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Is Canned Soup Bad For You?



Short answer

Condensed canned soups are detrimental to the human body when consumed on a regular basis. Even those soups labeled as ‘healthy’ are not what they seem.



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Long answer

The idea of condensed soups began in the late 1800’s, by a man named Joseph A. Campbell.  In the years leading up to the Industrial Revolution, these super processed canned soups were portrayed to the public as a healthy way to enjoy a quick and convenient meal, especially when one was sick.  It became known as the go-to soup for those who were sick or just feeling a little under the weather.  In modern day, canned soups continue to gain popularity as a stand-alone meal or as part of a recipe for casseroles and side dishes.

In the era of mass-produced and processed foods, the means by which these soups are made and preserved are sketchy, at best.  Prolonged consumption of these processed soups can pose significant threats to human health. 

The most notable additive in condensed soups is large amounts of sodium (salt).  In a healthy diet, doctors recommend no more than 2,400 milligrams of sodium per day.  One serving of canned soup has an average of 1,000 milligrams of sodium.  Few people consume only one serving since there is a minimum of two servings per can of soup.  Thus, eating one can of condensed soup results in the intake of almost double the daily allotted sodium amounts.  Sodium is well known for causing adverse effects to the body, most notably hypertension, heart disease, hormonal changes, dehydration, and increases risks for gastric ulcerations and cancer.  Canned soups are also known for containing bisphenol A (BPA), which is a chemical use in the production of plastics. The harmful chemical disrupts the endocrine system and has been associated with premature puberty, insulin resistance, reproductive irregularities, heart disease, and uncontrollable weight gain.   

In order to ensure that condensed soups will endure the test of time and remain pleasant to eat, the manufacturing process requires higher than normal pressure and very high process temperatures.  Naturally, this process removes any nutritional value, as well as any remaining taste.  To compensate for the lack of taste, monosodium glutamate (MSG) is added.  MSG is chemically engineered to activate hyper taste sensations in the brain.  The symptoms associated with excessive ingestion of MSG are migraines, abdominal pains, weight gain, liver inflammation and damage to the Central Nervous System. 

Some may be surprised to learn that partially hydrogenated oils sneak their way into soups. Depending on the soup, it may not even be labeled!  The FDA does not require that trans fats be labeled if there are less than .5 grams per serving. You can check the label for references to ‘partially-hydrogenated oils’, as a hint that there are some sneaky trans-fats in the soup.

Boiling a whole organic chicken with hearty organic vegetables and herbs is an excellent way to make your own healthy version of the soup.  Not only will you rest better knowing what is actually in the soup, but rich natural ingredients are no competition for canned soup.

Possible short-term side effects

  • hypertension
  • migraines
  • abdominal pains
  • dehydration

Possible long-term side effects

  • heart disease
  • premature puberty
  • insulin resistance
  • reproductive problems
  • weight gain
  • liver inflammation
  • central nervous system damage

Ingredients to be aware of


  • quick and convenient

Healthier alternatives

  • homemade soup with organic ingredients

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Amy’s Lentil Vegetable Soup

  • Low sodium content
  • Rich in organic vegetables
  • Gluten-free vegan soup
  • Convenient canned format
  • Heart-healthy choice
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by DeeAnne Oldham
Published on: 02-18-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by DeeAnne Oldham
Published on: 02-18-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

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