No. 848



While it won’t make the canned soup people happy, here is some information I ran across that has caused me to reconsider my soup eating habits.
In an article by Leah Zerbe, titled “The Truth About Canned Soup,” she outlines several reasons why eating soup out of a can is, at best, risky business. Ms. Zerbe is well qualified, as she is the online editor for Rodale Inc., the world’s largest multimedia publisher of advice and information about health, wellness and the environment, and the largest independent book publisher in the United States.
In her article she talks about BPA, something I had never heard of, but is a chemical used in cash-register receipts and some plastics, but also in the epoxy resin liner of most metal cans. The bummer? It’s most likely leaching into your favorite soup, exposing you to the synthetic estrogen-like substance that has been linked to obesity, breast and prostate cancers, and aggression and other behavioral problems in young girls. The amounts of BPA used in cans varies drastically, but an alarming new study published in the Journal of American Medical Association suggests we are ingesting dangerous levels in the hormone-mimicking chemical when we eat soup even once a day.
The study’s authors asked some participants to eat Progresso soup for lunch five days a week, while others ate homemade soup. All of the canned soup eaters had detectable levels of BPA in their urine at the end of the experiment. What’s even more striking is the amount of the chemical detected after downing a can of soup once a day for five days. Compared to those eating fresh soup, the group eating canned soup saw BPA levels jump more than 1,000 percent. Dr. Laura Vandenberg, a postdoctoral fellow of biology at the Center for Developmental and Regenerative Biology at Tufts University in Massachusetts, added that the huge spike in BPA seen after eating canned soup is “unlike anything we have ever seen.” The levels are shocking.
While there is more that I don’t have space to share with you, here is something of a more general nature that we should all know. As our food system becomes more industrialized, more and more farm chemicals are winding up not just on our food but also in the food we eat. Within the last 20 years, chemical farmers have overwhelmingly adopted genetically modified seeds, or GMOs, for crops like corn and soy, two common ingredients in canned soup. These seeds have been genetically engineered to withstand heavy sprayings of Roundup, and when that happens, the pesticide is absorbed by the plant and winds up in your food.
Roundup is used so heavily, in fact, that scientists recently detected it in rain. Constant low-level exposure to the pesticide can cause obesity, heart problems, circulation problems and diabetes, says Dr. Warren Porter, professor of environmental toxicity and zoology at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. The article concludes with some healthy soup tips, namely how to make good homemade soup, which is by far the safest kind. When you do make homemade soup, start with homemade stock. Like soup, it’s a lot easier to make than you realize.
“Many stores sell chicken backs and necks for pennies a pound and, if not, a few pounds of whole chicken wings makes a particularly rich stock.” The bottom line is simply this: Soup is a great food and it’s really a matter of whether you prepare it yourself or get it from a can.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)