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Is Canned Fruit as Healthy?

“Is Canned Fruit as Healthy?” Food cans used to be soldered
with lead compounds, so much so that people
living off of canned food may have died from
lead poisoning. Thankfully this is no longer
a problem in the United States. Lead contamination was actually
one of the first priorities of the FDA, before it was even called
the FDA back in 1906. It’s great that newspapers now have
online archives going back a century so we can read about landmark
historical events like “FDA Proposes Lead-Soldered Cans
be Banned” way back yonder in 1993? Going into effect in 1995. Evidently it was complicated because
lead solder was grandfathered in as a prior-sanctioned substance. Now that the lead is gone though,
are canned foods healthy? It primarily depends on
what’s in the can. . . If it’s Spam-dandy,
I’d probably pass. Let’s give canned food the
benefit of the doubt though. What about canned fruit? We know fruits and vegetables in general
may help protect us from dying from cardiovascular disease, and
when it comes to preventing strokes, fruit may be even more protective, but whether food processing affects
this association was unknown. This study found that unprocessed
produce, mostly apples and oranges, appeared superior to
processed produce, but that was mainly
orange and apple juice. No surprise whole fruit
is better than fruit juice. What about whole fruit,
just in a can? Dietary guidelines encourage all fruit—
fresh, frozen, and canned— but few studies have examined the health
benefits of canned fruit until now. Canned fruit did not seem able
to enable people to live longer. In fact, moving from fresh or dried fruit to
canned fruit might even shorten one’s life. So maybe dietary guidelines should
stress fresh, frozen, and dried rather than canned.
Why the difference? There’s no more lead, but there
is that plastics chemical, BPA, that is used in the
lining of most cans, which can leach into the food and might
counterbalance some of the fruit benefits. Recently blood levels of this chemical was
associated with thickening of the lining of the arteries going up to the brains
of young adults, for example. Canned fruit is often packed in syrup
as well, with all that added sugar, and the canning process might diminish
some nutrients, potentially wiping out 20 to 40% of the phenolic phytonutrients,
and about half of the vitamin C. You know, maybe one of
the reasons citrus appears particularly protective against
stroke is the vitamin C. It appears the more vitamin C
in our diet, the lower our risk of stroke; and the more vitamin C in our bloodstream,
the lower our risk of stroke. But how did the vitamin C
get in our bloodstream? These people must have been eating
a lot of healthy foods, like citrus, tropical fruits, broccoli,
bell peppers. Therefore, the observed effect
of vitamin C on stroke reduction may simply be a proxy for specific
healthy foods that lower stroke risk. How could we tell? Well, we could just give
people just vitamin C pills instead, and see if they work. And they don’t. Citrus fruits have all sorts of other
compounds associated with lower stroke risk. The whole
is greater than the sum of its parts. You can’t capture Mother Nature in a pill. It’s like the apocryphal
beta-carotene story. Dozens of studies showed that people
who ate more beta-carotene rich foods like greens and sweet potatoes, and
therefore had more beta-carotene circulating in their system
had lower cancer risk. But how much money can
we make selling carrots? So they tried giving people
beta-carotene pills, and not only did they not work; they
may have even caused more cancer. So I assumed this National
Cancer Institute researcher would conclude the obvious:
produce, not pills. But no, maybe we should have tried lower
dose pills, or maybe alpha carotene pills, or pills with other phytochemicals,
or multiple combinations. After all, it is likely that neither the
public nor the scientific community will be satisfied with recommendations
concerned solely with mere foods.

Randall Smitham



  1. Al Red Posted on August 31, 2016 at 11:57 am

    I never been here so early 😀

  2. first name last name Posted on August 31, 2016 at 11:58 am


  3. Coras Posted on August 31, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    Here's what I eat regularly as my go-to, easy-peazy meals, in case anyone wanted some ideas or could please critique it.

    I have frozen blueberries every day, with a banana, oats, 2tbsp flax seeds and soy milk for breakfast everyday.
    Tomato, baby spinach and hummus sandwich on whole meal bread, 2-3 bananas for lunch
    Green beans, 1/3 can of lentils (uh oh), 3/4 cup sweet potato, leaf of spinach, peas, carrot, sometimes I add some corn, maybe some frozen chips (I know, I know), and some tomato sauce or ketchup as a topping for dinner.
    At night if I'm hungry, I eat fruit, or I make pieces of toast with tumeric and peanutbutter, or hummus, or even vegemite with vegan margarine if I feel fancy.

  4. kyle Posted on August 31, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    Lovin this one a lot Doc! Thanks a ton for your diligence. I can't get enough of your content

  5. Leonardo Da Vinci Posted on August 31, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    I think Dr Greger is a great resource. However he has a strong bias against supplements. He discounted and assumed that those people that had high levels of vitamin C got it from food.

    Realistically those people most likely supplemented with vitamin c pills.

  6. Jock Posted on August 31, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    So whats your opinion on canned beans Uncle Gregor?

  7. etobiCRACKscorpions Posted on August 31, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    Hold up; If cans are lined with BPA then what about cans of beans? I am eating 1-2 cans per day so my BPA must be through the roof!?

  8. Vegan Footsoldier Posted on August 31, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    hmmm… i always thought canned fruit was good in a pinch, but still confused if it's better to eat canned food or say oats and water in a pinch.

  9. Scott Cousland Posted on August 31, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    I would love to see you talk with Andrew Saul of http://www.doctoryourself.com

    I searched his website for beta carotene and found this study:

    "Immune system response to short-term, high-dose beta carotene supplementation was examined. Supplements of 180 mg of beta carotene per day for two weeks increased the number of T4 lymphocytes (helper cells) and did not effect the T8 lymphocytes (suppressor cells)." (Alexander, M., Newmark, H., Miller, R.G. Oral Beta Carotene Can Increase the Number of OKT4+ Cells in Human Blood. Immunology Letters 9:221-224, 1985.)

    This reference is from his article:


    another good one:


  10. jmarylastone Posted on August 31, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    WAIT WAIT – what about home canned fruits in GLASS??? – I can all my fruits in glass jars WITH NO SUGAR, NO ADDED PECTIN, NO SWEETENER OF ANY KIND – what about what I can at home???

  11. HandmadeFam Posted on August 31, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    so.. bpa is still in the lining of cans? did I miss something? sorry but I really want to know if I should skip canned fruit to feed the kids

  12. Gentle Brother Posted on August 31, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    That's right Uncle Greger, people are suckers for popping pills. Always looking for a quick fix and to cling to their bad dietary habits.

  13. Julia Caban Posted on August 31, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    There is SO MUCH sugar/syrup in canned fruits – this couldn't be healthy! But what's your opinion on FROZEN FRUITS? 🙂

  14. Ben 10 Posted on August 31, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    I stopped eating canned fruit when I saw how they get the pith (skin and white stuff) off grapefruit, oranges etc.

    Basically, they soak the fruit in hydrochloric acid and then treat it with caustic soda.

    Apparently the caustic soda neutralizes the acid, but still, I have a higher sense of self-worth than to eat that shit. I'd only now eat canned food in an emergency.

  15. Nikolay Nikolov Posted on August 31, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    They should test vitamin C but taken along with an orange vs only an orange. I assume it will work differently once it enters the bloodstream along with the orange nutrients made to work together with the C.

  16. Reverend Al Posted on August 31, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    I always keep canned peaches around. They are so unlike fresh peaches that they're a whole different fruit. Also, canned pineapple is sure convenient and cheap!

  17. Ali Elmoussa Posted on August 31, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    What about people receiving high dose vitamin c for cancer. Can't deny vitamin c supplements work.

  18. Vegetable Police Posted on August 31, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    You scientific son of a bitch 😉

  19. SulforaphaneMeUp Posted on August 31, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    Can you do another video on Kombucha? I didn't like your old one.

  20. Ronnie & Minh Posted on August 31, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    Fresh is always best.

  21. zukodude487987 Posted on August 31, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    Got fresh produce?

  22. Nerds and Nutrition Posted on August 31, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    LOL those grandfather clauses will get you every time…

  23. Soozie Snake Posted on August 31, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    what about canned legumes? i love then as they are super convenient.

  24. me.echy5 Posted on August 31, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    why doesn't vitamin c pill not work but vitamin b12 pills do ?

  25. Eat Food Not Animals Posted on August 31, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    I eat a couple cans of beans a day and now I am worried about the BPA. damn, it seems almost everything is dangerous unless its whole raw and fresh.

  26. Carmela Christopher Posted on August 31, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    The man is brilliant!!

  27. Julia Lundberg Posted on August 31, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    I always had a feeling canned fruit was different! I just don't trust it, This is horrible 😫

  28. Judy FIELDS DAVIS Posted on August 31, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    Thank you so much!

  29. Tim Dunk Posted on August 31, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    Mere foods – chuckle chuckle.

  30. andrea a Posted on August 31, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    What about those cans that don't have the bpa lining anymore? Do you think that would make a difference?

  31. Old Earthling Carl Posted on August 31, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    Just eat the bloody carrot! Great stuff as always 🙂

  32. Elijah X. Media Posted on August 31, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    I just like the way this dude talks lol…

  33. AliceMarieM Posted on August 31, 2016 at 5:07 pm

    what a nightmare for food banks.

  34. The Mental Health Herbalist Posted on August 31, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    Thanks for this video

  35. Maha Lingam Posted on August 31, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    In the Hindu teaching we make a difference between living food and dead food. All food that is not coming directly from the field is dead food. Dead food is to be avoided.

  36. TheAtheistPaladin Posted on August 31, 2016 at 5:24 pm

    If you're going to take a vitamin, take a whole food raw vitamin.

  37. Maha Lingam Posted on August 31, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    I never wanted to be a Vegan. Until i made the experience the my knees have pain when i drank milk. When i stopped drinking milk my knees were ok.
    My knees have their own view of life and what i should eat and drink.

  38. me.echy5 Posted on August 31, 2016 at 5:45 pm

    dr.greger mentions in another video to take vitamin d pills as if they work. why do these vitamin d pills work and these vitamin c pills don't. do vitamin d pills contain bacteria aswell?

  39. Maha Lingam Posted on August 31, 2016 at 5:56 pm

    I love the way you speak. It is funny.
    Michael Greger, i love you.

  40. WisdomTooth Posted on August 31, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    did you really have to make a video about that sorta question lol it should be common sense haha

  41. Phil Adams Posted on August 31, 2016 at 7:29 pm

    At the end of the day, if it means you'll eat more fruit, don't worry about it. All canned fruit is almost perfectly ripe too, as it's rejected too-ripe fruit that is preserved before it goes bad to cut costs. I don't have time to peel grapefruits for my smoothies or wait for peaches to go perfectly ripe. Massive conveniences outweigh the downsides IMO.

  42. Jeong-hun Sin Posted on August 31, 2016 at 7:44 pm

    Do not give up; advance the technology. Yes, we cannot put the nature into a pill…. yet. But that does not mean it is proved to be impossible. I find eating (including all of its processes such as preparation, cooking, ect.) one of the most dangerous, tedious, time-consuming thing in my life. If I could just take some pills and don't have to spend my time worrying about nutrient deficiencies, pesticides, toxic substances (mercury, lead, PCB, ect.), I would be so happy.
    Eating used to be fun and satisfying, but not any more because I now know almost all delicious foods are bad for health. And even fruits and vegetables are mostly contaminated (pesticides, viruses, parasites).

  43. sooooooooDark Posted on August 31, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    hm i dont find it too sensical to compare canned fruit to fresh/frozen fruit
    they r obviously not as good :S
    it would be more interesting to see their effect if u simply added them to a standard (american) diet

  44. jcberens Posted on August 31, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    I have never heard you speaking about crock pots. What is best to use, cooking in water, steaming or a crock pot? Would be great if you could do a video on this subject. Thanks for all the valuable information you share with us.

  45. Darth Crypto Posted on August 31, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    You heard that loud THUD? It was all the science being dropped!

  46. jukijunk Posted on August 31, 2016 at 8:39 pm

    God damn it, I luv them canned pears tho!

  47. Phaxey Posted on August 31, 2016 at 9:33 pm

    How about canned fruit in cans free from BPA and no added sugar?

  48. nonchalantd Posted on August 31, 2016 at 10:14 pm

    If vitamin supplements don't work, then does B12 supplementation work or should we eat the minimum B12 from animal sources (e.g., B12 rich animal organs) to prevent deficiency?

  49. Nogevis Posted on August 31, 2016 at 11:43 pm

    until….now. I always laugh

  50. fire7side Posted on September 1, 2016 at 12:06 am

    Canned foods almost always have added sugar, especially fruits. From what we know about juice versus whole fruit, it's probably sugar that is causing extra stroke risk from an insulin rush. Without testing canned foods that add nothing but water, the tests are really inconclusive. I would guess they compare fairly favorably, although the cell walls may be damaged from the cooking and release the sugar more rapidly.

  51. Yo Mama Posted on September 1, 2016 at 2:04 am

    Could you do a video on vitamin C treating Whopping cough in unvaccinated children vs those who are just simply vaccinated? We're about to get into the "sick season" and I wish I could stress to people with proof that vaccines aren't what they believe them to be!

  52. Lynnianaa Posted on September 1, 2016 at 5:57 am

    S-s-spam noodles!?! (o O ); barf!

  53. Just Survive to Thrive - Karen McGhan Posted on September 1, 2016 at 6:19 am

    I always thought canned fruit was gross, but my son loves canned peaches.Bummer!

  54. Chelsie Patnode Posted on September 1, 2016 at 8:28 am

    what about home canning? using glass jars?

  55. kingorbit Posted on September 1, 2016 at 10:19 am

    canned fruit is candy

  56. Blake Melling Posted on September 1, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    Could you do a video covering whey protein? Also compare plant based protein powder versus non plant bases

  57. thebudkellyfiles Posted on September 1, 2016 at 2:28 pm

    I have decided that you can find studies that prove anything you wish to believe. After 6 months of a vegan, low-fat, natural food diet my weight did not change, my blood pressure did not change, and I am back on the low-carb high protein diet to try to lose weight.

  58. ΔSTRID Posted on September 1, 2016 at 11:06 pm

    I would listen to Dr. Greger read a phone book.

  59. bunny Posted on September 2, 2016 at 5:50 am

    so no more dole pineapple cans? D:

  60. Milelu Posted on September 2, 2016 at 10:28 am

    A new study by Friedrich C. Luft shows that getting rid of salt does actually harm your body. So we should eat more salt. What do you think? I don't know what to believe. 🙁 He is a hypertension specialist..

  61. Chris Creaser Posted on September 2, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    Didn't tell us much (If at all),Did it??

  62. muminka Posted on September 2, 2016 at 8:12 pm

    So how come B12 in a pill works but Vit C and beta carotene don't?

  63. Holly Karlsen Posted on September 3, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    I'd really like to know how much of the nutrients are lost when home canning in glass jars without added sugar.  My freezer and dehydrator are full, so I am home canning my harvest and keep worrying that I'm wasting my time by putting up dead food.

  64. BeeRich33 Posted on September 3, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    Fresh! Right out of the can.

  65. The Vegan Wife Posted on September 4, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing all the information, very helpful.. My Father is learning a lot about his health & showing him stuff like this is truly beneficial! You're awesome! ✌🌱

  66. Matthew Martin Posted on September 5, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    Makes me wonder if fruit preserved in glass jars is better.

  67. Kakolukia Posted on September 5, 2016 at 10:12 pm

    Sprite is fruit in a can

  68. Frederick0220 Posted on September 7, 2016 at 4:48 am

    Doc, can you please make a vid on canned beans?

  69. Urban Assault Vegan Posted on September 7, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    Nice…. I like how poison can be 'grandfathered' into food production… nice. Real nice FDA, way to be. wow.

  70. Plant-Based MD Posted on September 7, 2016 at 10:38 pm

    How about canned beans and legumes?

  71. Health & Nutrition Updates Posted on September 8, 2016 at 10:42 am

    Eating fresh food is always better.

  72. Des Troya Posted on September 15, 2016 at 12:06 am

    Supplements are all bad….. blah blah blah… oh but I recommend pregnant women take DHA, and I personally take B-12 because I'm a fricken vegan.

  73. CSWRB Posted on September 17, 2016 at 11:16 am

    Bad news for me. I love the taste and convenience of canned tomatoes, especially the Cento brand. Makes such yummy pasta sauce and tomato soup.

  74. ElectriSkull Posted on September 19, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    Bpa poisoning

  75. Aimee brown Posted on September 26, 2016 at 12:28 am

    DAMN, I still have 2 cans of canned fruit left in my refrigerator

  76. abla hanan Posted on October 3, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    You are my hero

  77. leylimeow Posted on October 10, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    i love your videos! so informativ and with all the studies love that. and your voice is really nice to listen to! keep on going doing this videos!

  78. stringbender57 Posted on October 14, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    Great info on canned fruit! Dr. Greger Rocks!

  79. jade m Posted on October 23, 2016 at 6:32 am

    I love that line "you can't capture mother nature in a pill"… I see all over the internet people trying to sell fruit powders I just don't believe something so processed can be good for you what are your thoughts on such products ? love you videos xx

  80. Frederico Pinto Posted on October 8, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    He's so annoying with the way he speaks

  81. Dwarf From The North Posted on February 16, 2018 at 3:26 am

    That voice. Just talk like a normal human please.

  82. conor Posted on May 29, 2018 at 12:13 pm

    im eating tinned peaches while watching this

  83. Isaac's Diamond Man Posted on August 1, 2018 at 12:29 pm

    i buy canned pinapple slices in juice not syrup and strain it all out i feel lilke it's still health promoting this way.. i hope

  84. Christina H. Posted on February 2, 2019 at 9:44 pm

    fruit itself is not very healthy at all. It has the all dreaded fructose which if anyone has watched Dr. Jason Fung knows, fructose is the devil! ( My reference from the Waterboy).

  85. lllWARCHILDlll Posted on July 30, 2019 at 8:30 pm

    Hey bro thanks for the viiiiiiid….. one of the reasons whyyyyyyy, I may not be coming baaaaaack, is the fact that your narration, for some odd reeeeason, you stretch out the last wooooord…. at the end of a claaaaause, or at the end of your senteeeeeeeeence.

    It gets really irritating. Later.