Tackling Top 5 Myths About Tomato Products

Tackling Top 5 Myths About Tomato Products

How can something as delicious and healthy as tomatoes be so maligned by so many people? That’s why we’re tackling the top 5 myths about tomato products!

There’s a lot of health and nutrition advice out there on these interwebs. Too much really. One article contradicting the next. It’s long been documented (often) that these ‘influencers’ are usually wrong, but they continue to be widely listened to and shared on the internet. These celebrities, influencers or sports stars that may have wonderful six-pack abs, but in no way should they be considered nutrition experts. We have always prided ourselves in going to the experts for nutrition. We have over 700 academic, peer-reviewed scientific studies hosted on our website, and we work with the World’s top Registered Dietitians to break down the science and nutrition facts about tomato products. To be a registered dietitian you must get a degree from a university in nutrition, often it includes advanced degrees or Masters, and then 1200 internship hours, as well as taking continuing education courses on the latest science and nutrition. These are the experts we go to for our nutrition advice and this is what they have to say about some of the myths right now you may see shared on Facebook from your favorite quarterback, actress, or your Aunt’s neighbor’s sister’s cousin on social media.

Canned tomato products have been around since the canning process was first invented in 1809. Since then, millions of people have relied upon canned tomatoes to capture the essence of delicious, healthy tomatoes when they are at their absolute best during the harvest, so they can flavor their meals with delicious nutrition all year long. So, how can something as delicious and healthy as tomatoes be so maligned by so many people? Tomatoes are constantly being trashed by the media and so-called “health experts”, so we are here to set the record straight on the health benefits of tomatoes!

Busting 5 Myths About Canned Tomatoes

Here are the top five myths on canned tomatoes, and we’re busting each and every one of them.

Myth # 1: Tomatoes Contain Harmful BPA

BPA is an industrial chemical used to make certain plastics and resins, including plastic bottles, and the lining of food cans. Over the past several years, health concerns have arisen over BPA in our food system, as it has been linked with potential issues, such as endocrine disorders. However, the FDA says that our current levels of BPA are within safe limits. And, more importantly, the canned tomato industry has worked hard to remove BPA from the food chain, and it has been virtually eliminated in cans. Bottomline: There’s no need to worry about BPA in canned tomatoes. Read more about BPA in canned tomato products here.

Myth #2: Tomatoes Contain Dangerous Lectins

Lectins are anti-nutrients found in many healthy plant-based foods. Lots of so-called health gurus are warning people to stay away from plant foods we know are healthful—whole grains, beans, even vegetables—because of these so-called harmful compounds. The main reason they can be detrimental is that they can block absorption of other nutrients in foods. In fact, fiber was once considered an anti-nutrient, as it can block some of the nutrients from being absorbed in foods. Now scientists are finding that some of these compounds in the family of anti-nutrients may actually have benefits, like reducing glucose and cholesterol levels. In addition, cooking foods—as in canned tomatoes—helps reduce levels of anti-nutrients in foods. Keep in mind that over 650 human studies on tomato products finds nothing but benefits—not risks—from eating these healthy foods. Bottomline: There’s no need to worry about health risks of lectins in tomato products.

Myths #3: Tomatoes Are Inflammatory

Some would-be health experts warn that eating tomatoes promotes inflammation, which is at the root of many chronic diseases. However, the science doesn’t agree. Numerous studies have found that tomatoes actually decrease levels of inflammation, which means they can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, neurocognitive disorders, and cancer. So, pile on the tomatoes to reduce inflammation. Bottomline: Tomato products decrease inflammatory levels in the body, not increase them.

Myth #4: Canned Tomato Products Are Highly Processed and Contain Preservatives and Unhealthy Ingredients

The canning process means that tomatoes do not need additional preservatives. Because they have been cooked and sealed in the can, they will not spoil. Indeed, canned tomatoes are simply tomatoes, picked at their peak maturity, before they are canned with water and perhaps some salt (though you can buy unsalted varieties, too). Canned tomato products are considered minimally processed foods, in comparison to highly processed foods, like soda, chips, and candy. Some canned tomato products—such as salsa and marinara sauce may contain other ingredients and flavorings, so check out the ingredients label to see what is listed. Bottomline: Canned tomato products are minimally processed, healthful foods with few added ingredients.

Myth #5 Canned Tomato Products Don’t Count as Real Vegetables

Every can of tomato products contains real, farm-fresh tomatoes, harvested at its ripe maturity, before it gets placed in a can in just a few hours—sealing in all of that goodness. The USDA, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and Produce for Better Health Foundation all recognize canned tomatoes (as well as other canned produce) as a form of vegetables that counts as a serving of healthy, disease-protective vegetables that we all should get more of in our diets. In fact, only 9% of Americans get enough vegetables in their diets, so it’s important to fit in more servings like canned tomatoes. Eating more vegetables can decrease your risk of many chronic diseases and obesity. In addition, cooking tomatoes—as they are in canned tomatoes—actually makes the antioxidant compound lycopene even more available to your body, making them a superior source of this nutrient. Bottomline: Canned tomatoes are an easy, affordable way to fit more health-protective vegetables into your diet.

If you see these myths spread online, share with them this post. Start following registered Dietitians online! Their advice isn’t nearly as sexy or sensational, but they know what is really best for your body in the long run. When people stop listening to influencers and their pseudoscience fad diets we’ll all be a lot more happy and healthy.

Contributions by Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN, The Plant-Powered Dietitian, SharonPalmer.com.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Chicken Enchiladas

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Chicken Enchiladas

Dinner is served thanks to this amazing recipe for Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Chicken Enchiladas. Be sure to make extras because they will be gone in a heartbeat!

It’s always a good time for enchiladas.  Is it weird to wrap up enchiladas with little, baby cabbages inside?  I say no.  This is mainly because lately I’ve been living in a Brussels sprouts obsessed phase.  And also because it’s always a good time for enchiladas, whether they’re filled with little green Brussels sprouts or not.  No judgment here.  I accept all the enchiladas.


There’s this thing about crispy oven-roasted Brussels sprouts that just does it for me. Actually oven-roasted veggies in general just do it for me. Oven-roasted carrots with a pinch of sea salt + honey. Oven-roasted tomatoes topped with Parmesan + basil. Umm yeah.

Tomatoes just have this magical way of getting all caramelized and sweet when roasted. A can of roasted tomatoes can do wonders to a plain ol’ pizza crust. Really, tomato anything can do wonders for a dish. Not to mention the powerhouse nutrient lycopene, which tomatoes are bursting with.


I buy a lot of tomato paste.  It’s one of those pantry staples just necessary for life.  So many recipes call for a delicious addition of tomato-y goodness.  Enchilada sauce, pasta sauce, pizza sauce, soups, stews…they all NEED it.  This article on how to save leftover tomato paste has spared quite a few half empty cans of the stuff.


So for this recipe I filled enchiladas with mashed acorn squash, which makes them oh-so-creamy without being super heavy and cheesy.  A little of extra sharp cheddar on top adds plenty of cheesy goodness.  Pair that with the sweet enchiladas sauce and you’ve got yourself a perfect dinner.

Yield: 4-6 servings

Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Chicken Enchiladas



Enchilada Filling

  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked & shredded
  • 1 small acorn squash, sliced in half and seeds scooped out
  • 2 cups fresh Brussels sprouts (~18 balls), quartered
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 12-14 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • ½ cup extra sharp white cheddar, grated

Enchilada Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place acorn squash cut side down. Bake for 40 minutes, or until soft.
  3. While baking, toss the quartered Brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread onto a separate baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring twice throughout cooking.
  4. While baking, make your enchilada sauce. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add in garlic and stir until garlic turns golden brown, about 1 minute. Add in chili powder and stir for 1 minute. Add in chicken broth, tomato paste and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cover.
  5. Scoop flesh out of the acorn squash into a large bowl. Add in shredded chicken, roasted Brussels sprouts, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper.
  6. Now assemble your enchiladas. Wrap your tortillas in a damp paper towel and heat for 30 seconds in the microwave to make them pliable. Scoop ¼ cup enchilada sauce into the bottom of a casserole dish (I had to use 2 baking dishes).
  7. Lightly coat a tortilla with enchilada sauce, add some filling and roll up the enchilada. Repeat until tortillas and filling are all rolled up. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over the top of the enchiladas. Sprinkle with cheese.
  8. Bake at 375F for 35-40 minutes. Just before serving, place under the oven broiler for 30 seconds to get the cheese all crispy.

Kylie is a food blogger and dietetic intern living in Houston, TX.  Her recipes try to make healthy eating something to look forward to.  While healthy eating is important, Kylie is a huge fan of everything in moderation…including moderation.  You can connect with Kylie on instagramtwitterfacebookbloglovin or pinterest.