What’s in That Can?
Before you open canned soup, make sure you know what’s inside.
When cold weather sets in, many of us are tempted to eat canned soup. It’s a warm and reliable go-to comfort food. But store-bought varieties often contain high amounts of sodium, which can spell trouble for people on salt-restricted diets.
“If you have a salt-sensitive disease, you should stay within the bounds recommended by your physician,” says Elmer Smith, M.D., internal medicine physician at Texas Star Adult Medicine, a Texas Health Physicians Group practice. “Make sure the amount of sodium you’re eating is in proportion to other meals.”
Dr. Smith emphasizes keeping an eye on how much sodium you are ingesting at each meal and what that means for your overall daily intake.
“You have to look at portion sizes,” Dr. Smith says. “Some cans contain two servings, so you get double the amount of salt listed on the label if you eat the entire can in one sitting.”
One potentially concerning, and unlisted, ingredient in canned soup is bisphenol A (BPA) which could leak into the food from the plastic lining in the cans. BPA can negatively impact the immune system and may contribute to obesity, reproductive disorders and Type 2 diabetes. However, you can reduce your risk of ingesting BPA while still enjoying the convenience of already-prepared soup. Just look for alternatives such as boxed or frozen soups.
Another worry many people have about canned soup is the risk of foodborne botulism, which could potentially be caused by the presence of botulinum toxin. Although home-canned foods are the most common cause of this, you may also have concerns about your store-bought canned soup. To lower your risk, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends you immediately throw out any cans that are leaking or bulging, or that look cracked, without opening them. The CDC also suggests tossing any canned food that is discolored or smells bad.
Physicians employed by Texas Health Physicians Group practice independently and are not employees of the hospital or Texas Health Resources.