packaged foods

image source: fecofoods (for illustrative purposes only)

Should we really have something or anything at all against canned foods? You must have heard one time or another that canned foods are extremely bad for your health. How true is this? Are canned foods worth avoiding entirely?

True, you may prefer the taste of fresh foods. But you don’t have to avoid packaged foods entirely out of fear of sodium, chemical preservatives, and other additives used in processing. Many people, in their yearning for all things natural, have come to distrust anything chemical. But it’s worth reminding ourselves that some of the chemicals that are used in food may prevent food spoilage and improve flavor and texture.

As for fear of sodium—yes, for some people, there are medical reasons to limit sodium intake. Unless you have a medical condition where a low-sodium diet might be a necessity for you, there is no reason to avoid sodium. It’s simply a nonissue as far as fat loss is concerned.

Another misconception is the often repeated mantra that canning, packaging, and freezing remover essential nutrients from food. Where canning and packaging are concerned, a very small amount of nutrients is lost in the process, not enough to keep you from using processed foods.

As for the freezing process, keep in mind that frozen food is usually of the highest quality. When you buy frozen fruits, vegetables, or fish, you’re getting food that has been frozen at the peak of freshness. You lose nothing, nutrition-wise, when you eat frozen foods, and you gain all the advantages of variety, taste, and convenience.

Let’s consider a couple of examples. A can of beans offers a wonderful source of protein along with such nutrients as folate, fiber, magnesium, iron, copper, and potassium. When you open a can of beans, you get all those advantages without having to go to the bother of soaking and cooking raw beans to make them edible.

In fact, the technologies for preserving food have brought enormous benefits. For the first time in history, wherever we live, we can enjoy fruits and vegetables all year round. We can buy a supply of groceries that will last for days and some will stay good for weeks or months. We can cook up a whole meal just by boiling water or popping a frozen dinner in the microwave or oven.

For anyone making low-calorie choices over a lifetime, the variety and convenience of preserved foods can make a big difference in preventing boredom. And when you prevent boredom, you ensure that you don’t end up with that deprived feeling.

In summary, packaged foods are not the devil like you may believe. Don’t entirely avoid them, you can eat and enjoy them without guilt and without worry.