So you’re ready to add more canned foods to your diet? We’re here to help decode terms you might see or hear about!
Can You Dig It?
Canned foods are not only a shelf-stable and convenient way to shop, but can also be a nutritious option. Just be mindful of what ingredients are added and how your canned food choices fit into your overall diet. Luckily, you can easily find most of the information you need on the ingredients label and the nutrition facts label by being your own food detective.
Are canned foods high in sodium?
If you are concerned about added sodium in your diet, you may want to pay close attention to the nutrition facts label on your canned choices – and don’t forget to consider the serving size you consume.
Salt and sodium are often added to canned foods to help preserve them or add flavor. Some options, like fish, beans or produce, can be rinsed with water to remove up to 40% of excess sodium. But with other choices, like canned soups and meals, you aren’t able to decrease the sodium content yourself. It all depends on how much sodium you consume on a regular basis.
If your typical intake of sodium is high, you may want to opt for a low-sodium variety. One high sodium choice is not going to make or break your health — it’s a combination of all the choices you make! Also, keep in mind, just because an option is labeled low sodium or no sodium added doesn’t mean it’s a nutritious choice. Pay attention to the ingredients and overall nutrition you’re getting.
What about added sugar?
There are over fifty different names for added sugar on an ingredients label, but added sugar is not listed on the nutrition facts label. So how can you tell if you are getting too much? You can start by checking the ingredients for common names for sugar like honey or agave, or anything ending in sugar, syrup, -ol or -ose. Added fruit juice can also contribute to the sugar content. The most common canned items that may contain added sugar are dessert fillings, fruit cocktails or fruit, sauces, gravies and soups.
What is BPA and should you avoid it?
BPA, also known as Bisphenol-A, is an industrial chemical used in plastics and the lining of many canned foods. Sometimes small amounts can leak into the food we eat. But should you be worried? According to the FDA, the amounts that actually end up in our food have not been shown to cause harm. But the FDA no longer allows the use of BPA in infant formula packaging and baby products. It is definitely something worth considering.
Today not all food manufacturers are using BPA in their cans, and many companies are turning towards BPA-free packaging – Raley’s is among them! Many brands now label their cans BPA-free.
Be sure to check the labels next time you reach for your favorite canned foods and know that you can feel good about getting a quick and easy nutritious choice!
Are organic canned foods more nutritious?
The organic label claim is highly regulated. Products bearing this green seal of approval from the USDA must meet strict guidelines: They cannot contain GMOs, artificial ingredients or synthetic preservatives. Although the use of pesticides and artificial ingredients is important to consider, the organic label was established to define and identify sustainable farming and production practices for better environment health – not necessarily to make our food more nutritious. Sometimes organic products are more nutritious, but sometimes they are not – it depends more on the type of food you are eating than the organic seal of approval.