence of real tuna, not the off-white paste some other brands run with. However, it's just as salty and fatty as its competitors. For every half-cup of Sally Sherman Tuna Salad, you get 400 milligrams of sodium, 17% of your daily value. You also get a huge 4.5 grams of saturated fat, which covers almost a quarter of your allowance in one go.

Saturated fats remain controversial for their effects on cholesterol, and it's widely accepted that swapping them for polyunsaturated fats where possible can have a positive effect on your heart health. When it comes to tuna salad, this isn't always possible. Mayonnaise is made with egg yolks, after all — and while egg yolks can take any dish to the next level, they're high in saturated fat, which usually ends up in this lunchtime favorite. However, when you consider how much higher Sally Sherman Tuna Salad is in saturated fats than others, you'll forgive us for going for a different brand.