Is Canned Cranberry Sauce Good For You?

Let's be honest, the sides found at a traditional Thanksgiving table are usually the best part of the meal. Sure, it may be referred to as the "turkey holiday." But the building anticipation is usually buzzing around the mouth-watering stuffing, comforting sweet potato pie, and the lighter than air cornbread.

We love the sides. However, there is one Thanksgiving staple that usually carves out a firm position on the take it or leave lists for family and friends around the table. Enter canned cranberry sauce. A jellied can-shaped mold that adds some acidic tartness to an otherwise very sweet meal. Whether you love the stuff or send it to the opposite side of the table, you might be interested to find out if canned cranberry sauce is good for you or not.

Cranberries contain powerful cancer-fighting antioxidants

First off, we need to point out that there is a difference between homemade cranberry sauce and the canned version. If you make your own, of course you can omit some of the sugar a recipe calls for and not have to add in any extra preservatives.

As for the canned version. As it turns out, you might not be doing too much harm to your health by taking one large spoonful. According to ABC 13, a single half cup serving of cranberry sauce has one gram of fiber and can help promote regular bowel movements. This is absolutely helpful after consuming a meal as large and as rich as the typical Thanksgiving spread offers. In addition, cranberries contain powerful cancer-fighting antioxidants, can help lower your cholesterol, and boost your immunity. However, before you start to put this gooey glob of goodness on a pedestal, there are a few downsides.

The amount of sugar will shock you

Eat This, Not That reminds us that canned cranberry sauce often contains the added chemical BPA, which in some studies has proven to increase your risk for conditions such as ADD, diabetes, and obesity. In addition, we can't ignore the amount of sugar that is usually a large part of a canned cranberry sauce recipe. Take the popular canned cranberry sauce brand Ocean Spray, for instance. According to Eat This Much, a single serving of this canned jelly contains 25 grams of carbs and a whooping 21 grams of sugar. To put this into perspective, a slice of pumpkin pie contains 25 grams of sugar, notes Eat This Much. The mightily rich and sweet dessert has only 4 grams more than this jellied side dish.

No doubt, Thanksgiving is a day to give thanks and splurge. And if you want to add a helping of canned cranberry sauce to your plate, it might be helpful to look for a reduced sugar version or make your own.