I’ll never forget the time when I tasted produce from the fresh side like it came fresh picked out of the garden then compared to the taste of a canned produce that could have been sitting in a can full of water and oil for who knows how long. The look was simply unappealing to the limp, dull and soggy vegetable compared to the vibrant color, and crisp texture and overall taste of a fresh one. Eating is an activity that we as humans do at least two times a day. We live in a world where the variety of food is immense, and we are responsible for what we eat.
“We’re looking at fresh foods, something that appeals to everyone. ”(Andrea Reudi) We decide what we are about to eat and how it will affect our bodies. Have you ever tasted a canned food item and could immediately tell that it was lacking something because of the taste quality compared to if you had consumed a fresh item? For most of us we prefer to eat fresh food over canned food any day because of the fresh factor. Fresh food tends to have an effect that bring us into our souls and immerse ourselves into the freshness of the food than in a canned item you just would like to run away from.
Because of the advances in food technology have dramatically changed the way we eat, the question we ask is eating fresh food healthier compared to canned food or is there even much of a difference. There is a dramatic difference when eating fresh fruit and vegetables compared to canned goods. The differences between eating fresh foods instead of canned foods are the differences in flavor, health benefits and the cost. Number of people believe that fresh foods are in greater quality to canned goods which is true and will be explained.
The general impression is that fresh food —produce, in particular—is better for you than frozen or canned food because fresh food (provided it has not been overly steamed or overly boiled) arrives at your table with its appearance largely unchanged, and its nutrients—including fiber content—intact. Additionally, canned foods are notorious for being higher in added salt and sugar, and frozen meals are known for the additives they often require (such as emulsifiers and binders found in frozen desserts).
Now imagine the same situation with a canned food arriving at your table with most of the qualities greatly changed from the bland taste in flavor, the dullness in color, and the limpness and floppiness in texture. It also may seem illogical to think that food processed a year or more before it is consumed could actually still be nutritious (Health library 1). Could you ever tell the difference in taste when it comes to the fresh taste in fresh foods like it was just newly pulled from the ground in a good harvesting season compared to the dull taste of food preserved in a can for as long as two years.
Can you imagine eating something that was preserved in a can from two years beforehand tasting the same as when it was freshly harvested on the farm? The most notable difference between these two kinds of foods is their flavor. Fresh foods have great flavor and taste because they keep all their natural conditions. Canned foods however, lack a lot of its flavor characteristics because there are some other chemical products added to the natural foods so it can contain a long shelf life. It is logical that the fresh foods will have a greater taste and flavor when consumed just because of the time in which they have been prepared.
Nutrients and vitamins are also greatly diminished in the preserving process. Comparing both types of foods we notice another difference. There are many nutritional differences between both of these that have a health factor that affects both of them. The heating process during canning destroys from one-third to one-half of vitamins A and C, riboflavin, and thiamin. For every year the food is stored, canned food loses an additional 5 to 20% of these vitamins (Diet: fresh foods vs. canned foods). That said there are a few minor drawbacks to purchasing canned goods over fresh.
A study conducted by students at the University of California showed that canned produce experiences a significant loss in thiamin, B6 and riboflavin, three essential B vitamins. However, the amounts of other vitamins are only slightly lower in canned food than in fresh food. Canned foods lose some of the original fresh food nutrients when stored, and also it has to be tinned with many conservatives and chemical factors that prolong the shelf life and apparent freshness of the food, but could also become toxic if consumed too often. But on the other hand canned produce, is generally packaged only hours after it has been picked.
The canning process that require high temperatures preserve the vast majority of the food’s nutrients. The Food and Drug Administration states that “When produce is handled properly and canned quickly after harvest, it can be more nutritious than fresh produce sold in stores”. Buying fresh foods have a lot of good qualities over canned foods, but there are other differences why buying fresh foods may have some shortcomings. Popular opinion suggests that fresh produce provides the most nutrients and health benefits over canned foods. However, closer study reveals that this actually may not be the case.
What is referred to as “fresh” produce may not be as fresh as it appears. While it is generally accepted that fresh fruits and vegetables contain the most nutrients, it is important to remember that. Once a fresh produce such as a fruit or vegetable is picked, it undergoes a process of storing and shipping where it loses a significant percent of its nutritional value. Produce is often transported over long distances and then left to sit on store shelves. The time lapse between picking and purchase can cause fresh fruits and vegetables to lose some of their nutritional value as they are exposed to light and air.
Their taste and texture are also diminished during this procedure. Frozen or canned produce, on the other hand, is generally packaged immediately after harvesting, when nutrient levels are at their highest. Statements issued by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the International Food Information Council (IFIC) report that nutrients in fruits and vegetables are generally not lost during canning or freezing, and that fresh, frozen, or canned versions of the same food have relatively equivalent nutrient profiles.
The nutrients in produce remain largely intact regardless of how they are processed. The lycopene in tomatoes, for example, can be found in fresh tomatoes, canned tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, and frozen pizza sauce. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety & Inspection Service has also stated that there is little change in nutrient value during freezer storage of meat and poultry products. Well if nutrition isn’t the issue then what is. Yet another difference between these two types of foods is the cost. Canned foods are much more expensive than fresh foods.
Here the benefit of buying tinned foods is that they are easier to find, for example, in a supermarket instead of the market like the fresh foods, and they require less work to prepare than fresh foods, just open and serve. Some drawbacks that come along with eating fresh foods are that, fresh fruit is a seasonal product in most areas. If a fruit is not in season, you may be able to purchase the fruit, but it will be prohibitively expensive. Another disadvantage to fresh fruit includes the shelf-life for fresh fruit is impractically short for many of us.
This means not only that the fruit purchases is apt to go bad before it can be consumed, but also that more trips to the grocery store are required to keep good fresh fruit in the house at all times. Clearly, there are many differences and comparisons when buying fresh foods and buying canned foods. When comparing canned foods to fresh foods in the amount of nutrients still intact from the process and delivery to the store shelves it is clear that fresh foods contain nutrients throughout the handling process.
Studies confirm that fresh fruits and vegetables straight from the garden or local farmer’s market remain the most nutritional of all produce options. But for those without the time or means to grow produce, canned or frozen products may be worth considering . One only has to taste the remarkable difference in a fresh food item compared to a canned item to recognize the dissimilarity in crisp taste compared to the wilted taste in a canned item. As we can see it comes down to a personal choice, based on the time each person has, the money and the importance he/she gives to his/her nutrition and health.
Therefore, it is important that you consider your possibilities and choose the best type of foods for your convenience and lifestyle. Is there really any question as to the benefits of fresh foods that underhandly outweigh the benefits evaluated to canned food? But if there was any question you had to ask yourself it would be would you prefer the fresh, crisp taste of a fresh fruit or vegetable or would you desire the soggy, dull taste of a canned product.
Whether you choose fresh or frozen foods can impact your budget, nutritional intake, and shelf life of your food. Many people have the impression that fresh foods are always better than frozen or canned foods. While there may be some truth to this, some frozen foods are comparable -- or even a better option in some cases -- than fresh foods.
Which Is Cheaper?
In general, frozen foods are less expensive than fresh foods, notes Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. This is especially true for frozen fruits and vegetables. Canned foods are often cheaper yet, but may contain added sugar or sodium. If you're trying to pinch pennies, choose frozen over fresh foods when possible.
Convenience and Prep Time
When it comes to convenience and shorter prep times, frozen foods are again the better option. Frozen foods often come ready-to-eat, which reduces food prep time. For example, frozen fruits and veggies are usually already rinsed and chopped into bite-sized portions. Frozen pre-packaged meals are also ready-to-eat and simply need to be heated or baked. So if you're tight on time while in the kitchen, choosing frozen foods over fresh foods is generally more convenient.
Food Storage Times
Frozen foods can be stored longer than fresh foods. Fresh foods often stay fresh for a few days up to one week, but frozen foods last much longer than that in your freezer. In fact, some frozen foods are safe to eat for up to 12 months after the purchase date, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. If you want to avoid throwing away spoiled food that doesn't get eaten in time, frozen food is again a solid option.
Many people assume that fresh foods are richer in nutrients that frozen foods. This may be the case, according to MedlinePlus. However, just because a food is fresh doesn't necessarily mean it's more nutritious. The ripeness of produce, time of year it was harvested, and type of soil it was grown in affects the nutritional value of fresh foods. Food preparation also plays a role. For example, boiling vegetables too long eliminates many essential nutrients naturally present in those veggies.
The Arthritis Foundation notes that sometimes fresh foods lose nutritional value during transport and storage, giving frozen foods an edge up nutritionally. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center confirms that long transportation and storage times can cause fresh produce to lose some nutritional value, but frozen fruits and veggies are usually packaged right after harvest when nutrient levels are at their peaks.
Sodium and Other Added Ingredients
While most frozen produce doesn't contain sodium, added sugar, preservatives, or artificial ingredients, some frozen foods -- like ready-made frozen dinners -- do contain such additives. Getting too much sodium in your diet increases your risk for high blood pressure, and excess added sugar contributes to unwanted weight gain. Fortunately, there are frozen dinners available that are healthy, free from artificial ingredients, lack added sugar, and are lower in sodium, so check the nutrition facts label when purchasing such frozen foods.
Which Option Is Best
Whether you should choose fresh or frozen foods really depends on your lifestyle, budget, and food preferences. Fresh foods are generally accepted as being the healthier choice, but in many cases frozen foods are just as nutritious, more convenient, and cheaper. As long are you're choosing healthy foods aren't high in sodium or added sugar, fresh and frozen foods are both excellent options.