It’s pretty amazing how many foods we’ve preserved in a can over the years. The usual suspects, such as tuna fish, beans, and soup, probably come to mind first and foremost. But if you peruse your local grocery store aisles, there are hundreds of cans left and right. You might have even popped open a can of food to add to a meal today and didn’t even think twice about it.
Canned foods certainly have their place. But not every canned food is good for you. There are plenty that sound convenient and tasty but are truly horrible for your health. Let’s take a quick look at 11 canned foods that are destroying your health (No. 6 might be too tasty to give up). We’ll also take a brief look at which canned foods are actually good for you.
1. Libby’s Corned Beef Hash
Corned beef hash has been a breakfast staple for decades. Thanks to companies, such as Libby’s, you don’t even have to make it from scratch — you can dump it right out of a can and have it ready in just minutes. This mixture of beef, spices, and potatoes isn’t exactly the perfect health food, however. In one 15-ounce can of Libby’s, you can expect to eat 840 calories, 22 grams of saturated fat, and 2,460 milligrams of sodium.
Considering the American Heart Association recommends you only take in 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day tops, we highly suggest skipping this horrifying can of death.
Next: This is a popular meal with cold weather.
2. Hormel Chili With Beans
Canned chili is a great go-to when you’re starving and in need of a protein-filled meal. But we can’t exactly recommend you try Hormel’s Chili With Beans after taking a look at the nutrition facts. One can holds over 500 calories, 5 grams of saturated fat, and nearly 2,000 milligrams of sodium.
Even if you can get past these atrocities, there’s another number that’s sort of confusing — and that’s the 10 grams of sugar. Do you throw sugar in your homemade chili recipe? Yeah, we didn’t think so. Why there’s anything sweet in this food is really beyond us. Just say no.
Next: This cocktail isn’t so innocent
3. Del Monte Fruit Cocktail
You probably remember having this canned food as a kid. If you recall it tasting so much better than fresh fruit, it’s because its contents were swimming in a high-fructose corn syrup bath. At first glance, Del Monte’s Fruit Cocktail looks innocent — 100 calories isn’t bad, and 21 grams of sugar isn’t too much of a nightmare. But once you realize there are actually 3.5 servings in one of these little cans, those numbers are much, much worse. No one eats just a third of a can of fruit cocktail, which means you’ll most likely be taking in 63 grams of sugar in one sitting. You might as well just reach for a candy bar.
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4. Bush’s Honey Baked Beans
Beans are known for their high protein content, and who doesn’t love a good baked bean dish at their picnics and barbecues? Unfortunately, baked beans are one of the least nutritious ways to consume an otherwise healthy food. And Bush’s Honey Baked Beans certainly aren’t doing your health any favors.
In one of these cans, you’re getting nearly 600 calories and over 50 grams of sugar. Even if you’re not eating the whole can yourself, you probably wouldn’t suspect this food to be so gut-busting. Do yourself a favor, and control the sugar content with your own recipe.
Next: A sweet caloric nightmare
5. Lucky Leaf Lemon Crème Filling & Topping
There’s really nothing healthy about a lemon pie. But when it comes to pies that are also made from fillings in a can, you know you’re in for a sickeningly sweet caloric nightmare. Lucky Leaf’s Lemon Crème Filling & Topping really outdoes itself in the horrible-for-your-health department. One can of the stuff contains almost 800 calories and 140 grams of sugar. And the second ingredient is high-fructose corn syrup.
It’s a good thing pies are meant to be shared. Otherwise you’d feel pretty awful after eating a can of this stuff.
Next: Everybody loves bacon, right?
6. Progresso Loaded Potato With Bacon soup
In all honesty, we really could put just about any cream-based canned soup on this list and find a reason as to why it’s bad for your health. But we’re calling particular attention to the disaster that is Progresso’s Loaded Potato soup. One can of this soup contains 340 calories, which is reasonable for a meal. But the 20 grams of fat and 5 grams of saturated fat you’ll also be eating is really cause for concern. And like all cans of soup, the sodium content is outrageous at 1,600 milligrams.
We can guarantee making your own potato soup would be 10 times more healthy and delicious.
Next: Chef Boyardee isn’t exactly focused on your health.
7. Chef Boyardee Beef Ravioli
Who needs real Italian food when you can just pop open a can of Chef Boyardee? There’s a reason no one’s ever asked themselves that question (at least, we hope they haven’t). The chef’s recipes are nice to have on hand for when you want something conveniently saucy and cheesy, but we really have nothing good to say about the Beef Ravioli.
One can has 11 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, and 1,140 milligrams of sodium. There’s also a horrifying surprise of 9 grams of sugar in there. Do you add several tablespoons of sugar to your beef ravioli at home? We didn’t think so.
Next: We have fond memories of eating these — but after you look at the nutrition facts, you’ll change your tune.
8. Pillsbury Grands! Refrigerated Biscuits
There’s nothing quite as tasty as a Pillsbury biscuit. But there’s a reason these buttery, flakey pastries from the can that you’ve eaten since childhood are so delicious — and that’s because they’re full of unhealthy ingredients. In just one Southern Homestyle biscuit, you’re getting 170 calories and 6 grams of fat, with 2.5 grams being saturated. There’s even 4 grams of sugar and 470 grams of sodium in every single serving. Seeing as just one eating one of these addicting pastries is nearly impossible, you can pretty much double these numbers for yourself, too.
Next: This classic dinner staple will keep you full — but it’ll also loaded with unhealthy ingredients.
9. Hunt’s Manwich Bold Sloppy Joe Sauce
It’s the dinner staple that defined many childhoods — the Sloppy Joe. And if you’re someone who loves a little extra tang and flavor, you’re probably a fan of Hunt’s Manwich Bold Sloppy Joe Sauce.
Upon first glance, it’s not the biggest offender on the list. With only 70 calories and 0 grams of fat per serving, you might be tempted to really pile it on your bread of choice. What’s really puzzling, however, is why there’s a whopping 13 grams of sugar in a serving of this sauce. And seeing as a serving is just a mere quarter cup, you’re probably eating a ton of sugar without realizing.
Next: This type of canned breakfast gravy is seriously offensive.
10. Libby’s Country Sausage Gravy
We know how tempting the smell of biscuits and gravy can be. But you’ll want to do your body a favor and skip out on the canned varieties of gravy (and biscuits, for that matter). Libby’s Country Sausage Gravy is another offensive canned good that doesn’t seem so bad until you really delve into the facts. A quarter cup contains 70 calories — not too bad — but you’re also getting 6 grams of fat, 1.5 of which is saturated. The 2 grams of protein is an added bonus, but compared to the nearly 300 milligrams of sodium in one serving, it doesn’t really measure up.
And it’s also time to be honest — how many of us can really stop at just a quarter cup of gravy? We say give this one a pass.
Next: This childhood favorite is another one we all need to commit to being done with.
11. Nabisco Easy Cheese
You may not have questioned the nutritional value of this product 20 years ago, but today, we’re highly suggesting you take several steps back from Nabisco’s Easy Cheese. It’s bright, it stays “fresh” for a number of years, and it’s in a can, which all spell trouble. And just 2 tablespoons of the stuff is almost 100 calories and 6 grams of fat. Nabisco also manages to add 430 milligrams of sodium into those measly spoonfuls. The 4 grams of protein certainly can’t redeem this bad canned food, so it’s time to leave this one in the ’80s where it belongs.
Next: These four types of canned foods are actually good for you.
If you’ve forgotten about this legume, it’s time to incorporate it into your diet. Lentils are high in protein and fiber, mindbodygreen says, making them the perfect accompaniment when you’re sick of rice or pasta as a side dish. They also aid in digestion, can help reduce your risk of heart disease, and can help lower your cholesterol levels.
If you’re trying to lose weight, lentils should definitely be on your radar too. An entire cup cooked comes to just 230 calories.
Next: A perfect canned option for your meals and heart health.
Let’s be clear: We’re not talking about the sugary pumpkin pie filling in the baking aisle — we’re talking about straight canned pumpkin with nothing added. And this canned food is full of beta-carotene, which can help prevent heart disease and enhance your eye health, Greatist says. It may also surprise you to know that you’ll feel pretty full after eating a dish with pumpkin due to its incredibly high fiber content and decent amount of protein.
Unsure of how to add canned pumpkin to your meals? Try adding it to oatmeal or yogurt for breakfast, or you can even toss it into mac and cheese or chili for extra creaminess.
Next: This vegetable often gets forgotten.
This often forgotten vegetable can seem intimidating to cook, no matter how much you’re craving spinach and artichoke dip. And that’s where the canned version comes in. Livestrong.com reports just one medium artichoke contains over 40% of your recommended daily value of fiber, which also can help lower cholesterol and balance blood sugar. This fiber is also unique because it can stimulate the production of good bacteria in your gut.
If you’re stumped on how to use canned artichokes, try throwing them on pizzas, using them in a salad, or even just sautéing them in a pan with olive oil and garlic.
Next: A cheap option to improve bone and heart health.
4. Black or kidney beans
Beans are cheaper if you buy them dried, but the prep time is undesirable. In that case, feel free to go for the cans of black and kidney beans. All varieties of this legume are high in protein and fiber, and black beans in particular may help to strengthen your bones and heart, says Medical News Today. And Livestrong.com notes kidney beans could aid in cancer prevention.
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