The Hazards of Canned Food

Since I have a family, I have become more discerning about the food I make for them.  Yes, I cook more than we eat out.  I could usually use convenience foods to get the job done. However, I recently found out that varies canned foods I buy at the supermarket might not be the best choice for me and my family.  Canned beans and tomatoes save me time in the kitchen, but may be putting my health at risk.

Recently, Sen. Dianne Feinstein had introduced federal legislation to ban BPA from baby bottles, sippy cups, formula cans and baby food jars.  What’s BPA?  BPA stands for bisphenol A.  According to the Breast Cancer Fund it has been associated with increased risk for cardiovascular disease, miscarriages, breast and prostate cancer, reproductive dysfunction, metabolic dysfunction and diabetes, and neurological and behavioral disorders.

BPA is commonly found in the epoxy lining of metal cans and in polycarbonate plastic food containers.  It can leach into canned foods, infant formula and other food products, especially when heated.  So, the Breast Cancer Fund, which does research to link breast cancer to chemicals in our environment, has put together a consumer list of the top 10 canned food items
to avoid:

  1. Coconut milk
  2. Soup
  3. Meat
  4. Vegetables
  5. Meals (e.g. ravioli in sauce)
  6. Juice
  7. Fish
  8. Beans
  9. Meal Replacement Drinks
  10. Fruit

The solution?  Obviously we can avoid canned foods.  But I’ve other steps I’ve taken to avoid BPA.  I started making a lot of my foods from scratch.  I know…it’s a lot of preparation.  If you remember one of my previous blogs on canning your own food, I specifically grow my own tomatoes to can for later (in glass jars).  I also have started buying dried beans and preparing them for the week versus buying canned beans.

I work with a lot of diabetics.  And I know it’s overwhelming to think about what to eat, much less how to prepare it.  But if you can cook and even *gasp* love to cook, then why wouldn’t you take steps to eat better?  I make these decisions with my health and family in mind.  The food has a lot less sodium (versus what’s in the can) and it’s fresher.  It’s always easier with a plan in place.   Get out your recipe book or search the internet and find ways to cook without adding a lot of convenience foods.  By reducing our exposure to harmful chemicals in our environment, we all will be a healthier and happier community.

About Sharon M., MS RD

As a registered dietitian and a master gardener, I know the healing power of food. Nothing has given me more satisfaction than growing my own food. I have experience working in the public health field, including school districts. I have worked with pregnant moms, children, diabetics, and bariatric patients. I emphasis a plant-based, whole food diet. Yet, I appreciate the movement of eating sustainably, while hoping folks appreciate the bean as a source of protein. "To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art." - Francois de La Rochefoucauld "Feeding is going well if both you and yor child are having a good time." -Ellyn Satter
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