When your condiments do more harm than good!

When your condiments do more harm than good!

When your condiments do more harm than good!

Your son is hungry and wants french fries.  Knowing that you want to eat better, you actually go to the effort to cut up a sweet potato, pan fry in just a tiny bit of olive oil and plate it up nicely for him just to watch him then squirt the ketchup all over your creation.  Unfortunately, all your good efforts for better nutrition might have been offset by the addition of ketchup. 

The truth about condiments

Condiments such as ketchup, mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, tartar sauce, ranch dressing, relish, and horseradish sauce actually receive very low ratings when it comes to being a health food choice. The reason for this is the ingredients.  Although some of these may actually include vegetables, the ingredients that make these unhealthy choices include soybean oil or other partially hydrogenated oils, salt and high-fructose corn syrup. 

Soybean oil: This oil, which is typically found in many condiments and dressings, is usually hydrogenated, genetically modified and chemically-processed.  Recent studies have started to show that these types of oils affect thyroid function and can contribute to heart disease and obesity. 

Salt: It is well known that too much salt contributes to cardiovascular disease and strokes.  It is also well known that Americans eat way too much salt.  Any chance you have to reduce salt intake is a chance you should take. 

High-Fructose Corn Syrup: Although once touted as a cheap way to sweeten foods that also extends shelf life, HFCS might very well be a major contributor to today’s obesity problems.  Although the HFCS manufacturers claim that it’s nutritionally equivalent to other sugars, research shows us differently.  Even a moderate amount of fructose in the diet is linked to higher levels of obesity, cancer, dementia, liver failure, tooth decay and heart disease. 

Adding condiments to your dish could sabotage a healthy diet by adding hidden salts, fats and sugars. 

Condiments to Use

It’s hard getting rid of the condiments you’ve used for years.  You’ve gotten used to the flavor, you enjoy the taste and your family just expects it on the table.  But you can change and your family will be healthier for it.  Simply look at alternatives that also provide a lot of flavor without the nasty ingredients. 

Instead of ketchup – try salsa or low-sodium hot sauce
Instead of mayonnaise – try yellow mustard or just a dab of Worcestershire sauce
Instead of horseradish sauce or tartar sauce– try a little horseradish grated and mixed into some high-quality olive oil
Instead of relish – try some cut up pickles with a little bit of onion or even use some pesto. 

Other healthy condiment options include:  hummus, guacamole, tahini, kimchi, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard and herbs and spices, such as cinnamon, oregano or cayenne pepper.

When it comes to condiments, if you really want your ketchup, you could always make your own.  Making your own requires you to do a little research and find those recipes that are both tasty and healthy, but many people find that once they start making their own, they will never go back to store-bought.