5 Canned Foods You Should Never Buy

| March 10, 2018 | 0 Comments

5 Canned Foods You Should Never Buy

by Alexandra Evans

Canned vegetables may be convenient and a time saver in the kitchen, but that means the food is processed and packed with salt and preservatives. Sure, those canned foods can sit on the shelf for months, sometimes years, and they are as easy to add to a meal as popping the top. However, the canning process decreases nutritional value, so by gaining convenience, you lose coveted nutrients (not to mention increase your risk to being exposed to BPA).

Here are five foods you should never buy canned:

1. Beans

Beans that come precooked in a can may be nutritious, but the downside is that they’re packed with salt. It’s best to buy dry legumes in bulk and just cook them yourself, a habit that will save you money and be more nutritious in the long run. If you must eat canned beans, at least wash them very thoroughly. A 2011 study in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology by the USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory found that draining and rinsing reduced the sodium content between nine and 23 percent.

2. Berries

When canned, vitamin C content of fruits and vegetables dramatically declined. Berries, like strawberries and raspberries, have twice as much or more vitamin C than when canned.

3. Spinach

Like with berries, the vitamin C content of canning spinach dramatically declines. Spinach has twice as much or more vitamin C than when canned. Boiling also makes the raw food lose nutrients, but it’s with canned foods that dramatic decreases happen.

4. Tomatoes

The high acidity content of tomatoes can cause BPA to leak into your food. BPA is a toxic chemical linked to reproductive abnormalities, neurological effects, cancer, and several other ailments.

5. Pineapple

Pineapple can contain about 20 mg of vitamin C per 100g of food when raw, but when canned, that nutrient content shoots down to about just 5 mg. Since today’s fresh fruits and vegetables are lower in certain vitamins and minerals than they were 50 years ago, imagine just how nutrient-deficient processing this nutrient-lacking food is!
For your modern, busy lifestyle, it might not be feasible to buy everything fresh. So, if you need to keep your fruits and veggies in your kitchen longer, buy them frozen, not fresh. Interestingly, many frozen produce contains more nutrient content than their fresh counterparts. That is because frozen fruit is picked and processed at the peak of ripeness, and the freezing process locks in the nutrients. The next time you go to the grocery store, remember: never canned, always fresh(or frozen)!

BMSS Addendum: A 6th canned food you may want to reconsider is canned tuna. According to Consumer Reports:

Results from our tuna tests, conducted at an outside lab, underscore the longheld concern for those people. We found:

  • Every sample contained measurable levels of mercury, ranging from 0.018 to 0.774 parts per million. The Food and Drug Administration can take legal action to pull products containing 1 ppm or more from the market. (It never has, according to an FDA spokesman.) The EPA compiles fish advisories when state and local governments have found high contaminant levels in certain locally caught fish.
  • Samples of white tuna had 0.217 to 0.774 ppm of mercury and averaged 0.427 ppm. By eating 2.5 ounces of any of the tested samples, a woman of childbearing age would exceed the daily mercury intake that the EPA considers safe.
  • Samples of light tuna had 0.018 to 0.176 ppm and averaged 0.071 ppm. At that average, a woman of childbearing age eating 2.5 ounces would get less than the EPA’s limit, but for about half the tested samples, eating 5 ounces would exceed the limit.

In 2006 we scrutinized the results of the FDA’s tests in 2002 to 2004 of mercury levels in hundreds of samples of canned tuna. The agency’s white-tuna samples averaged 0.353 ppm; light tuna, 0.118 ppm. But we found that as much as 6 percent of the FDA’s light-tuna samples had at least as much mercury as the average in white tuna—in some cases more than twice as much.

An exception to the rule in any canned food would be for those are prepping for the obvious reason that any food would be better than none at all.

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