Is Canned Food Unhealthy?

Canned food has been a staple in American diets for decades, with benefits like convenience and affordability. But is it healthy? Canned food can be a nutritious choice, but it can also be high in sodium and contain unhealthy additives.

Nutrition experts recommend following the “5-2-1-0” rule of nutrition when selecting canned foods. This means choosing foods that are 5 servings or fewer of fruits and vegetables each day, 2 servings or fewer of whole grains, 1 serving or fewer of lean protein, and 0 added sugars or unhealthy fats.

Fruits and vegetables are especially important when it comes to canned food. Many brands offer canned fruits and vegetables that have been cooked with minimal processing, such as adding salt or sugar.

These types of products can still provide many essential vitamins and minerals while providing convenience. However, many brands also offer canned fruits and vegetables that have been heavily processed with added sodium or sugar, so it’s important to read the labels before purchasing these items.

When looking for canned proteins like beans or fish, it’s important to select those without added sodium. Many brands offer low-sodium options for these items as well as no-salt-added versions for those on a salt-restricted diet. Canned proteins are an excellent source of lean protein that can help maintain a healthy weight.

Canned soups can also be an easy way to get in your daily servings of fruits and vegetables, but they can be high in sodium and unhealthy additives like monosodium glutamate (MSG) so it’s important to carefully read the labels before buying them. Look for soups with no added salt or MSG on the ingredients list if possible.


In conclusion, while canned food may not always be the healthiest option due to potential high levels of sodium and unhealthy additives, there are still ways to choose healthy options when selecting canned foods. By following the “5-2-1-0” rule of nutrition when selecting canned foods and reading labels carefully for added salt or unhealthy ingredients, one can make sure that their meals are nutritious without sacrificing convenience.