Are SpaghettiOs Healthy? The Real Truth!

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Christina Ross
Christina Ross
I'm a human being on planet earth. I've lived hundreds of lifetimes. In this incarnation I'm here to advance medicine.

A nostalgia for American kids, Franco-American’s SpaghettiOs have been a kid-and-mom favorite since it first launched in the ’60s. 

But 21st-century parents know better than just to let their kids dig into a can of O-shaped carbs bathing in tomato sauce without first knowing if it’s even healthy.

So, are SpaghettiOs healthy enough to become your child’s staple? Or- to become your staple? Let’s find out here!

What Are the O’s Really?

do spaghettios taste good

The main characters in a can of SpaghettiOs are water, tomato puree, and pasta ingredients (wheat and flour). The small O-shaped pasta pieces were a tactic to lure parents into buying them for their kids, who’d otherwise make a huge mess while eating regular pasta.

“The world’s first spoonable pasta” comes in various flavors, including the Originals, the one with Calcium, the one with meatballs, the A-Z – which includes alphabets other than O’s, and of course, the character-themed ones.

You may also like: Are Ritz Crackers Healthy?

What’s with the Texture?

SpaghettiOs has a mushy-gummy texture which can feel a little weird to your mouth. This texture is the canning process in which the dry pasta pieces are cooked in a hefty amount of water. 

Are SpaghettiOs’ Healthy – Why Shouldn’t They be a Regular at Home?

are spaghettios healthy

Canned goods already don’t have the best reputation, especially among health freaks. A single ingredient canned food such as canned tuna, salmon, chicken could still be cut some slack. On the other hand, a can of SpaghettiOs already has too much going on. 

Read below to learn why and when you should avoid this canned goodness.

High Fructose Corn Syrup:

A one-cup serving of SpaghettiOs Originals contains 12 grams of sugar, half of which is just added sugar! 

High fructose corn syrup is used in this food product to obtain a smooth texture compared to what other types of sugars provide. It is affordable, so costs are kept low as well. 

In addition to pushing, you towards obesity and imposing risks of diabetes, large amounts of high fructose corn syrup are linked to inflammation, high triglycerides, fatty liver disease, heart diseases, and even reduced life expectancy.

Soy Protein Concentrate:

Much of the protein in a can of SpaghettiOs with meatballs is sourced from soy protein concentrate. Soy protein may have small amounts of carcinogenic pesticides used in the production of genetically modified soy. 

These pesticide residues are toxic for human health- causing cancer, lowering immunity, damaging reproduction, and/or nervous systems.

Not an Ideal Meal for Pregnant Women:

Pregnancy cravings may take you back to childhood and yearn for a can of mushy tomatoey pasta rings. But the sodium content can make you dehydrated. 

Avoid if You Have Intolerance to Gluten, Lactose, Tomatoes

SpaghettiOs contain wheat and dairy, so it’s a no-no if you are intolerant to gluten and/ or lactose. 

Tomato-based dishes are a major trigger for heartburn. So, if you are prone to frequent cases of acid reflux, the tomato-rich canned pasta isn’t for you.

But…They are Not that Bad!

are spaghettios bad for you

The healthiness of SpaghettiOs largely depends on the health of the consumer. It wouldn’t be wise to munch on a can of salty-fructosey-gluteny pasta with complicated health diseases.

Good Nutrients:

SpaghettiOs are basically pasta, so they are carb-rich. Before you scrunch your nose at the mention of carbs, know that carbohydrates give you and your kid high levels of energy- which you need to function normally.

In SpaghettiOs with Meatballs, the meatballs are made with chicken, pork, and beef. They are a good, quick, and easy protein source- a single container of SpaghettiOs has 19 grams of protein. 

SpaghettiOs also contain healthy amounts of vitamins and minerals that aid in your hormonal balance, make your body resistant to diseases, and increase bone density.

Vegetables enrich the already present vitamins and minerals in your pasta. On the other hand, Grains are sources of nutrients such as fiber, vitamin B, and antioxidants that reduce your risk of several diseases. In 2010, Campbell announced that each serving of SpaghettiOs held a whole serving of vegetables and a full serving of grains.

A single serving (1 cup) of SpaghettiOs has only 170 calories, along with1 gram of fat, .5 gram of saturated fat, and zero trans-fat. 

The Chickens for the Meatballs are Antibiotic Free:

Factory farmed chickens are usually subject to antibiotic treatments. You risk suffering from antibiotic resistance and child development issues when you eat that chicken. 

Canned chicken products are suspected of using chickens raised in industrialized conditions and pose a huge health threat. However, in 2017, Campbell took an oath to source 100% “No Antibiotic Ever (NAE)” chicken for their canned chicken products in America. 

So, you can be assured that, unlike most canned products, the meatballs in SpaghettiOs are not made of antibiotic-treated chicken meat.

Non-BPA Lining:

Bisphenol-A or BPA is a chemical used to line cans to create a barrier between the lining of the can and the food in it so that the metal doesn’t corrode. BPA is linked to diabetes, heart diseases, cancer, infertility, etc. 

Campbell has switched to BPA-free lining in their steel and aluminum cans manufactured in the U.S. and Canada. So, if you’re buying your SpaghettiOs cans from these regions, you’re safe from the BPA fatalities.

Reduced Levels of Sodium:

One major complaint surrounding canned foods is their high sodium content. Initially, SpaghettiOs were no different. But the company that produces this canned delicacy reduced the sodium content in the SpaghettiOs line back in 2009 by 35%.

That’s a lot of reduction. A one-cup serving of SpaghettiOs contains 600 milligrams of sodium, which may still seem high but is considered healthy by the FDA.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do adults eat SpaghettiOs?

Sure, you can eat SpaghettiOs as an adult. But you may want to pair it with a cold drink. 

Are SpaghettiOs high in carbs?

Yes, it’s quite high in the carbs department. You’ll get 11.11g carb in every 100g of SpaghettiOs. 

What do you season SpaghettiOs with?

You can use garlic powder, pepper, hot sauce, and salt to season SpaghettiOs.

Bottom Line

Are SpaghettiOs healthy? They are, and they aren’t. Further, they sure are packed with many essential nutrients, but the food inside is still processed, and the high sugar content overpowers all the “healthiness” of this food. But you can always consume it in moderation and make sure your kid does too.

Furthermore, Campbell Soup Company has made multiple health provisions to its products, making them healthier than canned pasta of competitor brands. Maybe one day Campbell will come up with something to offset all the negatives of the delicious, canned pasta-rings.

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