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Home arrow Nutrition arrow Healthy Eating arrow Is Canned Chicken Healthy? Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Is Canned Chicken Healthy? Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

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Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
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Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: August 28, 2023
5 min read 1846 Views 0 Comments
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So what are the dietary facts about canned chicken? Is it really the best alternative to traditional processed foods? Find out as we dissect its health factors.

is canned chicken healthy

Picture this. It is a busy or lazy day; you are down at the grocery shop picking items for dinner, but you are not interested in spending the next 40 minutes whipping up some meal for your rumbling stomach. What do you do? If your answer involves canned foods, you will probably be right.

Although we have gotten used to hearing about how we need to avoid eating canned meats, many are healthy enough to incorporate into our diet. Canned turkey, canned tuna, canned corn beef, and canned chicken breast are just a few.

Today, we will be looking to answer some questions about whether it’s healthy to eat canned chicken. Come with us as we set out to find these answers.

Is Canned Chicken Healthy?

The simple answer is yes. It’s one of the healthy, quick-prep meals for you since it offers the same nutrients as unprocessed chicken. For starters, canned chicken breast is an excellent source of lean protein instead of red meat and other processed meat.

Similarly, it contains many essential vitamins and minerals that promote growth, development, and overall positive health.

What Ingredients Does Canned Chicken Contain?

The major ingredients in canned chicken include fresh chicken (typically chicken breast meat, with added rib meat), sea salt, chicken broth, natural flavors, modified food starch, and sodium phosphates.

The presence of modified food starch stabilizes the chicken meat, shielding it against cold and heat during shipping. On the other hand, the added inorganic sodium phosphate is responsible for maintaining the texture, stopping the chicken from turning to mush while canning.

Sodium phosphate, like sodium nitrate, is an ingredient used in cured meat production. Furthermore, the addition of sodium phosphates helps balance the pH of the chicken, thereby extending its shelf life.

Overall, with canned chicken, the key thing is discipline. While it is safe to eat this canned meat due to the level of sodium phosphate present, you still need to consume it in moderation.

How Is Canned Chicken Made?

Very little equipment goes into making canned chicken. You will require a pressure cooker, canning jars, and the chosen ingredient. This protein-packed food is made by:

  • Preparing the chicken
  • Preparing the pressure cooker
  • Filling the canning jar with raw chicken and removing trapped air bubbles before sealing the lid
  • Placing your filled jar inside your pressure cooker and cooking for the specified time

Once you have completed this process, all that is left is to store your chicken for later use.

One great thing about it is that canned chicken is not raw. The canning process involves cooking the chicken to a minimum internal temperature. You do not need to cook it again later as it is fully cooked.

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Similarly, when it comes to whether you should rinse canned meats, the answer is no. The canning process accounts for proper sterilization and doneness. That makes the option to rinse canned chicken or cook it a matter of personal preference.

Nutrition Facts

There is a lot of information concerning eating canned meats and canned food, in general. However, the truth we so desperately need hides within the nutritional value.

The nutritional value of any food is the guideline that determines whether it is healthy or not. For this reason, we will be exploring the dietary values inside a serving of canned chicken.

Nutritional value per 100g

The nutritional value per 100g serving of canned chicken is as shown in the table below.

Calories/NutrientAmount
Calories (kcal)184.8
Net Carbs (g)0.9
Fiber (g)0
Sugar (g)0
Fats (Total) (g)8
Protein (g)25.6
Cholesterol (mg)50.4

High in vitamins and minerals

Much to your surprise, canned chicken is a good source of vitamins and minerals. It contains substantial amounts of vitamin B and D while having traces of vitamin A and vitamin C. These vitamins are important as they help improve musculoskeletal health and cellular and brain functions.

Additionally, this canned food contains calcium, iron, zinc, selenium, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium. These minerals play different roles in developing and maintaining a healthy immune system.

The main thing to watch out for is consuming too much salt. Excess sodium consumption accounts for an increase in blood pressure, which could lead to either stroke or heart attack.

High in protein

Chicken (canned or fresh chicken) is an excellent source of lean protein and amino acids. This makes eating canned chicken great for developing and repairing muscles and tissues.

In conjunction with its calcium content, eating chicken helps maintain bone mineral density, leading to a lower risk of bone-related injuries and diseases.

Low in fats and calories

A 100g serving of canned chicken contains 8.1g of fat and 185kcal, which is quite surprising considering the notion behind processed foods.

The majority of the calories associated with canned chicken come from its protein content. Similarly, the amount of saturated fat is on the low side.

Being low in calories, you can easily incorporate a sensible portion of canned chicken into your weight loss diet. It goes great with some high-fiber foods, like whole grain pasta, brown rice, or even in a sandwich.

High in cholesterol

Canned chicken, just like other types of canned meat, contains quite the amount of cholesterol – an increase in your LDL cholesterol puts you at risk of suffering from stroke and heart disease.

Canned chicken has 50mg of cholesterol per 100g serving, meaning you will have to cut down on consumption to maintain a balanced blood cholesterol level.

High in sodium

100g of this canned meat contains 482.4mg of sodium, which is over 20% of the daily recommended intake. High amounts of sodium are associated with an increased risk of heart and kidney diseases, and can also refrain you from losing weight.

Therefore, you should check the labels and look for no-salt-added versions, or limit the consumption of canned foods in case you’re on a low-sodium diet due to a particular medical condition.

Low in carbohydrates

High carbohydrate and protein intake typically lead to a high-calorie level, which factors into trying to lose weight. With 0.9g of net carbs and 0g of fiber and sugar, canned chicken is the favorite for any low-carb diet, such as keto.

Pro tip: you can use one of the many nutrition or calorie-counting apps to track your intake of all the different macro and micro nutrients and make sure you’re not exceeding or lacking anything.

A Word From Our Nutritionist

The main issue with canned food is that it undergoes intense processing, making it unfit for consumption. However, this does not play into the canned lean meat.

Carb, fat, and calories are on the low side. Vitamins and protein are on the high side. However, what could influence the quality and nutritional value of canned meat is its origin. Organic, homegrown chicken would certainly be a healthier option than the industrial chicken.

Another prevalent issue is about pink, canned chicken being safe to eat. In actuality, even fully cooked poultry can have a pink hue, which does not indicate undercooked. The canned version of it is completely safe to eat as long as it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.

Overall, the main issue remains the sodium content, which is still present in fresh chicken, though mostly when you eat a combination of dark meat, white meat, and chicken skin. When it comes to human health concerns, the benefits outweigh the health risks.

Conclusion

When it comes to canned chicken being safe to eat, the health benefits answer the underlying question. Like fresh chicken and other similar canned meats, grabbing one off the canned foods aisle becomes an easy option and can work well for substituting fresh products that still require cooking.

It also shouldn’t compromise your diet unless you have a particular condition and increased concerns about the levels of sodium or cholesterol. In that case, it’s better to opt for other healthy food options.

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
HR_author_photo_Rosmy
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: August 28, 2023
5 min read 1846 Views 0 Comments
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