Canned Food: Good or Bad for the Health?

Canned food is popular in several countries. For many, they strongly argue that canned food is better than both frozen and fresh foods.

Many, on the other hand, are of the opinion that numerous harmful ingredients are present in canned foods and that they should be avoided. Where do you stand?

In this article, we are going to talk more about how healthy canned foods are, and if you should continue or discontinue feeding on canned food. I do hope this article will help improve your health significantly.

What is Canned Food?

You may not be new to canned food, but let’s see what we mean by canned food. I remember vividly what one my high school teacher said years ago,

We eat what we can, and can what we cannot eat

From the above statement, you’ll understand that to preserve foods, canning as a method was given birth to, and this method can help you preserve food for a very long time.

Canned Food
Can food in shelves

This method of preserving foods was given birth to in the 18th century to ensure soldiers and sailors get a stable source of food while at war. There are basically three methods for canning food;

  • Processed foods: foods under this procedure are peeled, sliced, chopped, cooked, shelled, or boned
  • Sealed foods: already processed foods are sealed in cans
  • Heating: canned foods are heated to prevent spoilage, and deal with harmful bacteria.

Do you know some canned food can be kept for up to 5 years or more?

The common canned foods include vegetables, fruits, meats, fish, seafood, soups, etc. When you can your foods, you help preserve their life for a long period.

Many often argue that canned foods are less nutritious than frozen or fresh foods. But this is not always true. The nutrient is more preserved when canned.

Is Canned Food Healthy?

If you answer yes to this question, you are not mistaken. Research has shown that carbs, protein, and fats are not affected by the process of canning. Both mineral and fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, E, and K are all unaffected by canning.

Canned Food
Tomatoes and corn canned

So, for foods that are high in the amount of nutrients presented above, whether they are canned or not have no effect on their quality.

Sadly, when preserving some foods with this method, heating can cause damage to some water-soluble vitamins like Vitamin C and B. These types of vitamin are extremely sensitive to high temperature and heat. Well, normal food processing methods like boiling, cooking, and storage often get rid of them from your meal.

Yet, canning as a method, although it might result in losing some vitamins, it often increases the amount of other healthy compounds present in your food.

For example, corn and tomatoes often release more antioxidants when they are subjected to heat. So they become an excellent source of antioxidants when canned.

Apart from these changes, canned food is an excellent source of essential minerals and vitamins.
While some nutrients can significantly be reduced in canned food, this method increases other nutrients.

What Makes Canned Food Excellent

Canned foods are economical. They are highly affordable, convenient to use, and do not spoil quickly. In fact, it is the best way to add nutrient-dense food to your diet. One reason why this is appreciated more is that in several lands, access to healthy and quality foods has reduced.

Canned Drinks
Canned Drinks

Canning makes it easier for all around the world to get access to healthy and nutritious food at all times. Nearly all foods are available in the can today, making access to nutritious food possible. Compared to fresh foods, canned food is way cheaper.

If we are to focus on convenience and affordability, canned food is excellent.

What Makes Canned Food Bad

It’s not all wonderful with canned food, here are some reasons why you should be careful when taking canned food;

May Contain Trace Amount of BPA

BPA (BISPHENOL-A) is a popular chemical in food packaging and can industry. For canned food, the can lining can transfer BPA into the food in the can. Food experts claim that more than 90% of the 78 canned food used for the analysis contains BPA. In fact, studies have shown that one of the leading causes of exposure to BPA is canned food. The effect is so fast that it becomes noticeable within a few days.

BPA, on the other hand, has always been medically linked to numerous health conditions like heart diseases, type-2 diabetes, erectile dysfunction in males, amongst others. If you are interested in reducing your exposure to BPA, you should flee or reduce your intake of canned food.

Can Often Host Deadly Bacteria

When canned food is not efficiently processed, it hosts dangerous bacteria known as Clostridium botulinum.
Botulism is given birth to when you take contaminated food. Botulism as a medical condition often leads to paralysis, and when excessive or untreated, it results in death.

One known fact is that botulism comes from foods that are not well processed, those canned at home. It’s rarely present in industry processed food. So, to protect yourself, ensure you don’t take foods from cans that are dented, leaking, rusted, or bulging.

During Preservation, Sugar, Salt, and Preservatives are Added

To prolong the lifespan of your food, canning often adds salt, sugar and other preservatives to the process. This can be bad for those dealing with certain health conditions.

A person suffering from high blood pressure might be affected badly when they feed on foods preserved with excess salt. Some methods also add sugar when canning.

Excess sugar, on the one hand, can increase the risk of some diseases like heart disease, and type-2 diabetes.
Other methods add both natural and chemical preservatives, which can have a lasting negative impact on the health. Either to add flavor, improve texture, or appearance, they can quickly become bad for your health.

How to Make the Right Decision

  • To protect yourself, before taking any food product in the can, ensure you read the label and the ingredients list.
  • If sugar intake is an issue for you, choose “Low Sodium” or “No Sodium” products.
  • Opt for fruits canned in water or juice instead of syrup to reduce sugar intake.
  • Reduce sugar and salt by draining or rinsing can foods.
  • Remember the first point, read the ingredient list.

Summing it All Up

In the absence of fresh food, canned food is a good option. They deliver the nutrient needed for your daily activities and are both convenient and affordable. But they can comfortably host deadly bacteria, and become a significant source of BPA. If you benefit from foods in cans, you must ensure that you read the labels before eating.


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