What to know about pears

Share on PinterestThe fiber in pears may help improve gut health.

Consuming all types of fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of several health conditions. Pears are no exception.

They provide a significant amount of fiber and other essential nutrients, and they can help reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain gut conditions.

In the sections below, we look at the specific health benefits that pears may provide.

Providing fiber

The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion have developed an Adequate Intake (AI) guideline for fiber.

They recommend that males under the age of 50 consume 30.8 to 33.6 grams (g) per day, depending on age. For females under the age of 50, the recommended intake is 25.2 to 28 g per day, depending on age.

For adults over the age of 50, the recommendation is 28 g per day for males and 22.4 g per day for females.

Increasing fruit and vegetable intake is a fairly easy way to boost fiber intake. For example, just one medium sized pear provides 6 g of fiber, which is about 24% of the daily AI for females under the age of 50.

Pears contain a soluble fiber called pectin, which nourishes gut bacteria and improves gut health.

In fact, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggest that sufficient fiber intake promotes healthy bowel function and can increase feelings of fullness after a meal. It may also lower a person’s risk of heart disease and reduce their total cholesterol levels.

Enhanced fullness after meals can support weight loss, as a person will feel less of an urge to snack between meals. In fact, one 2015 study associated increased fiber intake with enhanced weight loss for people with obesity.

Also, a 2013 review of studies in humans found that dietary fiber may play a role in regulating the immune system and inflammation. It might also decrease the risk of inflammation-related conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity.

Treating diverticulosis

Diverticulitis occurs when bulging sacs in the lining of the large intestine, called diverticulosis, develop infection and inflammation.

A 2014 prospective study of 690,075 women in the United Kingdom suggested that fiber intake can reduce the risk of diverticulosis. However, the study authors clarify that different sources of fiber had different effects on diverticulosis risk.

However, an earlier study from 2012 found that fiber intake had no effect against existing diverticulosis that did not cause symptoms.

It is also not clear through which mechanism fiber reduces diverticulosis risk. More research in this area is necessary.

Reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease

A 2019 study on pears suggested that people with metabolic syndrome who ate two pears per day for 12 weeks saw a modest decrease in systolic blood pressure and pulse pressure. High blood pressure is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Encouraging detoxification

Regular, adequate bowel movements are crucial for the daily excretion of toxins in the bile and stool.

Pears have high water content. This helps keep stools soft and flushes the digestive system of toxins.

A 2015 systematic review of the health benefits of pears suggested that their laxative effect comes from their high fiber and fructose content. Fructose is a naturally occurring sugar that occurs in most fruits.

Fighting free radicals

Pears contain high levels of antioxidants, including vitamin C, vitamin K, and copper. These chemicals counter the effects of free radicals, protecting cells from the damage they can cause.

Free radicals develop when the body converts food to energy and can contribute to cancer growth.

Five reasons to eat canned fruit

24 March 2017

Millennials are always on the hunt for the next food trend, shunning canned food in favour of alternatives like avocado smoothies and seaweed salads. In fact, according to a recent study 75% of 16 to 24-year-olds haven’t eaten anything that comes out a can in a year. Well chuck away your chia and put down those pickled vegetables, tins are in and we have five reasons why!

Food and Drink on Female First

Five reasons canned fruit is cool

Canned fruit is super nutritious – the canning process opens the cell walls of the fruit’s flesh, meaning the nutrients are more readily available to our body. So as pineapple is packed full of potassium, which is known to help ease the effects of a hangover, why not pick up a tin of pineapple chunks and munch away.

You can eat your 10 a day without breaking the bank – fresh fruit is expensive but canned fruit is MUCH cheaper meaning you will have a little more for those cocktails tonight.

Canning reduces food waste – if you’re hoping to save the planet alongside writing essays then remember that canned fruit is one of the most sustainable forms of packaging there is. Can you save the planet? Yes you CAN!

Canned fruit is quick and easy to use – when you’re pushed for time, preparing a meal from scratch can be a little too time consuming, I mean have you ever tried to peel a peach or cube a pineapple?! Canned fruit has been peeled and prepped for you, which means fruity deliciousness is one ring pull away.

You can have more fun with a can – ever made a mini-drum kit out of peach tins? No? What are you still doing reading this?

Five easy ways to use canned fruit

In your smoothie – add a whole tin of sliced peaches to a smoothie to boost your morning mood

On your toast – who says avocado is the only trendy topping – try pear and gorgonzola!

In your curry – mango chicken curry? Dreamy!

In your salad – add tinned mango to your salad for a cheap, light lunch

As dessert – peaches and cream? Caramelized pineapple? French pear tart?

If you’re looking for more recipe inspiration then check out http://www.delmonteeurope.com/recipes

Del Monte’s fruit comes canned in its own juices, so there’s no added sugar, and it’s on offer in ASDA now: 2 for £1.50.

Tagged in fruit

Health Benefits of Peaches: A Delicious Summer Fruit

June 2015

Karen Ensle Ed.D., RDN, FAND, CFCS
Family & Community Health Sciences Educator
Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County

The natural antioxidants in fruits and vegetables help keep your body working at its best, so consuming a diet that meets your daily recommended amount of fruits and vegetables is one of the best ways to give your body a strong defense against disease. Fruits and vegetables are protective to health as they’re helpful at reducing the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and some cancers. They’re also low in calories, which helps prevent obesity … a significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Eating fruit each day — 1.5 cups for women and 2 cups for men, as recommended by the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, benefits your health. Let’s take peaches for example.
Nutritional breakdown of peaches
One raw medium peach (147 grams) has 50 calories, 0.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of cholesterol and sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrate, 13 grams of sugar, 2 grams of fiber and 1 gram of protein. It provides 6% of your daily vitamin A needs and 15% of daily vitamin C needs. One medium peach also contains 2% or more daily value of vitamins E and K, niacin, folate, iron, choline, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, zinc and copper.
Health Benefits of Peaches
Peaches are low in calories (100 g just provide 39 calories), and contain no saturated fats. Nonetheless, they are packed with numerous health promoting compounds, minerals, and vitamins. Fresh peaches are a moderate source of antioxidants and vitamin C which is required for the building of connective tissue inside the human body. Consumption of foods that are rich in vitamin C helps a person develop resistance against infections and helps to eliminate harmful free radicals that cause certain cancers.
Fresh fruits are a moderate source of vitamin-A and beta-Carotene. Beta-Carotene is a pro-vitamin, which converts into vitamin A inside the body. Vitamin A is essential for prevention of night vision issues and for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and healthy skin. Consumption of fruits like peaches that are rich in vitamin A, are known to offer protection from lung and oral cancers. They contain many vital minerals such as potassium, fluoride and iron.
Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that help regulate heart rate and blood pressure. Fluoride is a component of bones and teeth and is essential for prevention of dental caries. Iron is required for red blood cell formation.
So, make sure you are taking small steps to eat sufficient fruit each day. Peaches are now in season across much of the United States are healthy and contain health promoting flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidants including lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-cryptoxanthin. These compounds help to act as protective scavengers against free radicals and play a role in promoting healthy aging and reduction of various disease processes.
Get some peach recipes from New Jersey’s best chefs & the New Jersey Peach Festival Association

5 Health Secrets of Peaches

August is National Peach Month and also the month where Stemilt harvests the majority of its organic peaches from Pasco, WA. I’ve admitted on The Stem before that peaches are one of my favorite Stemilt fruits. There is just something about the sweet, juicy, and slightly tart flavor profile of a tree-ripened, Artisan Organics peach that makes my mouth water. And, it must be hereditary as my son can’t seem to get enough of peaches right now either!

Unlike apples, pears, and cherries, the nutrition of peaches were always a bit of a mystery to me. Once I started enjoying this fruit regularly, I had to learn all about it. In this post, I’ll unveil 5 health secrets of peaches so that you, too, can enjoy this delicious summertime fruit without feeling an ounce of guilt!

Health Secret #1 – Peaches are low in calories.

There’s no need to fear a fresh peach if you are counting calories! One large peach (2 ¾ inches in diameter) has just 68 calories. Eating a peach with oatmeal for breakfast, almonds for a snack, or cottage cheese for lunch are all great low calorie ideas to satisfy a sweet tooth and hunger.

Health Secret #2 – Peaches are a good source of vitamin C and contain vitamin A.

That same large-sized peach delivers 19% of your daily recommended dose of vitamin C and 11% of your daily vitamin A needs.Vitamin C is an antioxidant that boosts the immune system in order to help fight colds and other chronic diseases. Peaches also contain vitamin A which promotes eye health.

Health Secret #3 – Peaches are a source for dietary fiber.

With 3 grams of fiber in one large peach, this fruit can help achieve your daily recommendation of fiber. The average U.S. adult consumes 15 grams of fiber per day, which is well short of the Institute of Medicine recommendations for adults (male adults in the U.S. need 38 grams of fiber per day, and female adults need 25 grams of fiber per day). Eating a fresh peach daily while in season is a great way to get more fiber in your diet. Fiber contributes to digestive health, can help lower cholesterol levels (which is good news for the heart as well), and helps to keep you feeling fuller, longer after eating.

Health Secret #4 – Peaches contain potassium.

Peaches are among the top potassium-rich fruits with approximately 333 mg, or 10% of the daily recommended value, in one large-sized peach. Potassium is a nutrient that helps maintain fluid and electrolyte balance in the body. A potassium deficiency has been linked to chronic fatigue and hypertension (high blood pressure).

Health Secret #5 – Peaches might help fight diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

A recent study by Texas AgriLife Research found that peaches contain bio-active compounds that may help fight obesity-related diabetes and reduce the oxidation of bad cholesterol (LDL), which is associated to cardiovascular disease. The compounds fight metabolic syndrome and were also found in other stone fruits, including plums and nectarines.

8 Health Benefits of Peaches

Peaches are a member of the stone fruit family, along with nectarines, plums, apricots, and cherries. (Fun fact: They are also a relative of almonds!) In addition to being downright delicious, especially at their peak, peaches offer some unique health benefits. Here are eight reasons to get your fill of this gorgeous, fuzzy fruit while it’s plentiful.

Peaches are good for digestion

One medium peach provides nearly 10% of the daily minimum fiber target. In addition to preventing constipation and supporting good digestive health, peach fiber helps manage blood sugar levels. Peaches also contain prebiotics, which feed beneficial bacteria in the gut tied to anti-inflammation, immunity, and mood.

They can boost your immune system

Peaches support immunity in three ways. One medium peach supplies over 15% of the daily goal for vitamin C. Several types of immune cells need this nutrient for their production, function, and protection. The vitamin A in peaches (one medium fruit provides 10% of your daily need) helps form the mucous membranes in your respiratory tract. Stronger membranes form better protective barriers to keep germs out of your bloodstream. Peaches also defend immunity by way of their natural antimicrobial properties.

And perk up your skin too

In addition to their anti-inflammatory antioxidants, peaches have beta carotene and vitamin C to support healthy skin. Beta carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, helps protect skin from sun damage, warms skin tone, and helps create a natural glow. Vitamin C is needed to build collagen, improve skin elasticity, and fend off sagging. Peaches are also hydrating, as over 85% of a fresh peach is water.

RELATED: 12 Creative Peach Recipes

Peaches protect your eyes

The lutein and zeaxanthin in peaches help protect the retina and lens, and have been shown to reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts, two common eye disorders. The vitamin A in peaches also helps support healthy vision. While rare, a true deficiency of vitamin A can lead to a condition called xerophthalmia, which can damage normal vision and result in night blindness—the inability to see in the dark or low light.

They may lower cancer risk

The polyphenol antioxidants in peaches have been shown to inhibit the growth and spread of cancer cells, particularly breast cancer. One study that followed women for 24 years found that two fruits in particular stood out as being protective. A higher intake of berries and peaches was associated with a lower risk of estrogen receptive-negative breast cancer among post-menopausal women.

And help with weight management

Recent research shows that bioactive compounds in peaches have anti-inflammatory and anti-obesity properties. Their ability to help regulate blood sugar and insulin levels, and their filling fiber and water content also make them a smart choice for weight management.

RELATED: 5 Health Benefits of Blackberries (Including the Frozen Kind)

Peaches might promote brain health

Antioxidants found in peaches are known to combat oxidative stress, which is essentially an imbalance between the production of cell-damaging free radicals and the body’s ability to counter their harmful effects. That’s key for brain health, as oxidative stress is known to be a causative factor in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

They’re helpful for blood pressure control and de-bloating

The potassium in a peach (one medium fruit supplies 8% of the daily recommended goal) helps regulate blood pressure by acting as a natural diuretic to sweep excess sodium and fluid out of the body. This relieves pressure on the heart and arteries, and bonus, helps with de-bloat.

How to add more peaches to your diet

Peaches can be enjoyed in both savory and sweet dishes. Whip peaches into smoothies; add to oatmeal or overnight oats; puree for sauces, pudding, or frozen pops; incorporate into pie, cobbler, and other desserts; or enjoy as is. Peaches are fantastic grilled, added to garden salads, transformed into salsa, or slivered into slaw. Unlike cherries, peaches continue to ripen after they’re picked. If you prefer a juicer peach, place it in a paper bag at room temperature to speed up its transformation.

Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, is Health’s contributing nutrition editor, a New York Times best-selling author, and a nutrition consultant for the New York Yankees.

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Grrrrowwwl. What do you when your stomach starts complaining midway through the afternoon or just before bed? Before you visit the vending machine or scour your fridge, you may want to scan the list below.

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We asked our dietitians to name the seven worst snacks for tiding you over between meals. Here’s how they voted:

1. Any baked chips

“They’re highly processed and often so low in fat that you can consume large quantities without ever feeling full! This can increase blood sugar and cause an insulin surge, promoting fat storage,” says Kylene Bogden, MS, RDN, CSSD, LD.

2. Rice cakes

“You think you can eat a lot amount of them since they’re lower in calories,” says Laura Jeffers, MEd, RD, LD. “But rice cakes are often artificially flavored and are really just a carb with little to no nutrition. I recommend a small serving of ½ cup of brown rice instead. It’s much more nutritious and satisfying — and has way less calories, in the end.”

3. Pretzels

“They are a nutrient “zero” and do nothing but put your insulin and blood sugar on a roller coaster,” says Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD. “This, in turn, makes you more hungry.”

4. Potato chips

“Potato chips lack any significant nutritional value, therefore are empty calories in my book,” says Kate Patton, MEd, RD, CSSD, LD. “ They are high in fat, and low in fiber and protein.”

5. Veggie sticks or straws

“They’re like a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” says Anna Taylor, MS, RD, LD. “People think these heavily processed snacks are healthy. But veggie sticks and straws lack fiber and protein, and are practically devoid of nutrients. They may be a bit lower in fat than chips, but why not just eat the real thing — dip raw bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, and grape tomatoes in hummus.”

6. Store-bought smoothies

“Home-made smoothies can be power-packed with nutrients,” says Jennifer Willoughby, RD, CSP, LD. “But grab-and-go smoothies, even from your best local smoothie shop or grocery store, are often jam-packed with added sugar (often, from fruit juice) and calories. You can run up 300-700 calories with this quick “snack,” which won’t keep you feeling full like a good snack should!”

7. Granola/cereal bars

“These are often disguised as ‘healthy candy bars’ and can contain large amounts of sugar with very little protein and fiber,” says Julia Zumpano, RD, LD. “Be aware of ingredients, and read the nutrient label.”

Related: 7 Diet Foods That Kill Your Diet

Stay Away: 10 Worst snacks to eat if you’re trying to lose weight

You’ve probably heard of the detriments of junk food like potato chips, sweetened pastries and chocolate bars, all of which contain trans fat, a big taboo to your health and fitness journey. Perhaps you’ve been trying to lose that belly that’s been hindering your goal towards a bikini body, or maybe you simply want to work towards a healthier you. You’ve probably been substituting these terrible snacks for what you deem as healthy ones, such as apples, yoghurt and granola. But, did you know that these ‘healthy’ alternatives have the potential to hurt you too?

When trying to live a healthier lifestyle, you’ve got to take note of things like sugar content and glycemic index, even if the foods you’re eating may be completely natural or labelled gluten-free. The amount that you end up eating should also be controlled – just because you’re eating healthily doesn’t mean that you can eat however much you’d like! In our gallery, we tell you all about ‘healthy’ snacks that in fact reverse the effects of weight loss if not eaten right. Do be sure to scroll through our list to check if you’re on the right track!

Dione Chen

Photos: Getty Images

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Are there 10 that are probably worse than these? Sure. (In fact, you could probably find 10 things at The Cheesecake Factory that are worse than all of these.) But these are the types of foods—high in some combination of calories, saturated fat, sodium, white flour, and added sugar—that are contributing to America’s obesity, diabetes, and heart disease problems.

1. Pot Belly Pie

Judging by the label, Stouffer’s Large Size (16 oz.) White Meat Chicken Pot Pie has 530 calories, 11 grams of saturated fat, and 770 milligrams of sodium. But those numbers are for only half a pie. Eat the entire thing, as many people do, and you’re talking 1,020 calories, 21 grams of sat fat (a day’s supply), and 1,480 mg of sodium (two-thirds of a day’s worth).

2. Five Fleshy Guys

Think Five Guys is better than fast food burger joints? The Hamburger (with no toppings) has 840 calories and a day’s worth of saturated fat (20 grams). It makes a McDonald’s Big Mac (540 calories) look wimpy. The Bacon Cheeseburger (with no extra toppings) hits 1,060 calories and 30 grams of sat fat. Add 950 calories for the regular fries. A large McDonald’s Fries has “only” 510 calories.

3. Liquid Salt

A typical cup of Campbell’s regular Condensed Soup has 800 milligrams of sodium. But many people eat the whole can, which contains around 2,000 mg of sodium—nearly an entire day’s worth! Look for Campbell’s Healthy Request soups, with 410 mg of sodium per cup (still high if you eat the whole can). Better yet, try lower-sodium soups, like “Light in Sodium” soups by Amy’s, Imagine, and Pacific, and “Lower Sodium” soups from Dr. McDougall’s.

4. Tortilla Terror

Interested in a Chipotle Chicken Burrito (tortilla, rice, pinto beans, cheese, chicken, sour cream, and salsa)? Think of its 1,090 calories, 16 grams of saturated fat, and 2,240 milligrams of sodium as six Taco Bell Chicken Soft Tacos! You can slash the calories in half by ditching the tortilla, rice, and sour cream, and getting the chicken, beans, cheese, and salsa as the toppings for a salad.

5. Tower Trouble Cake

No one expects light desserts at The Cheesecake Factory. But the Chocolate Tower Truffle Cake kicks things up a notch. With its “layers and layers of fudge cake with chocolate truffle cream and chocolate mousse,” you’re staring at 1,770 calories—more than any cheesecake on the menu. And don’t forget the bonus 60 grams (three days’ worth) of saturated fat and 34 teaspoons of (mostly added) sugar.

6. Pizza Padding

At Uno Pizzeria & Grill, the Chicago Classic Deep Dish Pizza piles crumbled sausage and cheese on a thick white-flour crust. The “individual” size packs 2,240 calories (enough for the whole day), plus 48 grams of saturated fat (a 2½-day supply) and 4,400 milligrams of sodium (nearly two days’ worth). You might as well eat three Pizza Hut Pepperoni Lover’s Personal Pan Pizzas. Urp!

7. Triple Bypass

Can’t decide what to pick from a restaurant menu? No worries. You can order not just one entrée, but two…or three…all at once. Olive Garden’s Tour of Italy—lasagna, chicken parmigiana, and fettuccine alfredo—comes with 1,520 calories, 48 grams of saturated fat, and 3,250 milligrams of sodium. Add a breadstick (140 calories and 460 mg of sodium) and a serving of house salad with dressing (150 calories and 770 mg of sodium), and you’ll swallow 1,810 calories and 4,480 mg of sodium (enough for today and tomorrow) in a single meal!

8. Starbucks on Steroids

A Starbucks venti (20 oz.) White Chocolate Mocha with 2% milk and whipped cream is more than a mere cup of coffee. It has as many calories as a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with Cheese. Few people have room in their diets for the 530 calories, 14 grams of saturated fat, and estimated 9 teaspoons of added sugar that this hefty beverage supplies. Can’t say no? Drop the calories to 240 and the sat fat to three grams by ordering a tall (12 oz.) made with nonfat milk and no whipped cream.

9. Extreme Ice Cream

A half-cup serving of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream squeezes roughly 300 calories and an estimated 4½ teaspoons of added sugar into your fat cells, and half a day’s saturated fat into your artery walls. That’s if you can stop at a petite half cup! Häagen-Dazs ice cream is no better.

10. Shakedown

McDonald’s Chocolate Shake (soft serve ice cream, chocolate syrup, and whipped cream) starts at 530 calories for a small (12 oz.). Few people buy an ice cream shake expecting it to shrink their waist, but who would think that a “small” delivers the calories of a Big Mac? A large reaches 840 calories, 14 grams of saturated fat (¾ of a day’s worth), and an estimated 22 teaspoons of added sugar, all blended into a handy 22 oz. cup.

The Worst Snacks for Your Body

To snack or not to snack? That depends on the snack. Done the right way (calorie-controlled, nutrient-rich), snacking can keep cravings in check and up the nutritional quality of your diet. But all too often some of the most common snacks-even the ones that seem healthy-are filled with salt, sugar, excess calories, and even harmful chemicals, according to Tiffany Jackson, ND, and Kate Kennedy, RD, practitioners at Cenegenics Carolinas, an age-management medical practice in Charleston, South Carolina. Here, they share the 10 worst snacks for your health:

Canned Peaches

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Canned fruits and veggies may seem like a great snack in a pinch, but not only are canned fruits (particularly the highly popular canned peaches) loaded with excess sugar, their nutrient content is typically much lower than fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, which are flash frozen at the peak of ripeness.

Canned fruit, on the other hand, has had its flavor bolstered by sweeteners so there’s no need to use the most flavorful fruit, which is also the most nutrient-dense. Even worse, notes Jackson, the cans are often lined with a toxic chemical that acts as a preservative.

Related: Flatten your belly with truly healthy snack ideas! to get exclusive access!

Potato Chips

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This is a triple threat snack if there ever was one. Not only are potato chips high in fat, calories, and sodium (threat No. 1), they are a high glycemic vegetable (threat No. 2), which can spike blood sugar. And finally (threat No. 3), when potatoes are heated to a high temperature, they release acrylamide, a harmful chemical associated with nerve damage. And no, you can’t eat just one.

Rice Cakes

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Rice cakes, while blandly low in calories, are made from processed white rice, which is high in blood-sugar spiking carbohydrates. Plus, many come with flavorings that are loaded with sugar and salt. So even if your net calories are low, munching on these nutrient-void disks is about as healthy (and tasty) as eating Styrofoam packing peanuts.

Blueberry Muffins

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Or, as Kennedy calls them, “sugar-laden calorie bombs.” This popular muffin’s still fools even health savvy people, thanks to its promise of fruit and the fact that, despite the artificial flavorings, added sugars, and ridiculous portion sizes, they just sound wholesome and harmless. Unless you made the muffin yourself, steer clear (and even then it’s better as a treat than an everyday snack).

Granola Bars

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Part of the problem with granola bars is their sheer ubiquity as an afternoon snack-and the organic promise that is on so many of these bars’ labels. Nearly all of them are loaded with processed carbs, dried fruit (which is high in sugar), and held together with even more sugar in the form of honey or even the health-nut favorite agave. Plus, they don’t contain much in the way of filling fiber and are often loaded with calories. Save them for the 10-mile hike.

RELATED: 10 Healthy Peanut Butter Recipes

Honey-Roasted Salted Nuts

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The combo of sugar, fat, and salt makes these very easy to overeat. While there’s also some evidence roasting nuts can deplete them of some of their protein as well, the sugar and salt content outweigh any potential health benefits from the healthy fats many nuts contain.

Fat-Free Yogurt with Fruit on the Bottom

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Unlike nonfat Greek yogurt, which has been strained to give it a thick, creamy texture, regular yogurt just becomes watery and bland without the fat. And when they take the fat out, something’s gotta go back in. That’s usually high-sugar fruit mixture-and a whole lot of it.

Microwave Popcorn

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Aside from all the processed carbs and salt, some microwavable popcorn contains highly unhealthy trans fats (for shelf stability). Plus, the insides of the bags are often coated with chemicals to prevent the popcorn from sticking.

Dried Fruit

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Would you eat seven mangoes in one sitting? Or 12 peaches? Because dried fruit is pretty much just that. Fruit that has been shrunken down and extracted of its moisture-but the natural sugars remain. As Kennedy notes, our bodies are not equipped to consume that much sugar-even from a natural source-in one sitting.

Diet Soda

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Both Kennedy and Jackson agree: Diet soda is the No. 1 worst snack in a can. Why? It contains a potentially carcinogenic chemical, aspartame, which is also linked to neurological issues. Plus, it affects craving centers in the brain, increasing appetite.

To top it all off, diet soda is high in phosphorous; calcium and phosphorous need to be in balance to maintain bone health, and if too much phosphorous is present it can leach calcium from your bones.

  • By Shape Editors

Canned Peaches Are As Nutritious As Fresh. Really?

Canned peaches can pack as many, or in some cases, more nutrients than fresh ones, research suggests. But be sure to skip the added syrup. Matthew Staver/Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Matthew Staver/Bloomberg via Getty Images

I know, I know — I was incredulous, too.

But a new study published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture finds that canned peaches (yes, from the grocery store canned aisle) are as loaded with nutrients as fresh peaches. And in some cases, they pack more of a nutritional punch.

Take for instance, vitamin C: Researchers found almost four times more of it in canned than fresh peaches. In addition, canned had comparable levels of vitamin E and a lot more folate than fresh.

What explains this? The reasons some of these nutrients are higher, says Christine Bruhn, a food scientist at the University of California, Davis, is that the “canning process opens the cell walls of the fruit’s flesh, and it makes nutrients such as vitamin A more readily available to our body.” She says it’s the same reason there tends to be higher levels of lycopene in tomato sauce compared with fresh tomatoes.

Now, it may be true that opening a tin can of fruit doesn’t come close to the experience of picking up a fresh peach from a farm stand. I can still recall childhood memories of peach juice dripping down my arm as I devoured the taste of summer.

But let’s be real. The peach season is short. And fresh fruit can be expensive, not to mention dry or tasteless when it’s not ripe.

So if home-canning isn’t your thing, it may be worth giving canned peaches another try. As the California Cling Peach Board points out, they’re picked and packed at the peak of freshness. Just be sure to buy peaches packed in their own juice, not in syrup, to avoid added sugar.

The study was partially funded by the California cling peach industry (that’s the type of peach used in canned peaches), and the industry is not going to be shy about sharing the findings.

But be assured, says researcher Bob Durst of Oregon State University’s Linus Pauling Institute, the lead author of the research: The peach growers had no say in how the test was carried out. “The experimental design was our own,” Durst told me by phone.

It’s actually fairly common these days for industries to provide funding for studies carried out independently by university researchers.

And to guard against something scientists call publication bias — it’s a well-known fact that favorable or positive findings are published at higher rates than negative findings — Durst says he made an agreement.

“The agreement was that whatever the results were, we would publish what we found,” Durst says.

And one more thing: Cobbler season is coming up.

Will baking these peaches into cobbler decrease nutrients such as vitamin C? It depends. The heat of cooking can inactivate enzymes that degrade nutrient content. So, in this regard, heat is a plus. But on the other hand, cooking also exposes the fruit to oxygen, which can destroy the nutrients. Durst says he’d have to actually test a cobbler to know for sure.

Bottom line: When it comes to peaches, whether they’re fresh, frozen or canned, “all these products contribute to a healthy diet,” says Bruhn, who was not a researcher on the study.

So, eat ’em up.

TheBUZZ : Canned fruits & veggies are nutritious and more affordable than fresh?

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
All forms of produce provide needed nutrients, and buying canned fruits and veggies can be more convenient and affordable.
WHAT WE KNOW

Fresh fruits and vegetables are great value for the price, but they can soon become very costly if you throw them away due to spoilage before you can eat them. Unfortunately, some consumers think that consuming them fresh is the only way to get the optimal nutritional benefits from fruits and vegetables. As a result, a tug-of-war has been created between nutritional value and budget. But you can have both! The key is to have a mix of canned, frozen, dried, and fresh produce always available because all forms of fruits and vegetables matter.

HOW DO WE KNOW THIS?

A recent brochure was developed by Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) outlining why all forms of fruits and vegetables are important and how they all contribute important nutrients to the diet. Canned fruits and vegetables are harvested during peak season and some nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin E, and carotenoids are actually higher in canned fruits and vegetables than fresh produce. This is true, in part, because the mild heat treatment in canned products allows for greater bioavailability of these nutrients and also because varieties cultivated for canning are sometimes more nutritious than fresh, like tomatoes. Cooking does not destroy fiber or minerals either.

A recent study also found that canned fruit (pears and peaches) and vegetables (green beans, corn, mushrooms, peas, pumpkin, spinach and tomatoes) are much more cost effective compared to fresh, dried, or frozen varieties, especially when factoring in preparation time.* So not only are canned fruits and vegetables good for you, they’re accessible regardless of season, there’s no need for refrigeration, and preparation time is minimal. Canned fruits and veggies are an important component of every pantry to help meet the recommendation to make half your plate fruits and vegetables!

OUR ADVICE

Enjoy your favorite fruits and vegetables year round! Canned fruits and vegetables are both versatile and delicious; there are endless ways to enjoy them! Try mixing fresh fruits and vegetables with canned, frozen or dried varieties. For example, add canned garbanzo beans to a fresh greens salad or canned peaches to a smoothie. Stock up on low-sodium (or no salt added) canned vegetables and canned fruit in light syrup or with no sugar added. (Or simply drain and rinse canned fruits and veggies and almost ½ the added sodium or sugar is removed.) You, your family, and your wallet will not be disappointed.

* Kapica, Cathy and Wendy Weiss. “Canned Fruits and Vegetables, Beans and Fish Provide Nutrients at a Lower Cost Compared to Fresh, Frozen or Dried.” Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences 2.4 (2012): n. page. Web. 5 Sept. 2012.
http://www.omicsonline.org/jnfshome.php

Are canned pears good for you?

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