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Is Canned Food Good for You?

We are all trying to cut back at the grocery store, but do you always have to get fresh produce? Not necessarily. I am always all for getting lots of fruits and veggies in whatever form. But I often hear people tell me they don’t think canned is as good as fresh. Hopefully I can set the record straight.

Canned food is often less expensive than frozen or fresh. It is also very convenient. You won’t throw away moldy or freezer burned foods. They are much more shelf stable so you can stock your pantry and always have something healthy on hand. And if you have been reading the Diet Dish for long, you know that I LOVE canned beans!

Fresh is not always best
A study from UC Davis found that all cooked forms of fruits and veggies–whether they come from fresh, frozen, or canned– are nutritionally similar. In fact, many foods are actually more nutritious in canned form. For example, canned pumpkin is higher in Vitamin A than an equal amount of cooked fresh pumpkin because the canning process concentrates the food. Canned tomatoes are higher in lycopene because the heat from the canning process helps the body absorb the lycopene better. The same is true for carotenoids in carrots, spinach, and other leafy greens and lutein in corn.

Surprising ways to use canned food
I just made three recipes I found on which is the website for the Canned Food Alliance.

Green Salad with Posole and Creamy Cilantro-Lime Dressing
This green salad is dressed with the most amazing creamy cilantro lime dressing. It is so good I wish you could taste it through the screen. What I love about this recipe is that you use only 1 T. of oil (instead of 1/2 or more cup per recipe) because you use pureed cannelini beans. This adds fiber and reduces calories and fat. Did I mention how yummy it is? Oh, and just in case you didn’t know (I didn’t), Posole is simply white corn.
Canned items in this recipe:

  • Cannelini beans
  • Mild green chilis
  • Posole (also called hominy which is white corn)
  • Slice ripe black olives

Caribbean Stir-Fried Shrimp
I made this last night and my husband went back for seconds. Even Basil (almost 2 year old) ate it up! Uses frozen shrimp, canned pinepple, and tomatoes. It took me 15 minutes to make. I served it with instant brown rice. Tasty!
Canned items in this recipe:

  • Pineapple chunks in juice
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Mild green chilis

Red Satin Cake with Peaches and Raspberries
OK…ready for dessert now? You would never believe that this cake has pureed beets in it. I hate beets (sorry, but true). But I wanted to see how this would taste. Outstanding! You simply put the entire can of beets in the blender and mix it into a boxed mix of devil’s food cake and some eggs. No oil in cake mix because beets provide the moisture. Then you take canned peaches in juice and blend with cornstarch and boil to thicken for the filling. So easy!
Canned items in this recipe:

  • No salt added sliced canned beets
  • Sliced peaches in juice

For more recipes, check out the recipe section of

This post, Is Canned Food Good for You?, was originally published on by Brian Westphal.

Weight Loss Supplement, Hydroxycut, Recalled Due To Liver Damage

I have said it before and I will say it again. Diet pills do not work and can be dangerous. For proof of the dangerous part, check out the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) notice of the recall of Hydroxycut.

In all, there are 14 products that have been recalled including:

  • Hydroxycut Regular Rapid Release Caplets
  • Hydroxycut Caffeine-Free Rapid Release Caplets
  • Hydroxycut Hardcore Liquid Caplets
  • Hydroxycut Max Liquid Caplets
  • Hydroxycut Regular Drink Packets
  • Hydroxycut Caffeine-Free Drink Packets
  • Hydroxycut Hardcore Drink Packets (Ignition Stix)
  • Hydroxycut Max Drink Packets
  • Hydroxycut Liquid Shots
  • Hydroxycut Hardcore RTDs (Ready-to-Drink)
  • Hydroxycut Max Aqua Shed
  • Hydroxycut 24
  • Hydroxycut Carb Control
  • Hydroxycut Natural

Why the recall?
The FDA says there have been 23 reports of liver damage, elevated liver enzymes, or liver damage requiring transplant. Other reported problems include seizures, muscle damage, and cardiovascular problems. One death of a 19 year old man is also thought to be associated with using Hydroxycut.

If you are using Hydroxycut currently, throw it away or return them to where you purchased them. There are numerous ingredients in the 14 different products recalled and right now it is not clear which ingredients are thought to be the most dangerous and cause problems.

Diet and exercise
I know you are tired of hearing it, but I am not tired of saying it. :-)
Reducing calories and increasing calorie burn by moving more are the best way to lose weight. Many dietary supplements on the market are safe. But some can have dangerous consequences. use caution and when in doubt, don’t use something you think may be dangerous.

*This post, Hydroxycut Recall, was originally published on by Tara Gidus, MS, RD.*

New Research On Eggs

A meeting this week called Experimental Biology had some really interesting new research presented on eggs. I have written about eggs in the past and tried to clear up some of the confusion around whether they are good or not. Check out my past blog called The Incredible Edible Egg for more background on nutritional plus’s and minus’s on eggs. I also wrote a fun post on eggs which included some food safety tips. I personally love eggs and my favorite way to eat them is a spinach and feta omelet! Mmmmmm……

Here are some of the findings presented at Experimental Biology 2009 this week:
Eggs for Breakfast Helps Manage Hunger and Calorie Consumption
A study led by Maria Luz Fernandez, Ph.D., professor in the department of nutritional sciences at the University of Connecticut, investigated the differences in post-meal hunger and daily caloric intake when eating a breakfast of either protein-rich eggs or carbohydrate-rich bagels. Although the two breakfast options contained an identical amount of calories, the researchers found that adult men who consumed eggs for breakfast:

  • consumed fewer calories following the egg breakfast compared to the bagel breakfast
  • consumed fewer total calories in the 24-hour period after the egg breakfast compared to the bagel breakfast
  • reported feeling less hungry and more satisfied three hours after the egg breakfast compared to the bagel breakfast

Protein for Breakfast Helps Teens Control Appetite
Researchers from the University of Kansas Medical Center assessed the impact of a protein-rich breakfast on appetite and overall calorie consumption among teens who traditionally skip breakfast. While each test breakfast contained 500 total calories, the researchers examined variables including the protein form (solid food or beverage) and the amount of protein versus carbohydrate in the breakfast.

  • Teens consumed fewer calories at lunch when they ate a protein-rich breakfast of solid foods compared with a protein-rich beverage breakfast
  • Post-meal hunger was significantly reduced when the teens ate a protein-rich breakfast of solid foods

Cracking Open Heart Health Myths
Florida State University researchers examined the relationship between cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors such as body mass index, serum lipids and levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) (a marker for inflammation), and the degree to which these factors are influenced by dietary intake of fiber, fat and eggs. The study found:

  • No relationship between egg consumption and serum lipid profiles, especially serum total cholesterol, as well as no relationship between egg consumption and hs-CRP
  • A positive correlation (meaning the more the higher the risk) between dietary trans-fat intake and CVD risk factors, as well as a negative correlation (meaning lowered risk) between fiber and vitamin C intake and CVD risk factors

These studies support more than 30 years of research showing that healthy adults can consume eggs as part of a healthy diet. Eggs are all-natural and packed with a number of nutrients. One egg has 13 essential vitamins and minerals in varying amounts, high-quality protein and antioxidants, all for 70 calories. Eggs are also an excellent source of choline, an essential nutrient vital for fetal and infant brain development but also good for everyone.

For more information, check out the Egg Nutrition Center

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