These Are Some Of The Least Nutritious Canned Beans You Can Buy

shopping for canned food
shopping for canned food - Vladdeep/Getty Images

Canned beans offer a convenient option when it comes to a fulfilling dinnertime side dish. And while lots of varieties have much to offer in terms of nutrition, there's one particular type of bean that is a bit lacking when it comes to nutrients. Ranking number one in Daily Meal's list of the unhealthiest canned beans you'll find at the store, baked beans are a less nutritious selection compared to other types of canned beans you can buy.

While ingredients vary from brand to brand, many types of canned baked beans contain large portions of sugar and salt, which can be problematic for some people. For example, the sodium in Bush's Baked Beans equals 25% of a person's daily allowance based on a 2,000-calorie per day diet. As for sugar, these baked beans contain 11 grams of added sugar, which makes up 22% of a person's daily recommended intake. On the other hand, canned baked beans usually use navy beans, which offer essential nutrients like protein, as well as vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Unfortunately, this healthy component is somewhat diminished by other ingredients.

Read more: 12 Canned Foods You Should Avoid At The Grocery Store

Does Canning Decrease The Nutritional Content Of Beans?

baked beans in grocery store
baked beans in grocery store - Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

It's often said that canned foods, including beans, are not as nutritious as their fresh counterparts. This is a major canned food myth that people should stop believing, as the canning process does not have a significant impact on the nutritional content of beans. The heat involved can decrease the concentration of some nutrients, such as vitamin C, but it also increases the concentration of lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant present in tomatoes.

Accordingly, canning is not the culprit when it comes to the lack of nutrition offered by baked beans. The primary issue with this canned food is the presence of sugar and salt, which are key to achieving the desired flavor. According to Harvard Health, the overconsumption of sugar can increase a person's blood pressure, which then raises the chance of cardiovascular issues. Eating too much salt has a similar effect on heart health, while simultaneously increasing stomach cancer risk. These risks are even more relevant for people with existing medical conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes.

How To Enhance Nutrition When Enjoying Canned Baked Beans

baked beans in skillet
baked beans in skillet - Blakedavidtaylor/Getty Images

If you're a fan of the flavor and convenience of canned baked beans but are worried about the health impact of excess salt and sugar, there are other options available. Lots of brands offer reduced salt and sugar varieties, which are a good choice for people with dietary concerns due to health reasons. While not quite as convenient as canned versions, there are also easy baked bean recipes you can add to your cooking arsenal if you want a more nutritious version of the popular canned food. These recipes do feature ingredients like brown sugar and salt, but in far lower concentrations than you're getting with canned beans. Additionally, many recipes can be prepared relatively quickly, in about 45 minutes or less.

For those who don't have dietary restrictions involving salt and sugar, remember that virtually all foods can be enjoyed in moderation. While canned beans often contain high concentrations of less wholesome ingredients, the key ingredient, i.e., navy beans, has much to offer when it comes to nutrition. As a result, you can indulge in baked beans on occasion without major concerns about health and wellness.

Read the original article on The Daily Meal.