Food Topics

Pour Some Mustard on Me: How Condiments Can Affect Your Health

Special thanks to my sister for suggesting this post!

Maybe now that the term is done, I can finally get back to making blog posts, instead of working on research papers, or studying for and taking finals…

Many people add condiments to their food to make it taste better.  Some common examples of this are ketchup and fries, mustard and hot dogs, or ranch dip and vegetables (oh look, a healthier example!).  So, let’s assume that nobody reading this knows what condiments are.  A condiment, as defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary, is something added to food to make it have more flavor.  Examples they gave include ketchup, mustard, and salt.  Now we all know what condiments are, how do they impact our health?

For starters, you might not be aware of what is IN your condiment of choice.  Foods like ketchup might have high fructose corn syrup.  Now, the jury is out on whether it is more or less harmful for you than normal table sugar, but regardless, this brand has added sugar to their recipe.  Mayonnaise is high in Calories due to the fact it has a lot of fat.  Some of these fats are from saturated fat, which is debated as to whether it is of concern or not.  Shoyu (soy and wheat) sauce is pretty popular where I am from when you get something like sushi.  However, shoyu is high in sodium, as in one tablespoon has approximately 36% of your daily allotment of sodium!

So, what can be done to help counteract some of these negative impacts that common condiments have?  One can be to use less.  Reducing the amount used is obviously a way to reduce the amount of the potentially harmful compounds.  Another way is to find different products available on the market.  For example, there is reduced sodium soy sauce available.  While it is still high in sodium per tablespoon, there is less.  Other ketchups might not have high fructose corn syrup, if that is something of concern.  Be sure to read the ingredients panel.  Using plain yogurt might also be a good substitute for mayonnaise, since it has reduced fat, and any sugars in it would be natural (again, read the label for any alternative sugar names).

So what do you guys think?  Any extra advice for improving condiments?  Anything I missed?  Feel free to comment!

By The Nutrition Punk

I am a dietitian living in Portland, Oregon. I write about a variety of nutrition and heath topics, with the goal of improving people's understanding of food and nutrition so they may be empowered against all the misinformation that is out there.

2 replies on “Pour Some Mustard on Me: How Condiments Can Affect Your Health”

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