Do you consider canned veggies "processed"? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 21 Old 03-12-2010, 07:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I mean canned tomatoes, corn, beans, artichoke hearts, etc. I buy canned veggies a lot and always read the ingredients and won't buy anything unless it is the only ingredient. Example: If I'm looking at diced tomatoes I will only buy if the ingredients list says "diced tomatoes". kwim? Anyway, is this considered processed food in your opinion? Why or why not and how bad/good do you think it is for your family? Thanks!
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#2 of 21 Old 03-12-2010, 07:48 PM
 
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I tend to stay away from most canned things as a rule, just because I have no clue where they come from. The only canned veggies I really ever buy are tomatoes, and if I had a pressure canner I'd can my own. I don't know if I consider them 'processed' - I guess technically they are, but if the only ingredient is the veggie itself at least they don't have crap added. I am also leery of the plastic lined cans and BPA - I haven't heard much about all that lately and I don't know if things have changed wrt BPA in can liners.

I don't consider canned veggies to be as good for us as fresh, but I wouldn't consider them 'bad' for us.
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#3 of 21 Old 03-12-2010, 08:01 PM
 
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"Processing" isn't automatically a bad thing. Cooking your food is a form of processing it. So yes, canned food is processed (home canned or factory canned) but not all canned foods are bad for you. Sometimes it is the best option available. Generally frozen foods are better than canned when fresh is not available. If you live in a region that does not have a variety of fruits and vegetables locally grown year round, then you are likely going to need to use processed foods for some part of the year.

At this time of year there are no fresh local foods where I live except for squash and turnips, etc that have been stored since last fall. The grocery stores are full of fresh fruits and veggies but they were picked before fully ripe so that they would look good in the store. The canned tomatoes on the shelf would have been canned ASAP after picking whereas I have no idea when the fresh tomatoes in the produce department were picked.
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#4 of 21 Old 03-12-2010, 08:12 PM
 
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I do think it's processed, just the act of canning itself is quite a process. I try to avoid cans if possible but of course some things are very hard to find fresh. Mostly I avoid cans because of taste and quality rather than any major health concerns. I almost always substitute a pound of fresh tomatoes for a 15oz can whenever I come across them in a recipe.

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#5 of 21 Old 03-12-2010, 09:54 PM
 
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I consider any canned food to be processed--when I can in jars I refer to what I do as processing, y/k? However, when I think "processed" I think lots of added chemicals like processed cheese/Velveeta.

I try to avoid anything in a can but still buy some things like toms or pumpkin for convenience. I's the BPA in cans that freaks me out. All cans have it, there was a recent big deal that even the Eden Organics cans that claim BPA free still have trace amounts of plastic. Acidic foods are the worst, which is terrible since just about everyone uses canned tomatoes. I make an effort to rarely use canned foods. Google "BPA in cans" and scare yourself, lol
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#6 of 21 Old 03-12-2010, 10:25 PM
 
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Yes, they are processed foods. Fresh foods are better, nutritionally. That said, I don't think canned foods are necessarily bad. Certainly, canned foods without added salt or oils are better than those with extra ingedients. But I do a lot of home canning, and I'd rather eat home canned tomatoes in the winter than fresh tomatoes that were shipped from Mexico (which is far from us).

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#7 of 21 Old 03-13-2010, 04:35 PM
 
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No, I don't consider them processed. Mostly the only canned foods I buy/use are tomatoes, tomato paste & pumpkin. Once in a while canned beans, but thats pretty rare. My biggest peave w/ canned foods is indeed the bpa. I don't understand for the life of me, how japan can ban bpa and continue to get along just peachy fine but the us industry is at a loss for how to can foods w/o it. It makes no sense. If just one company would go w/o bpa, they'd have a monopoly (at least temporarily) on every other competitor among health-concsious people....
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#8 of 21 Old 03-13-2010, 05:28 PM
 
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I do consider them processed. I think that the extended exposure to heat deteriorates a lot of the vitamins and good stuff in food. For fresh eating I will almost always choose a fresh fruit/vegetable over canned.

HOWEVER... the exception I make to that is when I simply can't find the equivalent vegetable fresh, or if the quality of fresh is really bad. For instance, tomatoes really are horrible this time of year in my area. I consider canned tomatoes far superior to the sawdust-flavored tomatoes on the grocery shelves.
Same goes for marinated artichoke hearts, capers, etc. Those things don't grow in my area and I can never get them fresh. So I always buy canned or jarred if I want to use them.

Also, I like the practicality of home-canned vegetables for cooked-food items. I try to freeze things more than I can them, but some this are so nice and convenient canned. One of the few canned vegetables I eat on a regular basis are tomatoes: sauce, peeled, diced, pureed, or chopped.
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#9 of 21 Old 03-13-2010, 05:34 PM
 
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While canned food is technically "processed" because it has been cooked and canned, I don't consider it to be processed in the same way as, say, velveeta (as a pp mentioned). Fresh is definitely better but I don't feel that plain canned veggies are unhealthy in themselves.

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#10 of 21 Old 03-13-2010, 07:50 PM
 
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I am a home canner. And even my home-canned food I consider processed. The high heat that foods have to be subjected to in order to be safely canned can and does destroy most of the delicate vitamins and antioxidants. Vitamin C, for instance, doesn't survive canning very well.

I use canned foods-- not just my home-canned foods, but also commercially canned tomato paste, sweet corn, and black beans-- but I wouldn't rely on canned vegetables as the mainstay of my family's vegetable diet.

FWIW, frozen vegetables retain a LOT more of the nutritional value that's present in the fresh foods. I would opt for frozen over canned. (Most of my home grown stuff gets frozen, for the same reason.) In some cases, when fresh food has traveled a long distance to get to your store, the frozen food, which is frozen while it is still very fresh, can be MORE nutritious.

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#11 of 21 Old 03-13-2010, 07:55 PM
 
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Canned foods are processed. I definitely consider them a step down from whole, fresh foods. However, I do use a few of them semi-regularly (canned tomatoes being the big one, but also beans and occasional peaches, pineapple and tuna).

This thread does make me wonder if it's possible to buy frozen tomatoes, instead of canned? I'd be good with that. Do they not freeze well or something?

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#12 of 21 Old 03-13-2010, 09:26 PM
 
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I don't consider them processed but I do consider them inferior. I also try to stay away from BPA and with the exception of Eden brand foods, almost all cans contain BPA.

I still buy and use canned tomatoes but that's usually it. If I can't get something fresh, I try to buy frozen.

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#13 of 21 Old 03-15-2010, 04:19 AM
 
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I prefer to buy fresh, if possible, then frozen, and then canned only if the fresh or frozen aren't good options.

Aside from the nutritional issues, I really dislike the texture of a lot of canned vegetables. The exceptions are things like diced tomato, that ends up in a sauce, so it doesn't matter too much.
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#14 of 21 Old 03-15-2010, 08:33 AM
 
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I consider them processed, but we still eat them.

Most notably tomatoes, artichoke hearts, olives, capers, beets (I love them fresh, canned, frozen, doesn't matter--I love them any way I can get them), peaches, pineapple, and salmon.
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#15 of 21 Old 03-15-2010, 11:23 AM
 
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I do considered them processed, but minimally, unless they are not all-natural (that's all we'll buy). Some are much more highly processed than others.

I don't know what is the lesser of 2 evils, fresh vegetables that are trucked in from thousands of miles away and losing their nutrients during that multi-week journey or fresh veg that is canned at the peak of ripeness, but still trucked in.

I do a lot of home canning, but because of our garden/yard layout, I can't can everything we need. I have 3 freezers and prefer frozen veg. but keep canned on-hand just in case. When they approach expiry, they go to the food bank, so it's no skin off of my nose to buy them and others are helped, too.
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#16 of 21 Old 03-15-2010, 12:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
Canned foods are processed. I definitely consider them a step down from whole, fresh foods. However, I do use a few of them semi-regularly (canned tomatoes being the big one, but also beans and occasional peaches, pineapple and tuna).

This thread does make me wonder if it's possible to buy frozen tomatoes, instead of canned? I'd be good with that. Do they not freeze well or something?
No, you can freeze tomatoes. I have with and without the skins. If I have tomatoes going bad I clean off the bad part and pop them the freezer. I add to sauce or chili.

Or you can roast them in the oven with olive oil, kosher or sea salt. Then let them cool and freeze them.

I roast my own red peppers too.

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#17 of 21 Old 03-15-2010, 03:26 PM
 
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Canned foods (homegrown or storebought) are definitely a processed food, and some of the nutrients have been destroyed by the processing - but as Michael Pollan and others have pointed out, Americans shouldn't be fretting overmuch about nutrient deficiency. Our problem is more along the lines of stuffing our faces with excess "nutrients" until we become obese. I use canned veggies regularly.
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#18 of 21 Old 03-15-2010, 08:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by KatWrangler View Post
No, you can freeze tomatoes. I have with and without the skins. If I have tomatoes going bad I clean off the bad part and pop them the freezer. I add to sauce or chili.

Or you can roast them in the oven with olive oil, kosher or sea salt. Then let them cool and freeze them.

I roast my own red peppers too.
Okay. I don't have a lot of freezer space right now, but I'll keep this in mind for future reference. I wonder why we can't buy frozen tomatoes at the store?

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#19 of 21 Old 03-15-2010, 08:05 PM
 
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...but as Michael Pollan and others have pointed out, Americans shouldn't be fretting overmuch about nutrient deficiency. Our problem is more along the lines of stuffing our faces with excess "nutrients" until we become obese. I use canned veggies regularly.
hmm...I'm going to have to actually read his work one of these days. I've agreed with most of what I've heard, but this sounds really off to me. I'm obese, and it's rooted in a psychological issue with sugar. I know quite a few other overweight/obese people, and I know a lot about how some of them eat. In every case like that, they have a huge problem with taking in too many calories, but they definitely don't take in too many nutrients. Eating five consecutive slices of bread, and nothing else, isn't my idea of taking in too many nutrients, yk?

I'd probably use more canned foods, but I don't like the taste/texture of most of them.

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#20 of 21 Old 03-15-2010, 10:50 PM
 
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Well, he was talking with Marion Nestle in the context of organic vs. conventional produce, and the conclusion they seemed to reach was that yes, the organic version may be slightly more nutritious, but that eating the conventionally grown fruits and veggies was sure as heck going to keep you very well nourished by global standards. When Nestle made the remark about Americans not suffering from a dearth of nutrition, she may have been thinking specifically about the kind of American consumer who would agonize over organic/conventional in the first place. She seemed to think that our eating TOO MUCH JUNK and TOO MUCH OVERALL was a much bigger problem than the fact that not all our unprocessed foods are organic.
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#21 of 21 Old 03-15-2010, 11:24 PM
 
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Well, he was talking with Marion Nestle in the context of organic vs. conventional produce, and the conclusion they seemed to reach was that yes, the organic version may be slightly more nutritious, but that eating the conventionally grown fruits and veggies was sure as heck going to keep you very well nourished by global standards. When Nestle made the remark about Americans not suffering from a dearth of nutrition, she may have been thinking specifically about the kind of American consumer who would agonize over organic/conventional in the first place. She seemed to think that our eating TOO MUCH JUNK and TOO MUCH OVERALL was a much bigger problem than the fact that not all our unprocessed foods are organic.
Oh - gotcha. I thought you meant that Americans eating the SAD were eating too many nutrients, which made no sense to me.

I try to buy organic, but I do it more to support organic farming and cut back - slightly - on my footprint on the planet. I do think it is better for my family, but I certainly do not worry about non-organic produce being inadequate to provide basic nutrition, yk

I just was not thinking of that at all. I was picturing the person who eats two servings of a veggies a week.

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