Canned foods have become a part of our everyday life. They are everywhere. In your fridge, pantry, kitchen cupboard, and even your favorite restaurants use them occasionally to quickly whip your favorite dish.
However, the popularity of canned foods is not enough to stop people from asking genuine questions like, “Are canned foods healthy?”.
Thinking about it;
People ask this question because the general belief is that any processed food item is not nutritionally rich as fresh or frozen foods, as confirmed by Healthline.
Is this belief true or it’s just based on sentiments? You will find quality answers in this article. Additionally, you’ll uncover answers to some of the most asked questions about canned food right here.
Sounds like what you’re looking for? Let’s get started.
What Are Canned Foods?
Canning is one of the modern food preservation methods available today, as per Britannica. Canning is a 3-step procedure that involves, processing, sealing, and finally subjecting the packed food item to heating at a particular temperature.
The point of canned foods is to ensure convenience in cooking, prevent food wastage and promote the shelf life of the canned food item. Some of the food items that are usually canned are meat, fruits, vegetables, beverages, and seafood.
Are Canned Foods Healthy?
Contrary to what you might have heard, canning does not kill the nutrient contents of any food item. The nutrient content of some food items might be reduced after canning but scientific studies have revealed that some canned food items are even richer than frozen foods in nutrients.
Therefore, we would consider the healthiness of canned food items from the following perspectives;
- Microorganism attack
- Damage to nutrients
- Antioxidants release
The exposure of raw food items to the atmosphere makes them liable to be infected by microorganisms. However, this is not the case with canned food items; the sealing prevents exposure to such microorganisms. Also, thermal heating kills these microorganisms.
Damage to nutrients
The effect of heating the food items after sealing offers both desirable and undesirable effects. Eatright confirms that the application of heat to kill microorganisms can reduce the number of water-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin C and B present in canned foods.
That’s not all;
On the upside, this does not affect the fat, carbohydrate, and protein content of the canned food. As findings by PubMed reveal the application of heat has a negligible effect on the fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, E, and K.
The heating effect enhances the anti-oxidant properties of canned foods. Using sweet corn and tomato as a case study, the medical experts at PubMed discovered that canned foods have an increased level of anti-oxidants after processing.
With that said, let’s consider the answers to some of the FAQs about canned foods.
Are Preservatives Added To Canned Foods?
Generally, there are no preservatives in canned foods, Science Direct notes. Although salt and sugar could be added to canned vegetables and canned fruits respectively. Nonetheless, it contributes an insignificant component to canned foods.
Are Canned Foods More Convenient Than Others?
Yes. 91% of Americans believe that canned foods are easy and quick to prepare, as per Meal time.
Do All Canned Foods Contain High Sodium Content?
A larger percentage of canned foods contain a declining to zero amount of sodium content. Nonetheless, there are some with higher salt content.
Unless you are advised by a medical practitioner, you should stay away from such products, as per Healthline.
What Are The Risks To Consuming Canned Foods?
Is there anything that has no risks? No. Commercially canned foods that are non-compliant with FDA-issued guidelines or USDA’s guide for home canning may contain deadly bacteria, such as Clostridium botulinum.
Although people are more exposed to this risk when they consume foods that are improperly canned at home. Healthline notes that it is rare to get infected by this bacteria via commercially canned foods.
One more risk is…
Bisphenol A (BPA). This is another dangerous chemical that might find its way into canned foods as per CEH. BPA is used for making the internal part of the sealants for canned foods. Therefore, these chemicals can mix with the canned food during the canning process.
Although, it is scientifically proven that canned foods offer almost the same level of nutrients as fresh foods and they are even a more convenient option for cooking.
However, it is better for you to always read the ingredient composition of any canned food item before purchasing or using.