The Ultra-Processed Canned Foods No One Over 40 Should Be Eating Anymore

Canned food is convenient, budget-friendly, and shelf-stable. It’s a way of processing food to extend its shelf life. The canning process is usually done within hours after picking. Some examples of canned foods include canned peaches, pears, corn, beans, noodle soup, evaporated milk, tuna, and so much more. But not everyone loves canned food. It has a reputation for being over-processed and less flavourful than its fresh and frozen counterparts. Some canned foods contain harmful chemicals that can have a detrimental effect on gut health, increase blood pressure, and the high sodium content may also lead to water retention that can cause weight gain.

To learn more about the worst kinds of canned food for women over 40, we spoke with Michelle Saari, registered dietitian and founder of The Dietitian Prescription. She said that the most ultra-processed canned foods no one should be eating anymore are canned fruit in syrup and canned meats that’ve been cured (like pork, beef, and fish). This is because they have an incredibly high sugar and sodium content which can lead to health problems like weight gain, diabetes, increased blood pressure, and more. Read on to learn more!

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Canned Fruit

Canned fruit like peaches, pears, and pineapple can be a convenient alternative to fresh fruit. But, not all canned fruit are created equally. Fruits that are canned in syrups can be especially unhealthy because of their incredibly high sugar content. Saari says, "While fruit does have natural sugars called Fructose when the fruit is canned in syrup it's just added sugar. The added sugar is typically corn syrup, which if the body doesn't use it just turns to fat. It doesn't provide any added nutrients, it's simply there to sweeten up the fruit, which by nature is already sweet." Adding excessive sugar to your diet provides barely any nutritional value.

Saari says that it's ok to have canned fruit every once in a while. "It's fine to have a sweet treat every so often, but if we're looking at eating for long-term health, we should limit it. Instead of reaching for canned fruit, reach for either fresh or frozen. Frozen fruit can provide the same nutritional value as fresh, but will save you some money!" she explains. Check out the best types of fruit to eat for a healthier body over 40.

Canned Meat

Another canned food that Saari recommends women over 40 avoid is canned meat. Canned meats, she says, can have an incredibly high amount of sodium. "If you choose a canned meat like pork, for example, you may be getting half of your daily recommended amount of salt in one serving," she notes. "A recommended daily salt amount would be 2,300 milligrams, for someone with heart disease this number will be even lower. Canned meat can have as high as 1,400 milligrams of sodium." Yikes! And, experts point out that canned tuna is usually packed with oil that is high in saturated fat and alarmingly high mercury content which can lead to neurological side effects.

When it comes to long-term health, canned meats like pork, beef, and fish won't provide you with the nutrition your body needs. "If you need less expensive protein options, look for canned beans, lentils, and legumes as an alternative. You can find these in the canned vegetable aisle. These will have little to no sodium, and will provide protein and fiber, which can actually have cardiovascular protective factors," Saari explains. We guess it's best to just avoid canned meats and opt for fresh meat from the grocery store.

At the end of the day, Saari says that while canned foods by nature get a bad rap. However, there are some canned foods that can actually provide the same nutritional value as their fresh counterparts. "If you want to buy canned vegetables, fruits, or meats, just look at what they're 'soaking' in. For canned fruits look for some that are not canned in syrup, this is typically right on the front label. For canned vegetables, you want to select those that have no added sodium. The same goes for canned meats, look for the low to no added sodium options," she recommends. Noted!

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