Growing up I was fortunate enough to have access to fresh produce: fruits, vegetables, protein etc. you name it I usually ate it organically grown. While my lunch box was packed with a fresh apple, many of my friends all had canned oranges or peaches. I’ve always had this partial mindset towards fresh produce and have found canned fruit gross, for lack of a better word. In addition to my disgust, I have always had this preconceived notion that it was actually worse than real fruit, or even worse to eat this canned fruit than no fruit at all. I understand that many families do not have the ability to provide fresh fruit to their children as it does cost a pretty penny and is also more time consuming to assemble cut up fruit rather than just throwing a pre-packaged item in the lunchbox. However, this curiosity drove me to ask the question: Is eating canned fruit worse than eating no fruit at all?
In order to answer this question, I wanted to look at two canned fruits in addition to their fresh counterparts. I picked Del Monte canned peaches and pears. Here are the nutrition facts for both:
(multiply by 4 in order to get 4 oz)
After looking at these nutrition facts, it appears that a 4 oz. fresh peach in comparison to 4 oz. canned peaches is better in calorie, carbohydrate, and sugar content. However, there is a slight increase in fat content in the fresh peach, but not much. As for a 7 oz. pear compared to 7 oz. canned pears, they are both rather similar except for the fresh pear has no sugar content whereas the canned pear has an alarming amount of sugar.
If I were to test this I would do a randomized double blind trial and have three groups of children ages 10-13.
- children who eat a package of canned fruit per day for a month
- children who eat a fresh piece of fruit per day for a month
- children who eat no fruit for a month
Before the monthly experiment began, I would record height, weight, age and take a blood sample to record blood sugar. Although this experiment may have some issues because we cannot control if some children have faster metabolisms or are more active, however it is randomized and therefore there is a variety. After a month, I would retake the health measurements and compare all the results.
To wrap it up, I wanted to focus on the sugar content in these food groups because I believe sugar to be “the silent killer” in declining health. I think the takeaway in this blog post is to be aware of the nutrition facts of what your eating and to be aware of how much sugar you’re actually consuming in seemingly “healthy” options.