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Ask Dr. Gourmet

What is the difference between pink and red canned salmon?

What is the difference between pink canned salmon and red canned salmon? Is one better for you than the other?

Dr. Gourmet Says...

Canned Salmon

Pink salmon is one species and is also known as the humpback salmon. Red salmon, on the other hand, is a common nickname for sockeye salmon. Both are Pacific salmon and are generally caught in the wild and not farmed as most of the Atlantic salmon on the market today. There is some difference in the varieties of salmon with the main difference being the amount of fat.

For instance, canned pink salmon has 152 calories in a 4 ounce serving and 5 grams of fat. Red (sockeye) has about 8 grams of fat and comes in at 186 calories for the same serving.

There's no doubt that eating salmon is good for you with its high levels of Omega 3 fatty acids. Study after study has shown the benefit of such fatty fish in preventing heart disease and probably other illness. Either of these canned salmon should be fine and one is not necessarily better than the other.

Thanks for writing,

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP
Dr. Gourmet