10 Foods You Can Eat Even if They Are Out of Date

Do you usually throw away food after the expiration date? We tell you what products you could make exceptions in this regard, since they do not present many risks.
10 Foods You Can Eat Even if They Are Out of Date
Saúl Sánchez

Written and verified by el nutricionista Saúl Sánchez.

Last update: 14 July, 2023

There are a number of foods that you can eat even if they are out of date. In these cases, the date on the package specifies “best before”. The organoleptic characteristics of the product are affected, but there’s often no risk to health if consumed.

Of course, it’s essential to distinguish the products that can be consumed in these circumstances from those that must be discarded immediately. If you make a mistake at this point, you can pay dearly, usually with food poisoning that can cause unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms.

Foods that you can eat even if they are out of date

We’re going to tell you what foods you can eat even if they are out of date. However, keep one thing in mind: if you notice a strange smell or color then the best option is to throw them away. Although it isn’t likely that pathogenic microorganisms will develop in them, on some occasions certain fungi can proliferate, whose intake isn’t advisable either.


Jams made from many different fruits or even vegetables can be found on the market. All of them have a common characteristic, which is that they contain added sugars. These ingredients can pose a risk to the proper functioning of the metabolism in the medium term. This is evidenced by a study published in the Journal of Hepatology.

However, as far as the growth of pathogenic microorganisms inside it is concerned, they’re considered safe. Sugar is able to act as a preservative, in a similar way to salt. It’s responsible for increasing the osmolar value of the product in question, which hinders the growth of pathogenic bacteria.

The worst thing that can happen when the best before date of these foods is exceeded is that the taste of them varies. Proteins can be slightly rancid, sugars can be transformed or phytonutrients can be oxidized. The positive effects of these products are likely to be less noticeable. However, all problems remain here.

Even so, it’s essential to limit the presence of jams and sugary foods in the diet. Even though they don’t put health at risk in the short term, they can do so over time when ingested chronically. The excessive intake of simple carbohydrates has an impact on blood glucose levels and the functioning of the pancreas, which can lead to type 2 diabetes.


Sliced bread is another of the foods that have a low microbiological risk. It’s very rare for pathogenic bacteria to grow inside, as there are no suitable conditions for this type of microorganism. Of course, when they are open for too long, or when they are exposed to sunlight, the development of mold can be detected.

In these cases, the product in question should be thrown away. You could remove the affected part and consume the rest, but it poses an unnecessary risk. Microorganisms can spread throughout the food or penetrate inside the food, so it isn’t very safe. Although poisoning by this type of fungus isn’t usually serious, it causes intestinal discomfort.

In the same way as with jams, the presence of sliced bread on a regular basis in the diet is not recommended. First of all, it is a food made from highly refined flour. These ingredients have a significant impact on blood glucose levels. From here, insulin production is stimulated and you end up having resistance to it.

This type of bread could contain other types of highly recommended additives, in addition to sugar. However, they are still industrial ultra-processed products. The most appropriate thing is to have a diet mainly composed mainly of fresh food, in order to guarantee a good state of health.

When introducing bread into your diet, it’s always preferable to opt for homemade varieties made with sourdough and with little refined flours. These may contain resistant starch, a product that acts as a prebiotic by stimulating the growth of microbiota bacteria. This is confirmed by research published in the journal Cell Physiology and Biochemistry.


Among the foods you can eat even if they're out of date is yogurt
The chemical characteristics of yogurt not only allow it to be consumed after a long time, but also favor the growth of microorganisms that are beneficial to humans, while preventing the development of pathogens.

Yogurts are one of the most beneficial foods that can be included in the diet. They have high-quality proteins, vitamins, and minerals such as calcium, essential to guarantee good bone health. They also contain probiotic bacteria, which is why they contribute to the proper functioning of the digestive system.

According to a study published in the journal Current Opinion in Biotechnology, the intake of fermented products, such as yogurt, has a positive effect on intestinal microbiota. Both density and diversity are increased at the bacterial level, thus generating a reduction in inflammatory pathologies or intolerances to many nutrients.

In addition, yogurts are one of those foods that can be consumed despite having gone past the best before date. They don’tt usually contain pathogenic microorganisms, only probiotic bacteria. The worst that can happen is that they aren’t stored properly and cannot perform their functions, or that the taste of the product in question worsens.

However, some care must be taken when choosing yogurts. A large part of them contain hidden sugars, especially those with flavors. These ingredients have a negative impact on the microbiota and on human metabolism. Therefore, it’s advisable to first check the labeling to make sure of the composition of the yogurt.

Recently, a large number of yogurts and dairy products have been put on sale without added sugars, but with artificial sweeteners. In this case, the remedy could be worse than the disease. At the energy level, they are edibles that provide fewer calories, but the safety of these additives isn’t proven in the long term in many cases.

The best thing is always to stick to natural yogurt, without sugar. Another good option is Greek. Although it has a greater amount of fat, the lipids it contains are cis-type. Therefore, they don’t create health problems.


Nuts contain little water. This criterion is decisive in order to know if they can harbor life in the form of pathogenic bacteria. Normally, microorganisms need a minimal concentration of liquid to survive. If the requirements aren’t met, there’s no risk associated with the growth of microbes.

In fact, dehydration is a method of preserving food that is often used to extend its shelf life. For example, it can be put into practice in the case of fruits. Part of the water they contain is removed, so the concentration of sugars increases. Both phenomena make it impossible to develop pathogens that can negatively impact human health.

In the case of nuts, the texture and flavor may change over time, but nothing more than that. They are considered very beneficial products for health, since they provide high-quality proteins and fatty acids. In addition, they’re a source of many essential micronutrients, such as minerals.

Of course, it must be borne in mind that you should always choose natural or roasted nuts. When subjected to the latter process, some antinutrients (substances that interfere with nutrient absorption) are inactivated. However, if the savory or fried versions are consumed, health could be impaired.

All fried food undergoes a transformation of its fatty acids, which go from cis to trans type. The latter are considered harmful to the body, as stated by research published in the journal Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome. They are capable of increasing the risk of developing complex diseases such as diabetes and cancer.

Soft drinks and alcohol, other foods that you can eat even if they are out of date

Both soft drinks and alcohol can be consumed despite having exceeded the best before date. In no case do pathogenic microorganisms grow inside, so there’s no microbiological risk. Only the organoleptic characteristics are altered. However, in some cases the alteration can be positive, taking the example of wine.

In any case, it is advisable to avoid the intake of these kinds of beverages in the context of a healthy diet. Soft drinks involve the consumption of large amounts of sugar, something that damages metabolic health. In addition, fructose that is administered by liquid is especially harmful. There is no type of fiber that delays its absorption, so its impact on blood glucose is greater.

In turn, alcohol is considered a toxic substance regardless of the dose consumed. For years it was proposed that drinking a glass of wine with meals could be beneficial to health, but today it is known that this is not the case. Tannins and phytochemicals in grapes oxidize over time, while alcohol affects the biochemistry of the human body.

It’s best for both products to disappear from your diet, as well as soft drinks labeled as light or without sugars. In these cases, artificial sweeteners are used to generate the sweet taste. However, these products could be really harmful in the medium term. In fact, there are studies that link them to an increased risk of developing obesity.

Pasta, rice, and legumes

In this case, something similar to what we mentioned when talking about nuts happens. Both pasta, rice and legumes are marketed in a dehydrated state. For their consumption they are cooked with water, which ensures the penetration of liquid inside. This allows it to be eaten and enjoyed.

However, when we talk about its commercial form, we’re faced with a product that cannot harbor the growth of microorganisms inside, which is why they’re considered very safe from a health point of view. In fact, they keep for years without significant alterations as long as they are kept in a cool and dry place.

However, when they have already undergone a cooking process, they can get spoiled. Especially from the point of view of taste, since the proteins they contain become rancid, which generates unpleasant organoleptic characteristics.

In the case of pot legumes, we are also faced with a type of food that withstands the passage of time very well. Nothing happens to exceed the preferred consumption date, since they are preserved in a brine that prevents the proliferation of pathogenic bacteria. It should be noted that they do not have additives inside.

Buns and cookies, foods you can eat even if they’re out of date

Most sweets have chemical preservatives that extend their shelf life and ensure that pathogenic microbes don’t grow. Although they aren’t very recommended foods to ensure the proper functioning of the body, poisonings aren’t usually experienced after consumption.

However, the texture and flavor of this type of food do change more significantly than those of other foods already mentioned. This is due to its content of trans fats, sensitive to oxidation and contact with oxygen. If the buns are opened and not consumed in a short period of time, they begin to become hard, which makes them less palatable.

If kept closed, the shelf life of these foods is very long. Even so, it’s preferable that they aren’t part of the usual diet. They don’t provide any quality nutrients. Instead, they’re a source of sugars, trans fats, and unhelpful additives. In addition, their caloric value is high, which can cause excess weight.


Among the foods that you can eat even if they are expired are sausages
Although they can be kept in good condition for a long period of time, a diet with plenty of cold cuts can be counterproductive.

Sausages are considered as ultra-processed foods for the most part. Many of them are made through a smoking process. Others need long periods of healing. Be that as it may, the risk of harmful bacteria growing inside is very low.

Almost all sausages have a preservative additive. Among the most used, nitrites and sulphites stand out. Although these chemicals guarantee their health from a hygienic point of view, they could become harmful in the medium term. There are scientific articles that link their regular intake to an increased risk of developing certain types of cancer.

As a general rule, it’s advisable to reduce the presence of additives in the diet. Many of these compounds are harmless, or even beneficial, but others can be harmful. The problem is that it is difficult to identify them in many cases, since they are named with a letter and a number. For this reason, when in doubt, it is best to always choose fresh food for regular consumption.

Keep in mind that sausages made from red meat don’t have the beneficial properties of this food. However, they do have contraindications. The intake of processed red meat has been associated with an increased risk of developing chronic diseases. However, when we talk about this food in a fresh state, the quality varies considerably for the better.

Tomato sauces

With tomato sauces you have to be careful. While they are closed they last a long time, they can even be eaten after the best-before date. This is because they are vacuum-packed, which makes it difficult for aerobic bacteria to grow. On the other hand, additives are added to ensure the useful life of the product, which has a positive impact on food safety.

However, once opened they must be consumed soon. In this case, they are a perfect breeding ground for the growth of microbes of the genus Clostridium, a series of bacteria that cause serious health problems.

As a general rule, canned tomatoes must always be kept in the refrigerator and consumed within a maximum of 3 days. If you notice any strange smell, it is best to always throw the product away. Normally, when there is bacterial overgrowth, the smell and taste of these products vary.

Packet soups

Finally, among the foods that you can eat even if they’re out of date, we must mention packet soups. They’re widely used, especially among the younger population. They also have preservative-type additives, and remain dehydrated until the moment of use. For these reasons, it becomes very difficult for pathogens to grow inside.

Now, when we talk about soup, it’s best to always opt for homemade ones. Ingredients are controlled, easily made, provide many more quality nutrients, and are lacking in additives.

Foods that you can eat even if they’re out of date

There are several foods that you can eat even if they are out of date. Of course, whenever you have doubts about a specific product, we recommend you get rid of it. If you don’t then it’s possible that a gastrointestinal pathology will develop that could lead to hospital admission.

Keep in mind that, especially during hot seasons, it’s advisable to take extreme measures in terms of food hygiene. In this way, the growth of pathogenic bacteria inside the food is avoided. For example, in the case of pregnant women, an error of this type could put the life of the fetus at risk.

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