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Food and Nutrition Education Resources

Are Canned Goods Bad for You?

By: Jaz Popa, 11/2/2022

Canned goods often have a “bad” reputation, but they shouldn’t! Canned goods are amazing and are often misjudged. They are convenient, offer variety, and are inexpensive. But why do people often think negatively of canned goods?  


Many people think of canned goods as “unhealthy.” However, that is far from the truth. Canned goods are harvested at their peak ripeness. This means that the produce has had all the time possible for it to absorb nutrients from the plant, meaning they are at their healthiest but also most delicious! After the produce is harvested, it is processed and canned almost immediately. So, although it is preserved, the produce in the can is just as fresh—if not fresher—than the fruits and veggies in the produce section of your grocery store. This makes canned goods a great way to eat produce when it’s out of season! 


The high levels of added salt and/or sugar in some canned goods contribute to the misconception that it is unhealthy. While some brands do contain more, there are some that don’t. Check out the nutrition labels for any added salt and sugar. Some grocery stores offer no salt/sugar added options. If you can’t find any and are trying to cut down your salt and sugar intake, you can still reduce the salt and sugar by straining and rinsing the produce. Doing so will remove a substantial amount of that extra salt/sugar. 


Another amazing thing about canned goods is the price point. It’s a great bang for your buck. Michigan State University found that canned produce is as much as 80% cheaper than fresh produce, making it a great way to save your food dollars.  


So, don’t get caught up in the myths! Canned goods are a great way to get your fruits and veggies in. Click the links below to check out some recipes to best use canned goods!  

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