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Are Canned Foods Bad For You?

Fresh vegetables and fruits are often thought of as better than canned foods. Many stock canned foods for emergencies but otherwise avoid them. But are canned vegetables and fruits as bad as they seem?

The produce found in canned food themselves are not vastly different from fresh produce and may even be better in some cases. Canned foods undergo an intensive process for a long shelf life, which also preserves most of the vegetables and fruits’ natural nutrients and vitamins. The little loss of nutrients is due to the significant amount of heat used in the canning process. Storing cans in a cool environment with little heat exposure will preserve the nutrients long enough until the food is ready to be eaten. Other benefits of canned foods include their relative inexpensiveness compared to fresh produce as well as their longevity.

Rather than the food in canned foods being a problem, it seems like the container the food is found in is a bigger cause of concern. Research has found that the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) is found in almost every single can, which can trickle into food and expose people to this chemical. This is very dangerous, as BPA has been found to be associated with blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration proclaims that the BPA levels found in canned foods are too low to cause health concerns. In other rare cases, cans that have not been properly preserved and sealed in the canning process can cultivate bacteria. This may lead to some very rare cases of severe bacterial infection.

Though BPA may be a cause for concern for some, storing canned food for emergencies is very practical. Canned foods have nutritional value that outweighs the cons in times of crises. For daily meals, fresh produce may be a better option for those that have the ability to choose.



Bauer, B. What is BPA, and what are the concerns about BPA? Mayo Clinic. 2022 March 8.


Fifield, K. Nutritional value in home canned foods. Michigan State University Extension. 2016 December 14.


McDonnell, K. Canned Food: Good or Bad? Healthline. 2019 October 9.


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