We typically think of fruits as healthy foods, and they absolutely can be! However, when it comes to canned fruits, you’ve got to be really careful. Ingredients are everything.
Of course when possible, you’re going to want to choose fresh fruit. But sometimes canned fruit comes in super handy, especially when certain fruits are out of season, or when you need it for a recipe.
I’m going to walk you through the ins and outs of canned fruit, and show you what to avoid and what to buy instead.
SUGAR, SUGAR & MORE SUGAR:
Canned fruit has a misleadingly simple title. You would expect it just to be fruit in a can, maybe in its own juices, or in water – right?
Wrong. The bad news is a lot of canned fruits have added ingredients you want to avoid, especially added sugar. Let’s take a look:
There are a couple of problems here. First, anytime you see the word “light syrup” or “heavy syrup,” run Forrest, run! They make it sound sexy by calling it a light syrup, but it's literally just sugar water.
With 11 grams of added sugar per half cup, you end up consuming ALMOST three teaspoons of extra cane sugar in your fruit cocktail. Three teaspoons is horribly disruptive to your gut microbiome, and it adds to the sugar we already eat every day. Hello Type 2 Diabetes!
Secondly, notice the “natural flavors.” A “natural” flavor is basically another word for artificial flavors; there's nothing natural about them. To call something a “natural” flavor, the FDA only says you have to start with some kind of real food, like an apple or strawberry, then you can take it to a lab and use up to 100 synthetic chemicals to adulterate the flavor any way you want. It’s the biggest lie in the grocery store.
NO SUGAR ADDED:
You might see another product that says “no added sugar” and think it’s a safe alternative, but think again.
There are studies that have shown Sucralose can lower the count of beneficial gut bacteria by half. It can increase your risk of irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease. Because your body cannot digest Sucralose, it travels through your digestive system and can harm your intestinal wall, which can lead to leaky gut. Avoid Sucralose!
THIS SIMPLE ADVICE:
Instead of these alternatives, my advice to you is crystal clear: insist on buying fruit in its own juices, with no added sugar, “natural” or artificial flavors.