Anatomy of Canned Foods: There’s More Than Just Food

Canned food_3711818475_26f94af1c7_mDo you have a variety of canned foods stocked in your pantry and/or refrigerator?  Spring cleaning is the time to get rid of them and keep them out of both your pantry and body for good. Nowadays the variety of canned foods ranges from drinks, juice, soups, fruits and vegetables, to fish, meat, and whole chicken. Although canned foods are convenient and inexpensive, they pose specific hazards to your health.

Potential health hazards, particularly cancer risks

Let’s take a peek inside the can:

1. The chemical BPA (Bisphenol A) has been used for years in can liners, other than clear plastic bottles. BPA has been linked to serious health problems such as reproductive abnormalities, diabetes, heart disease, and increased risks for breast and prostate cancer. According to Consumer Reports, “the latest tests of canned foods, including soups, juice, tuna, and green beans, have found that almost all of the 19 name-brand foods we tested contain some BPA. …We even found the chemical in some products in cans that were labeled ‘BPA-free’.” (Read the full article here)

Here is the catch: It’s important to know that just because a canned food is organic doesn’t mean it is sold in a BPA-free can. And just because a can is labeled “BPA-Free,” doesn’t mean it has been proven no BPA exists in the can/food.

2. Preservatives and additives are used in canned foods. Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydrozyttoluene (BHT) are widely used as preservatives or stabilizers. Yes, they are antioxidants, and add to a food’s shelf life. Still, they pose certain cancer risks. BHA is a possible human carcinogen. BHT may react with other ingested substances, causing the formation of carcinogens. Both BHA and BHT are toxic to the liver and kidneys.

3. Canned foods are processed foods, typically altered from their natural state for convenience and for certain safety reasons. For instance, sodium nitrite is used to preserve color and flavor of meat products. Processed meats carry nitrates and nitrites. They combine with stomach acids and chemicals in foods to form carcinogens. Regular consumption of processed meats is associated with various types of cancer, including lung, colon, esophagus, and liver. Additionally, food companies often use coal tar products (known carcinogens) for coloring and flavoring.

4. Other ingredients (such as salt, sugar/refined sugar, soda) are also found in canned foods. While these products have not been shown to cause cancer directly, they may increase the risk of obesity. Obesity contributes to 20 percent of cancer deaths in women and 14 percent in men. In addition, high intake of salt or refined sugar is also associated with cancer of the breast and upper digestive tract.

Because children are much more susceptible to any toxins, it is especially important to make sure the food you feed them and the containers and bottles you use to feed them are safe.

The bottom line

When it comes to your health, follow this ABC:

Avoid canned food
Best Buy is fresh food
Consider frozen food

What’s your thought about canned foods? If you like this post, please share it.

Photo Credit: by Srinath TV

One thought on “Anatomy of Canned Foods: There’s More Than Just Food

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