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Reducing Sodium in Canned Beans

Friday, February 08, 2013

I am lazy. Some of you may think I'm not because I cook my meals fresh 6 or 7 days a week, but when it comes to long, drawn out processes like soaking and cooking dried beans. I'm LAZY. Plus I prefer the mushier texture of canned beans when I'm making things like refried beans.

Last night I made tostadas with "refried" beans, turkey sausage, salsa and cheese. I used a can of regular dark red kidney beans, and drained and rinsed them. As I was rinsing them, I was thinking about how much of the sodium I was rinsing away. Canned beans generally are high in sodium unless you can find reduced sodium ones, so I knew between the beans, cheese and sausage this was going to be a high sodium meal.

I did a little search this morning, and apparently draining and rinsing your canned beans can reduce sodium by 41%!

"Recently, at the Institute of Food Technologists Conference, Joshua B. Jones and John R. Mount, both from the department of food science and technology at the University of Tennessee, presented “Sodium Reduction in Canned Bean Varieties by Draining and Rinsing.” Jones and Mount showed that draining and rinsing are effective ways to reduce the sodium content of canned beans. Overall, the draining treatment alone reduced sodium by 36% while the draining-rinsing treatment reduced sodium by 41%. Rinsing beans after they are drained ensures that all residual sodium adhering to the bean’s surface is removed and results in the highest reduction. All brands and all classes of beans tested demonstrated significant reductions in sodium by either draining or draining and rinsing."

That's awesome news! Unfortunately my tracker won't be correct, but I'll know in the back of my mind that I didn't go over sodium when I ate my recipe. Reducing the sodium in the beans by 157 mg, which is good, because they're DELICIOUS. Here's the recipe:

Om nom nom!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    isn't it great that something so simple makes such a difference. and can't you see the people doing the study--rinsing away on beans!
    1859 days ago
    great tip
    1864 days ago
    Thank you for sharing the tip!
    1864 days ago
    Thanks for sharing that! I'm just now starting to realize the whole sodium/weight gain equation. And thanks for sharing the recipe too!
    1864 days ago
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    I generally try to soak dried beans in plain water and let it simmer to get the mushy texture, I mostly do that because I try not to eat anything canned if possible (too many chemicals!). However - there are times when I use canned beans and your information on rinsing away the sodium (and who knows what else) is positively brilliant! Thanks so much for sharing that info!
    1865 days ago
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    The first woo hoo is for the beans! That is awesome info to know!!
    The secon woo hoo is for feeling good about should!!
    The third woo hoo is for just because!!
    1865 days ago
    I have always rinsed beans, tuna and other canned veggies.
    1865 days ago
  • MARTY728
    1865 days ago
    Wow! That is a big difference/reduction! Good to know and I'll definitely rinse them now!
    1865 days ago
    For tracker purposes, how does the drained/rinsed beans compare with the sodium values for the reduced sodium varieties (assuming the reduced version is available as a tracker option)?
    1865 days ago
  • _MOBII_
    Wow! I knew it reduced the sodium, but not by how much! Thank you for sharing :)
    1865 days ago
    The recipe looks great and I definitely will try it myself down the road.

    I'm the same way with canned versus dried beans. I know I need to take the time to cook the dried beans, but with everything else I have going on, this is one area I just have to compromise in. I do the rinsing as well and try to buy low sodium whenever I can.

    I think trying to be perfect in everything we do to maintain a healthy lifestyle is likely a road to failure. At some point you just get so overwhelmed that you just want to chuck it all and have a cheeseburger. At least I do. I'm not saying it shouldn't be hard work...all the more reason to have a sense of accomplishment when you achieve your goals. But no reason to set yourself up for unnecessary stress because you don't have time to cook dried beans or everything from scratch. I think it's great if people have the time for that. But exercise and cutting out white flour/sugar are just bigger priorities for me.
    1865 days ago
    I always buy Mrs. Grimes no salt added black beans and smash them up myself. More fibre and less fat than the refried beans, plus the sodium is puny. That recipe does look delish, too!

    I'm definitely lazy as heck too, despite cooking probably 90% of my meals. They're mostly simple things that can be put together in a matter of minutes. The only long, drawn out recipes I have are crock pot deals - which is even easier/lazier. hahaha
    1865 days ago
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