Tuna Fish Canned in Oil or Water?

Last updated on February 23rd, 2018


If you are wondering whether to purchase canned tuna that is packed in oil or in water, and if your purchase decision is based on it being a emergency survival food prep, you many consider the following facts.

The primary difference is that tuna packed in oil has about four times as much fat content (4 grams versus 1 gram packed in water in a typical 5 ounce can), and therefore contains more calories. Some tuna is packed in vegetable oil while others are packed in olive oil. Olive oil may be slightly better for you than the vegetable oil, however no doubt that the canners are not using the ‘good’ oil.


In a typical 5 ounce can of tuna,

Packed in water…
150 calories, 7% fat, 93% protein

Packed in oil…
250 calories, 40% fat, 60% protein



Although I can’t find manufacturer data to support it, tuna in oil probably has a lower freezing point, which may matter to those in very cold climates or outdoor winter situations.

Remember that not everyone may enjoy the taste/texture of eating tuna packed in oil versus that of water. Store what you eat and eat what you store…

Overall, it seems that from a survival preparedness standpoint, tuna packed in oil may be the better choice due to its higher calorie content. From a health standpoint, the choice may be ‘water’.

Also, be aware of the dangers of mercury in tuna. The general advice that I’ve read is to not consume more than one or two cans per week.

Tuna In Oil

Tuna In Water



  1. NebraskaFarmBoy 02/05/2012
  2. Mortimer 02/05/2012
  3. SurvivorDan 02/05/2012
  4. SurvivorDan 02/05/2012
  5. SurvivorDan 02/05/2012
  6. Ted K 02/06/2012
  7. Diana 02/06/2012
    • stcroix 02/06/2012
      • Ken (MSB) 02/06/2012
        • Diana 02/06/2012
  8. CitznKate 02/06/2012
  9. Diana 02/06/2012
  10. Ted K 02/07/2012
  11. Ken (MSB) 02/22/2012
  12. Tammy 04/17/2012
  13. 21Bravo 05/04/2013
  14. me 09/07/2013
  15. Jim G 09/08/2013
  16. James Alexander 07/28/2018
    • Anon 07/28/2018

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