Canned Fruits And Vegetables Improve Americans' Diets, Without Impacting Weight Or Sodium Intake

PITTSBURGH, Dec. 2, 2015 -- Research published online today in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics provides insight into the role of canned fruits and vegetables in a healthy diet. This new data comes during a crucial time, as U.S. children and adults fall short of meeting fruit and vegetable requirements set forth in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

The study analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2001-2010, which includes information on the eating habits of 41,800 American children and adults. According to the research, those who ate canned fruits and vegetables had greater overall fruit and vegetable consumption, better diet quality and increased nutrient intake compared to kids and adults who did not eat canned fruits and vegetables.[1]


  • Ate 17 percent more total vegetables
  • Ate 19 percent more total fruits
  • Had a diet lower in overall dietary fat
  • Consumed 7 percent more dietary fiber and 5 percent more potassium
  • Had overall better diet quality
  • Had similar sodium and added sugar intakes
  • Had comparable body weight and body mass indexes.


  • Ate 22 percent more total vegetables
  • Ate 14 percent more total fruits
  • Had a diet lower in overall dietary fat
  • Consumed 3.7 percent more protein; 7.7 percent more fiber; 5.8 percent more potassium; 5 percent more calcium; and 11.3 percent more vitamin A
  • Had the same sodium and added sugar intakes
  • Had comparable body weight and body mass indexes.

"With the imminent release of 2015 Dietary Guidelines, it's clear that Americans' primary nutrition challenge is not eating enough fruits and vegetables and key nutrients they provide," researcher Marjorie Freedman, MS, PhD, says. "This study highlights the importance of incorporating all forms of fruits and vegetables, including canned varieties, into one's diet for optimal health."

"When the diets of adults and children included canned fruits and vegetables, their overall intake of these healthful foods increased. Furthermore, sodium and added sugar levels did not increase among those who ate canned produce, which is great news," Dr. Freedman added.

In addition to eating more total fruits and vegetables, adults who ate canned varieties also saw an increase in the amount of dietary fiber and potassium. According to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Report, which will form the basis of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines, both fiber and potassium are "nutrients of concern" for American adults. This means intake of these nutrients is insufficient enough for them to be a public health concern. Dietary fiber may help reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes. Potassium is important in lowering blood pressure and may help reduce the risks of kidney stones and bone loss in adults.[2]

Eating all forms of fruits and vegetables, including canned, appears to be especially beneficial for children as nine out of ten are not eating enough vegetables and six out of ten do not eat enough fruit.[3] In addition to eating more fruits and vegetables, the analysis showed children who ate canned fruits and vegetables also consumed a diet higher in nutrients necessary for optimal growth and development, including protein, vitamin A, calcium and potassium. They also ate more fiber and less fat.

"As a parent, I want my family to get the fruits and vegetables they need. Knowing all forms count makes it easier to put nutritious food choices on the table," says Rich Tavoletti, Executive Director of the Canned Food Alliance. "This study shows incorporating canned varieties can result in a more nutritious diet overall, which is terrific news for families, schools and other establishments looking to take advantage of the convenience, versatility and great taste of canned foods."

For more information about the research, funded by the Canned Food Alliance, visit

About Marjorie Freedman, PhD
Marjorie Freedman, MS, PhD, is an associate professor at San Jose State University. She received her degrees from the University of California at Davis, and has worked in the field of nutrition for almost 30 years. Prior to joining SJSU, Dr. Freedman had experience working in the food industry, for a non-profit educational company, and as a nutrition consultant for private organizations and individuals.

About the Canned Food Alliance
The Canned Food Alliance, a National Strategic Partner of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, is a consortium of steelmakers, can manufacturers, food processors and affiliate members. For more information about canned food research, facts, resources, the canning process, family mealtime solutions, recipes that use canned foods and more, visit or follow us on Facebook at Canned Food Alliance or on Twitter @CannedFoodFan.

[1] Freedman MR, Fulgoni V. Canned Vegetable and Fruit Consumption Is Associated with Changes in Nutrient Intake and Higher Diet Quality in Children and Adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2001-2010. JAND 2015;

[2] 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Scientific Report

[3] CDC Vital Signs Report