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    Archive for the ‘canned fruit’ Category

    Numbers Game: Answer

    pb00423On average, canned fruits and vegetables contain 61 percent less vitamin C than their fresh or frozen counterparts.

    Vitamin C is one of the least stable nutrients.

    As you can see, the intense heat applied during the canning process does a number on foods’ vitamin C content.  Keep in mind that the above figure is an average; some foods lose a smaller amount of vitamin C, while others practically have their entire vitamin C content depleted!

    This is why I always recommend purchasing vitamin C-rich-foods in a frozen — rather than canned — state.

    Making a salad with corn?  If fresh isn’t available, opt for frozen corn.  Allow it to thaw on the counter and then add it to the salad.

    Similarly, frozen fruits are a more nutritious addition to a smoothie or dessert than canned varieties.

    Keep in mind, too, that vitamin C is very sensitive to air and light.

    Sliced strawberries, for example, lose over half of their vitamin C content if they are sitting on a plate in your kitchen for half an hour.

    For optimal nutrient intake, don’t remove fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C from the refrigerator — or cut them up — until you are ready to eat them.


    You Ask, I Answer: Canned Fruit

    venuscn$78172032With canned fruits and vegetables, are the values on the nutrition facts labels for the vegetables/fruits AND the syrup or juice? Or is it JUST the vegetable/fruit, sans juice/syrup.

    I imagine that the canning process causes a lot of vitamins to leach into the juice, so dumping the juice out would leave you a slightly less nutritious vegetable.

    — Christine (last name withheld)
    Berkeley, CA

    The nutrition facts label for canned fruits/vegetables displays values for solids AND liquids.

    If information is only intended for the fruit or vegetable, the label would have the word “(drained)” next to the serving size information (i.e.: “1/2 cup (drained)”).

    Since the canning process exposes fruits and vegetables to a significant amount of heat, you are getting lower amounts of some phytonutrients and heat-sensitive vitamins (especially C) compared to frozen or fresh varieties.

    The main issue is the loss of phytonutrients — those precious plant chemicals with healthful properties that we are still continuing to discover — since those compounds are exclusive to specific fruits and vegetables.  Many of the phytonutrients in pears, for example, are not found in other fruits.

    While some vitamins leach into the canning liquid, the nutrients there are found in abundance in many other foods, so there isn’t that much cause for concern.

    For instance, you may miss out on a good portion of the niacin in canned peaches if you drain out the syrup, but you can get that B vitamin in grains, beans, seeds, and vegetables.  Even the lowest-quality diet, if varied sufficiently, provides sufficient amounts.

    In the case of fruits canned in heavy syrup, I don’t think it’s worth drinking the extra sugar and calories to get a small amount of nutrients.

    If you want to drink the canning liquid, you are better off buying canned fruit packed in its own juice or extra light syrup.  Otherwise, dump it out.

    FYI — canned peaches packed in extra light syrup provide two fewer teaspoons of added sugar per serving than peaches packed in heavy syrup.


    You Ask, I Answer: Food Labeling/Marinades

    Having just tossed a jar of marinated mushrooms with shrimp for dinner, I wonder [the following:]

    Does the “10 calories per serving” [figure] include both the marinade and the mushrooms, or just the mushrooms?

    Would the answer be the same for all marinated foods and fruits in juice/syrup?

    — Luis [last name unknown]
    Fort Knox, KY

    Whatever caloric — and nutrient — values appear on a food label apply to the sum of every ingredient in that product.

    Unless the label has two separate columns (say, one labeled “mushrooms” and another titled “mushrooms and marinade”), you can assume the provided figures apply to both the mushrooms and the marinade.

    Since these mushrooms clock in at just 10 calories per serving, I am assuming the marinade is fat-free and made up mostly of vinegar and spices.

    Anyway, the same principle applies to fruits canned in heavy syrup — the values on that label are very different from those of peaches packed in water.

    You often see the two-column food label with:

    Cereal (one column lists values for the cereal, the other figures in a certain amount of non-fat milk)

    Quick-cooking grains with accompanying flavor pouches (one column lists values for the grain, the other — usually VERY high in sodium — provides nutrition information once the flavor packet is factored in.)

    And, most recently, with…

    Some 20 ounce soda bottles and “single portion” chips (one column lists “a serving,” the other lists values for the entire container.)


    Numbers Game: Answer

    A half cup of canned peach slices in heavy syrup contains approximately 4.5 teaspoons of added sugar.


    Not only does that tack on 72 completely worthless calories, it also offers one more teaspoon of added sugar than a glazed Dunkin’ Donuts concoction.

    As for the 10% of the potassium daily value offered in half a cup of natural peach slices? It decreases by half in its canned form.

    Vitamin C levels are also slashed by 50 percent when peaches undergo this kind of processing.


    Numbers Game: How Sweet Can It Get?

    A half cup of canned peach slices in heavy syrup contains approximately ______ teaspoons of added sugar.

    a) 3.5
    b) 2.75
    c) 4.5
    d) 2.25

    Leave your guess in the “comments” section and come back on Tuesday for the answer.


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