The Real Difference Between Fresh & Processed Foods

2:04 PM, May 22, 2013   |    comments
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Colfax, NC -- We always hear about how fresh food is better for us than processed. But what are the numbers?

Registered Dietitian, Katie Boles of Wake Forest Baptist gives us a reality check.


1 cup canned peaches in heavy syrup: 200 calories, 46 grams sugar

1 large raw peach: 68 calories, 15 grams sugar

Katie says eating a cup of canned peaches in heavy syrup amounts to the same amount of sugar as eating 38 Gummy bears.

She went on to show that if you packed your child a fresh peach versus a cup of the canned peaches every school day for a week, you could save them 660 calories and 155 grams of sugar! Think about this, 155 grams of sugar is equal to 39 teaspoons of sugar.

Green Beans:

1 cup canned green beans: 40 calories, 800mg sodium

1 cup raw green beans: 34 calories, 7mg sodium

The average person is alloted 2,300mg of salt in one day. That's equal to 1 teaspoon of salt.  One cup of the canned green beans is about 1/3 of the recommended sodium intake in a day. And that is before you salted the green beans on your plate!


1 cup canned corn: 120 calories, 520mg sodium

1 ear raw corn: 120 calories, 22mg sodium

Yes, the sodium is high here too. But Katie's main point is that corn is a starch/grain vegetable.

  • I will highlight the difference in sodium in this vegetable but the main discussion I want to generate around corn will be that it is a starchy vegetable vs. a non-starchy vegetable. We will go back to the balanced plate discussion to remind viewers that corn will fall on the starch/grain category of the plate. Not the vegetable category.
  •  Remembering to meal plan corn, potatoes and peas as starchy vegetables will help with overall calorie intake and "portion control."



  • I have purchased fresh asparagus and canned asparagus to highlight the difference in TASTE for fresh vs. canned vegetables.  Most people say they don't like asparagus because they've eaten it out of the can. What a difference the taste will be when cooked from fresh or frozen.


Frozen vegetables:

  • I have purchased frozen green beans and corn in case we want to highlight frozen vegetables as another option.  Sodium in these products are similar to the fresh vegetable amount. It is a great way to get in a vegetable without being afraid that the vegetable will go "bad" if purchased fresh and not eaten.


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