Food cans used to be soldered with lead chemicals –so much so that individuals living off of canned food might have died from lead poisoning.

This is a problem in the United States. Newspapers now have online archives going back a century so we can read about landmark historical events such as”FDA Proposes Lead-Soldered Cans Be Banned” from way back in 1993.

Now that the lead is gone, however, are canned food healthy? It depends on what is in the can. If it’s SPAM or another processed meat product, for example, I’d probably pass.

What about fruit?

We all know vegetables and fruits, in general, might help protect us from dying of cardiovascular disease, and, in regards to preventing strokes, fruit might be even more protective. But whether the food processing changes in this industry is unknown. 1 study found that unprocessed produce, mainly apples, and oranges, appeared superior to processed fruits. However, that research concentrated mainly on orange and apple juice. It is no surprise that complete fruit is better than fruit juice.

What about whole fruit as it is in a can?

Dietary guidelines encourage eating all fruit whether it’s fresh, frozen, or canned, but few studies have examined the health benefits of the fruit until now. Canned fruit did not seem to allow individuals to live longer. In fact, moving from dried or fresh fruit into canned fruit may even shorten your life. Why the distinction? In cans nowadays, there’s bisphenol A (BPA), the plastics compound used in the lining of the majority of cans. BPA can leach into the food and may counterbalance some of these fruits’ advantages. Lately, for example, blood levels of this chemical were correlated with the thickening of the artery linings moving up to the brains of young adults. Canned fruit can be packed in syrup, as well, and all of that added sugar and the canning procedure itself may diminish some nourishment, potentially wiping out 20 to 40 percent of those phenolic phytonutrients and about half of the vitamin C.

Perhaps one reason citrus appears particularly protective against stroke is its own vitamin C content. It appears the more vitamin C in our diet and in our blood, the lower the risk of stroke. And the best way to find vitamin C into the blood would be to eat a whole lot of healthy foods, such as citrus and tropical fruits, broccoli, and bell peppers. “Therefore, the observed effect of vitamin C on stroke loss could just be a proxy for specific foods (fruits and vegetables) that causally lower stroke”. How can the investigators tell? Instead of food, they gave individuals vitamin C pills to see whether they worked–and they did not.

This might be because citrus fruit has all kinds of different chemicals related to reduced stroke risk, proving that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. You can not catch Mother Nature on a tablet. It is similar to the apocryphal beta-carotene narrative. Dozens of studies showed that individuals who ate more beta-carotene-rich foods, such as greens and sweet potatoes, and consequently had more beta-carotene circulating in their own system, had reduced cancer risk. What about beta-carotene supplements rather than whole foods?

Researchers attempted giving beta-carotene pills to individuals. Not only did they not work, but they could also have even caused cancer. I assumed the National Cancer Institute researcher who did this research would resolve the obvious: real foods, not pills. But, no. Rather, the researchers questioned if he ought to have attempted lower dose pills, alpha-carotene pills, pills with different phytochemicals, or maybe multiple combinations. After all, he stated, “It is very likely that neither the people nor the scientific community will be satisfied with recommendations concerned solely with meals…”