A balanced diet is an essential part of any healthy lifestyle, especially if you want to lose weight. This means you should always try to fill up on fresh, whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains rather than processed options like frozen meals and salty snacks. Canned foods, which are typically loaded with sodium and preservatives, are one of the main types of processed foods that experts recommend cutting back on if you’re trying to shed a few pounds. While these are popular pantry items that can last a long time without deteriorating, the health risks they pose are usually not worth it. This is especially true when it comes to canned meat.
To learn more about the dangers of canned meat and why it should be avoided by anyone looking to lose weight, we spoke to health expert Jesse Feder, RDN, CPT of My Chron’s and Colitis Team. He gave us the rundown of the cons of this food; find all his insight below!
While many canned foods are bad for you and there’s no simple answer for which is worse, Feder says canned meats like spam top the list. Indeed, as he explains, “they are very high in calories, fat, saturated fat and sodium”. Plus, “some canned foods can also be high in fats/oils to add flavor, which can really add extra calories.” All of these ingredients can lead to a variety of health issues, but they’re especially harmful to anyone looking to lose weight or keep their heart healthy. “Increased calorie intake can lead to weight gain and cardiovascular disease,” says Feder.
When it comes to heart health risks, Feder tells us that “the high amount of saturated fat [in canned meats] can help raise bad cholesterol which can clog your arteries” and “high sodium can cause fluid retention and raise your blood pressure” on the shelf next time you go shopping.
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Alternatives to canned meat
So if you’re watching your weight and/or heart health, what are your best meat options? Feder says that if possible, you should buy your meats fresh from the grocery store, “or at the very least from the deli counter.” (Although we should also warn that processed deli meats can harm your health as well.)
And if you really can’t give up spam or other canned meats, he offers a little advice: “I highly recommend going for the lite versions of what’s available,” says Feder. “It’s about reduced fat, sodium and calories.” Much better !
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