Dr. Andrea Middleton - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Andrea Middleton

Is Del Monte Foods Bad For You?



Short answer

While Del Monte products can be part of a healthy diet, it’s vital to choose options with lower sodium and added sugars. Canned fruits in heavy syrup and certain vegetable products have high sugar and sodium content, respectively. No-salt-added vegetables and fruits canned in water or juice are healthier choices. BPA-lined cans raise concerns; however, the company is transitioning to BPA-free packaging. The nutrient value varies across fresh, frozen, and canned; hence, reading labels is key to making healthier dietary choices with Del Monte Foods.



Long answer

Assessment of Del Monte Product Ingredients and Nutritional Value

Navigating the landscape of packaged foods can often be a minefield for those conscious about their health. Del Monte, a brand that offers a wide array of canned fruits and vegetables, is a staple in many households. To provide a clear understanding of what goes into their products, a thorough assessment of their ingredients and nutritional value is warranted.

Canned Fruits: Del Monte's canned fruits are often packed with vitamin C and fiber, essential nutrients to any balanced diet. However, it's crucial to distinguish between fruits canned in water, 100% fruit juice, light syrup, or heavy syrup – the latter options can greatly increase the sugar content per serving. For example, while fruit canned in water or juice adds minimal sugar, a similar serving in heavy syrup can contain as much as 20 grams of added sugars.

Canned Vegetables: When it comes to vegetables, Del Monte preserves essential vitamins and minerals through the canning process. However, the sodium content is a point of concern for many health experts. Some canned vegetables can contain upward of 300 mg of sodium per half-cup serving. Opting for the no-salt-added versions of these vegetables can mitigate this issue, which aligns with the American Heart Association's guidelines to limit sodium intake.

Fruit Snack Cups and Chilled Products: Del Monte also offers items like plastic fruit cups and chilled fruit snacks. These often contain preservatives such as ascorbic acid and calcium chloride to ensure freshness and texture, having a neutral impact on health when consumed in regular amounts. Nonetheless, these fruit snacks may also be a source of added sugars, contributing to the daily limit recommended by the World Health Organization.

Tomato Products: The tomato-based products from Del Monte, such as sauces and ketchups, come with healthful antioxidants like lycopene. However, scrutiny is advised regarding added sugars and sodium. A serving of ketchup, for instance, can contain around 160 mg of sodium and 4 grams of sugar, which can add up if not moderated.

Del Monte emphasizes non-GMO and no artificial flavors or preservatives across their product ranges, echoing consumer demand for more natural ingredients. However, the inclusion of some BPA-lined cans has raised health concerns, despite the company's ongoing shift towards BPA-free alternatives.

Reviewing nutritional labels reveals that Del Monte products can indeed be part of a healthy diet, but it is essential to consider variations between different products and choose those with lower amounts of sodium and added sugars.

Let's look at a brief nutritional comparison:

Product Serving Size Calories Sugar Sodium Fiber
Fruit Canned in Water 1 cup 60 0g (natural sugars only) 10mg 2g
Fruit Canned in Heavy Syrup 1 cup 200 20g (added sugars) 10mg 2g
No-Salt-Added Canned Vegetables 1/2 cup 30 0g 15mg 2g
Regular Canned Vegetables 1/2 cup 30 0g 300mg 2g

In conclusion, a discerning eye towards ingredients and nutritional panels is the key to incorporating Del Monte products into a diet that aligns with health guidelines. It’s also advisable to supplement these convenient options with fresh produce to ensure a diverse and balanced dietary intake.

The Role of Added Sugars and Syrups in Del Monte Foods

Del Monte Foods, known for producing canned fruits and vegetables, often includes added sugars and syrups in their products. These ingredients are used to enhance flavor, color, and texture, as well as to act as a preservative to extend shelf life. However, the impact of added sugars and syrups on health is a growing concern among nutrition experts and health-conscious consumers.

Added sugars and syrups contribute to the total caloric content of foods without providing any essential nutrients, a concept known as "empty calories." The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting calories from added sugars to less than 10 percent of total daily calories. Exceeding this can lead to weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and dental caries.

When examining the nutritional labels of Del Monte products, it's evident that some contain significant amounts of added sugars and syrups. For example, a serving of Del Monte's peaches in heavy syrup can contain upwards of 20 grams of added sugar. This is approximately 80 percent of the daily recommended limit for added sugars based on a 2,000-calorie diet, according to guidelines set by the American Heart Association.

Types of Sugars and Syrups in Del Monte Products:

  • High Fructose Corn Syrup: Often used because it's less expensive and sweeter than sucrose.
  • Corn Syrup: Adds volume and soft texture to the food.
  • Sugar (Sucrose): Used to enhance the natural sweetness of fruits.
  • Fruit Juice Concentrates: May be perceived as healthier, but they are still a form of sugar.

It is important to note that the human body does not differentiate between naturally occurring sugars found in fruits and added sugars when it comes to metabolism. However, fruits in their whole form offer fiber, vitamins, and minerals, which can offset the negative effects of sugar. In contrast, canned fruits with added sugars do not offer these compensatory nutrients in significant amounts.

Health Impact of Regular Consumption of Added Sugars:

Health Concern Explanation
Weight Gain Added sugars contribute to excess calorie intake, which can lead to weight gain and obesity.
Type 2 Diabetes Regular consumption of high-sugar foods can lead to insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes.
Cardiovascular Disease Studies have shown a link between high sugar intake and increased risk of heart disease.
Dental Health Issues Sugars are major contributors to tooth decay and other dental problems.

For individuals concerned with their sugar intake, Del Monte offers a range of "No Sugar Added" or "100% Juice" products as alternatives. Reading the nutrition facts and ingredient list remains a vital habit when selecting canned fruits and assessing the nutritional quality of these products.

In conclusion, the presence of added sugars and syrups in Del Monte products can have detrimental health effects when consumed in excess. It's imperative for consumers to be mindful of their overall sugar intake and to consider less processed alternatives that retain the natural nutrients of fruits without additional sweeteners.

Exploring Preservatives and Additives in Canned Goods

When discussing the health implications of consuming canned goods from brands like Del Monte Foods, it's imperative to consider the preservatives and additives often used to ensure product safety and prolong shelf life. These substances are typically integrated into canned items to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria, yeast, and molds, as well as to maintain the nutritional quality and flavor of the food.

One common preservative used in canned goods is sodium benzoate, which is effective at inhibiting the growth of microorganisms. However, it can form benzene, a known carcinogen, when combined with vitamin C (ascorbic acid) under certain conditions. The FDA regulates the concentration of sodium benzoate in foods to minimize this risk.

Another often-used class of preservatives in canned foods includes sulfites, which can provoke allergic reactions and asthmatic attacks in sensitive individuals. People with sulfite sensitivity should diligently check food labels before consuming such products.

Additionally, the presence of Bisphenol A (BPA) in the lining of some canned goods has raised health concerns. BPA is an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics and resins since the 1960s, and its potential to act as an endocrine disruptor has been widely studied and debated. BPA can leach into food from the can's lining, and while the FDA currently considers it safe at very low levels, ongoing research may provide further insight into its long-term effects.

Let's take a closer look at certain additives that are frequently found in canned products:

  • Calcium chloride – Often used to maintain firmness in canned vegetables, it is safe for consumption at the levels used in foods.
  • Citric acid – A natural preservative that also adds a slightly sour taste to canned goods. It's generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the FDA.
  • Added sugars – While not preservatives, added sugars can appear in canned fruits and are associated with various health issues when consumed in high amounts, such as weight gain and an increased risk of chronic diseases.
  • Artificial colors and flavors – These may be added to certain products to enhance visual appeal and taste, though their health impact is debated and may vary among individuals.

For those concerned about preservatives and additives, it's advised to seek out canned goods labeled as "preservative-free" or "no added preservatives". Del Monte Foods, for example, offers certain products with these claims. It's also worthwhile to look for items that use alternative preservation methods, such as vacuum packing, which can decrease the need for certain additives.

Experts suggest reading labels thoroughly and opting for products with shorter ingredient lists, as this can often indicate fewer additives and preservatives. Choosing fresh or frozen options when possible may also be a preferable alternative for those looking to minimize their intake of these substances.

To provide a well-rounded perspective on preservatives and additives in canned goods, referencing studies is essential. For instance, a study published in the Food and Chemical Toxicology journal examined the effects of sodium benzoate on human health, concluding that while generally safe at regulated levels, it warranted further research due to potential adverse effects at higher concentrations (Food Chem. Toxicol., 2015). Another study in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition demonstrated that BPA exposure might be associated with obesity and insulin resistance (J Am Coll Nutr., 2015).

Consulting with a healthcare provider or a registered dietitian is recommended for individuals with specific health concerns or dietary restrictions related to preservatives and additives in canned goods.

Comparing Fresh, Frozen, and Canned: Del Monte's Nutrient Retention

When weighing the health implications of Del Monte products, understanding the differences between fresh, frozen, and canned varieties is essential. Nutrient retention is a critical factor in this comparison, as the form in which we consume our fruits and vegetables can have a significant impact on their nutritional value.

Fresh Produce: The general belief is that fresh fruits and vegetables are the gold standard for nutrient content. However, not all "fresh" produce is equal. It largely depends on the time elapsed since harvesting. The longer the time after harvest, the more nutrients such as vitamin C and certain B vitamins can degrade. Del Monte's fresh produce, when eaten promptly, should contain high nutrient levels, provided it has been handled and stored properly. Yet, the journey from farm to table can be lengthy, and without proper temperature control and rapid consumption, this decline in nutrient quality can be significant.

Frozen Produce: Freezing is a method known to preserve the high content of vitamins and minerals in fruits and vegetables. Del Monte's frozen products are often flash-frozen shortly after harvest, which helps to lock in a considerable amount of nutrients. Scientific research indicates that frozen produce can rival or surpass the nutrient content of their fresh counterparts, especially if those 'fresh' products have been stored for a long time. For instance, a study in the Journal of Food Composition and Analysis concluded that the levels of vitamin C, β-carotene, and folate in some frozen fruits and vegetables were higher compared to fresh-stored produce (Rickman et al., 2007).

Canned Produce: Canning involves heating the produce to kill bacteria and seal it in airtight containers, which can lead to a loss of some heat-sensitive nutrients during processing and storage. Nevertheless, canned fruits and vegetables can still be a part of a healthy diet. They have a long shelf-life and may be more accessible than fresh options, particularly when certain produce is out of season. Del Monte, for instance, takes steps to preserve the nutritional quality by minimizing the time from harvest to canning. However, it's fundamental to consider that some canned produce may contain added sugars or sodium, which could have health implications if consumed in excess.

Here's a comparison of nutrient retention in Del Monte products:

Nutrient Fresh Frozen Canned
Vitamin C High (degrades over time) High (preserved) Low to medium (some loss during canning)
B Vitamins Medium to high (degrades over time) High (preserved) Low to medium (some loss during canning)
β-carotene High High Medium (some loss during canning)
Folate High High Low to medium (affected by canning process)
Minerals High High (well-preserved) Medium to high (generally well-preserved)

To sum up, whether fresh, frozen, or canned, Del Monte products offer various levels of nutrient retention that are contingent on the preservation method used. Each form has its pros and cons, but all can be a part of a balanced diet. It's important for consumers to consider the preparation method, storage time, and added ingredients when determining the nutritional value of these products in their diet.

Salt Content in Del Monte Foods and Health Implications

Salt, scientifically known as sodium chloride, plays an essential role in human health by regulating blood pressure and supporting nerve and muscle function. However, the impact of salt on health is largely dependent on the amounts consumed. Processed foods, like some offerings from Del Monte Foods, can be significant contributors to dietary salt intake. While Del Monte Foods provides a variety of products, it's crucial to scrutinize the salt content in their canned goods, which often contain added salt for preservation and flavor enhancement.

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the recommended daily limit for sodium intake is less than 2,300 milligrams for adults. Yet, the average American consumes more than 3,400 milligrams daily, mainly from processed and prepared foods. High consumption of salt can lead to increased blood pressure, which is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. The CDC reports that heart disease and stroke are leading causes of death in the United States, indicating the importance of monitoring salt intake.

Del Monte Foods offers products like canned vegetables, fruits, and sauces, which vary in sodium content. For example, a serving size of Del Monte Canned Fresh Cut Green Beans contains around 380 milligrams of sodium, which is about 16% of the recommended daily limit. When considering the addition of such products to your diet, it's essential to check the product labels for sodium content and consider the following:

  • Portion Size: Acknowledge the serving size on the label and calculate how much sodium is consumed per serving. A can may contain multiple servings, potentially leading to excessive sodium intake if not accounted for.
  • Low-Sodium Options: Opt for low-sodium or no-salt-added versions when available. Some of Del Monte's products offer these alternatives, helping manage sodium intake without forgoing convenience.
  • Dietary Balance: Incorporate fresh or frozen produce, which typically contains less sodium than canned options, to balance overall salt intake throughout the day.
  • Dilution Method: Draining and rinsing canned vegetables can reduce their sodium content, although this may also decrease some water-soluble vitamins.

Further examining the impact on health, a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology highlighted a strong association between high sodium intake and increased risk of cardiovascular disease. The study suggests that reducing sodium consumption can lead to significant health benefits and a decrease in mortality related to heart conditions.

Understanding sodium's role in health and being aware of the salt content in processed foods is crucial. By carefully selecting and preparing Del Monte Foods products, consumers can enjoy the convenience and flavor they offer while effectively managing their salt intake and reducing potential health risks.

Contribution of Del Monte Foods to a Balanced Diet

Understanding the role of Del Monte Foods in a balanced diet requires a closer look at their product range and nutritional profiles. Del Monte offers a wide variety of canned fruits, vegetables, and other products such as sauces and condiments. The contribution of these items to a balanced diet hinges on their nutrient content, processing methods, and the presence of any additives.

When considering canned fruits and vegetables, it's important to recognize their potential benefits. These products can be a convenient and affordable way to increase one's intake of these food groups, especially when fresh produce is out of season or not easily accessible. Furthermore, the canning process can preserve certain nutrients, such as vitamins A and C, for longer periods than fresh counterparts, which might degrade more rapidly after harvest.

However, it's essential to scrutinize the nutritional labels on Del Monte products. Some canned fruits may be packed in heavy syrups, adding unnecessary sugars to one’s diet. Conversely, canned fruits in water or their own juices and canned vegetables with no added salt can be a healthier choice, aligning more closely with dietary guidelines that recommend limiting added sugars and sodium.

  • Canned fruits: Look for options that are labeled as "packed in water," "packed in 100% fruit juice," or "no added sugar" to avoid excess sugar intake.
  • Canned vegetables: Choose "no-salt-added" or "low-sodium" options to control sodium intake, and consider draining and rinsing to further reduce sodium levels.
  • Sauces and condiments: Examine labels for additives, preservatives, and high levels of sugar or sodium, which may detract from their nutritional value.

Sometimes, Del Monte products might include added vitamins and minerals, which can help in achieving recommended nutrient intakes. For instance, certain products are fortified with vitamins like vitamin C to enhance their nutritional profile. This fortification can contribute positively to a balanced diet, especially for individuals with specific nutritional deficiencies.

It's worth noting that the fiber content in canned vegetables and fruits can vary. While the canning process can reduce fiber content to some extent, canned varieties still contribute to one's daily fiber intake, aiding in digestive health. Opting for whole fruits and vegetables over juiced or sauced counterparts can help maximize fiber consumption.

Ultimately, while Del Monte Foods can play a part in a balanced diet, the key is to choose wisely within their product range, focusing on those items that are closest to their natural state and with the least additives. Dietary balance is best achieved when these canned goods are consumed alongside a variety of other foods, including whole grains, lean proteins, and fresh produce when available.

For those looking to include Del Monte Foods in their diets, the American Heart Association and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans offer sound advice on making informed choices that align with health goals. Consulting these guidelines can help identify which products may contribute to a healthier dietary pattern.

Frequently asked questions

The fiber content can vary slightly among fresh, frozen, and canned vegetables. Fresh and frozen vegetables typically have similar fiber content, as freezing preserves the fiber. Canned vegetables still contribute to daily fiber intake but might have a slightly reduced fiber content due to the canning process, which can break down some fiber structures.

Consumers should read the labels and choose Del Monte products with short ingredient lists, as these often indicate fewer additives and preservatives. They can also look for products labeled 'preservative-free,' 'no added preservatives,' 'no sugar added,' or '100% juice', which suggests minimal processing and fewer added substances.

Fresh Del Monte fruits generally contain higher levels of vitamin C immediately after harvest, but this nutrient degrades over time. Canned fruits may have lower vitamin C due to the canning process involving heat, which can destroy some of the vitamin. However, canned fruits have a more consistent vitamin C content over time due to the sealing and preservation process.

To reduce the sodium content in Del Monte canned vegetables, consumers can opt for 'no-salt-added' or 'low-sodium' versions. Additionally, draining and rinsing the vegetables before consumption can help wash away some of the added salt, though this may also remove some water-soluble vitamins.

Ask a question about Del Monte Foods and our team will publish the answer as soon as possible.

Possible short-term side effects

  • increased blood pressure
  • weight gain

Possible long-term side effects

  • obesity
  • type 2 diabetes
  • heart disease
  • dental caries
  • potential carcinogen exposure
  • allergic reactions
  • asthma attacks
  • heart conditions

Ingredients to be aware of


  • source of vitamin c and fiber
  • preserves essential vitamins and minerals
  • healthful antioxidants like lycopene

Healthier alternatives

  • no-sugar-added products
  • 100% juice products
  • fresh produce
  • vacuum packed canned goods
  • low-sodium or no-salt-added canned vegetables
  • products labeled 'preservative-free'

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 01-02-2024

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 01-02-2024

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