Something Fishy – Are Sardines Good for Weight Loss?

 by Dr. Steve Hruby, D.C.

I’m a fitness advocate with a holistic approach to health, wellness, and longevity. I’ve walked the walk since 2009 - using my personal development methods to unleash the fitness champ within you.

  Fact Checked
 by Rhealyn Celestial
Reviewed by Rhealyn Celestial

I’m a researcher, and I’m also a full-time mom. I spend my weekdays crafting thoughtful articles for small businesses, and my weekends with my son learning about the world together

Everybody has different weight loss objectives, and we all have diets that suit us. Certain similarities and fundamental guidelines apply while attempting to shed pounds.

Among these is a diet rich in protein, low carbohydrates, and unprocessed foods. Coupled with regular exercise, it’s a surefire way to lose weight.

You may be thinking, are sardines good for weight loss? They are, admittedly, “fatty fish.” It seems that eating sardines can help you lose weight.

The silvery sardine is a fantastic protein to incorporate into your diet, but it won’t help you lose weight directly. Sardines are an excellent protein source because they contain no carbohydrates and only a few calories. 

The inclusion of omega-3 fatty acids and perhaps other nutrients is what distinguishes them. Particularly omega 3 fatty acids have been connected to metabolic alterations, including appetite suppression and inflammation. 

Benefits Of Sardines

Are sardines a good source of protein? Yes. They have an optimum protein content.  Sardines offer other various potential health advantages, including:

Improve Cardiovascular Health

Sardines contain omega-3 fatty acids, which help to safeguard the cardiovascular system. Omega-3 reduces triglycerides, maintains clear arteries, and normalizes cardiac rhythms.

Stronger Bones

Sardines are a great source of calcium because they’re eaten whole, including their bones. Each serving contains roughly a third of what the average person needs. 

mom carrying her daughter in her shoulder

Sardine has Vitamin D, essential for your body’s ability to absorb calcium. It also contains plenty of Phosphorus which assists in balancing acids that can injure your bones.

Enhances Nerve Activity

Poor sensory nerve performance and issues with the peripheral nerves might result from a deficit of vitamin B12. Sardines have more than three times the amount of B12 in a single dish.

Contains Less Mercury Than Other Fish

The presence of mercury in fish is undoubtedly a cause for concern, mainly if you ingest a large amount. Sardines have less mercury compared to other types of fish, like tuna.

Potential Dangers of Canned Sardines

Sardines are a valuable addition to a balanced diet. To those whose health is already precarious, sardines can pose these potential health risks:

  • High Blood Pressure. Sardines have a high sodium concentration. Since sodium sucks in water and raises the body’s blood volume, persons with hypertension should avoid foods that are rich in it.
  • Gout Attacks. A dietary plan with low purine content is the healthiest for gout. If you suffer from gout, it’s advised to look for alternative methods of reaping the health benefits of fish consumption because fatty fish diets, such as the sardines meal, are high in purines.

How Much Sardines Should You Eat

So, how often should you eat sardines? Sardines have a low mercury and salt content despite being healthy and incredibly nutritious. Hence, sardines should only be consumed occasionally. 

According to the FDA, you should eat sardines two or three times per week, or between eight and twelve ounces for grown-ups.

As for kids, they recommend four and six ounces for young children aged four to seven. Meanwhile, approximately twelve ounces are allowed for ingestion every week by pregnant women.

Are Sardines a Good Protein Source?

Oily sardines are incredibly nutrient-dense. They’re strong in quality protein content, rank as a fantastic supply of calcium and iron, and have high levels of healthy fats.

Sardines in cans have roughly 15 grams of protein per serving, which includes all nine essential amino acids. Protein consumption can be increased healthily by eating sardines.

Are Sardines a Healthy Fat?

Omega-3 fatty acids, also known as “healthy fats,” are abundant in sardine oils. Five tiny sardines in a can include 7 grams of overall fat per serving. Sardines canned in oil rather than water have a higher fat content even after being drained.

Tips for Selecting Sardines

It’s preferable to buy sardines in cans packaged in olive oil instead of soya oil. Some come in water-filled packaging. The latter is a great option if you’re trying to reduce fat.

Cross-check the expiry date before buying sardines. Fresh sardines have the following qualities: 

  • Shiny skin
  • Fresh smell
  • Bright eyes
  • Firm texture

Additional Best Foods for Weight Loss

Here are a few wonderful weight-loss superfoods that can also give you energy. 


Have you ever used the grapefruit diet? In a study, researchers examined how eating half a grapefruit before a meal affects weight loss. It did help people lose weight. Only 39 calories are in half a grapefruit.

sliced grapefruit on white background


Simple canned pumpkin is only 40 calories. It’s also incredibly high in fiber. Numerous studies have shown that eating a lot of fiber has various positive health effects, including helping you lose weight.

Green Tea

Yes, green tea doesn’t count as food. It’s nevertheless a fantastic slimming aid due to its high antioxidant content, heart health benefits, digestion support, and ability to control sugar levels and body temperature. It helps shed pounds by increasing metabolic rate and hastening fat oxidation.

Can Sardines Alone Help You Lose Weight?

Depending on your other dietary and lifestyle choices, sardines may or may not aid in weight loss. Say you maintain your current lifestyle while adding sardines to your diet. Given that you would be increasing your calorie intake, you might see some weight gain.

However, eating more of these tiny fish will probably cause you to eat less of other things because sardines are generally satisfying. For instance, eating sardines and adding carb pairing may help you lose weight.

What Is the Healthiest Fish To Eat for Weight Loss?

Lean fish is the healthiest fish to eat for weight loss. Compared to fatty seafood, lean seafood offers fewer calories and more protein.

For instance, low-fat fish such as tilapia, sardines, cod, flounder, and sole contain more than enough protein and less than 120 calories in a three-ounce portion.

Is It Ok To Eat a Can of Sardines Every Day?

No. Limiting your consumption of sardines to roughly twice per week instead of daily is better. High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart, heart attacks, and strokes, the American Heart Association cautions.

Similarly, if you read the article “Can oatmilk help you lose weight?“, the recommendations are heavily influenced by factors like genes and fitness objectives.


Oily fish, including sardines, are native to various parts of the globe. The amount of protein, vitamin B12, selenium, and omega-3 fatty acids in each meal containing sardines is substantial.

Sardines can also benefit nearly every facet of health due to their excellent nutritional composition. From controlling blood sugar levels to preventing mood problems. 

Search for sardines that are canned in water or olive oil instead of soybean oil. To benefit from sardines’ nutrition, substitute sardines for other fish in your dishes or eat them fresh, roasted, or baked. If possible, opt for wild-caught fish because they’re lean and contain less fat. 

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