Not only are they affordable, for many, they’re a culinary secret weapon that helps get dinner on the table in just minutes. Yes, that’s right; we’re talking about canned food. Even for those of us who generally stay away from salt-heavy canned peas and pre-made soups, canned goods are still ever present in our lives. Without them, it’d be a lot harder to have things like tuna fish, pumpkin puree, peeled Italian tomatoes, and even beans. (Dried pulses sold in a bag take hours to prepare). But as it turns out, there’s something scary lurking in these jars—even the seemingly safe ones.
A whopping 67 percent of nearly 200 cans produced by major manufacturers like Progresso and Campbell’s contain the chemical Bisphenol A (BPA), according to a new report. BP—wha?! BPA is a hormone-mimicking chemical used to prevent foods from coming in contact with the metal cans in which they’re stored. Food manufacturers use the coating to ensure that you don’t get that icky tinge of metal taste with every bite of your beans. The downside: it’s bad for your health. Research shows that consuming BPA can cause men to grow breasts by disrupting their hormones. And hundreds of other scientific studies have linked BPA to an increased risk of diabetes, asthma, ADD, breast and prostate cancer, infertility, and obesity—even for people who only ingest a small amount.
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The bad news keeps on coming: The cans marked with the “BPA-Free” sticker may be just as dangerous as the conventional variety. (Yikes!) Mainly because a significant percentage of them include two known carcinogens: vinyl chloride and styrene. But what’s even more frightening is that many of the additives used in alternatives haven't gone through much testing at all, so for all we know, they could but just as harmful.
So what’s your game plan if you want to ward off disease and remain man boob-free? Avoid canned foods whenever possible, and instead, buy products that are sold in glass jars or cardboard containers to reduce your exposure. One of our go-to brands for safe "canned foods" is Pacific Foods. It’s sold in most health food groceries and carries soups, beans, tofu, purees, sauces, and gravies in chemical-free cardboard cartons.