Do you enjoy adding flavor to your food with condiments and sauces? They can make your food delicious, but many of them are full of unhealthy ingredients. Maybe you think it’s okay, as long as you use them sparingly? Unfortunately even a small amount can be bad for you.
We have investigated some of the popular brands to see what’s lurking inside them. Take a look at the list below and see which of these things you are putting into your body on a regular basis:
Most commercially produced mayonnaise (even many of the brands claiming to be organic) contains the following ingredients:
Soybean oil, or Canola oil; food starch-modified; sugar; phosphoric acid; Calcium Disodium; EDTA
They also admit to containing less than 2% egg yolk and lemon juice.
So the healthiest ingredients make up less than 2% of the product!
The main ingredient in mayonnaise is oil. Take a look at the label on your mayonnaise. You will find that even the “olive oil” and “organic” varieties (like Spectrum organic Olive oil mayonnaise) are made with soybean oil and canola oil. These oils consist almost entirely of poly-unsaturated fats.
Poly-unsaturated fatty acids are extracted from seeds using high pressure and high heat processes. This processing causes the oil to oxidise and plasticize (convert into trans-fat). Newly created trans-fat is dark and smells bad. So it is then bleached and treated with chemicals to remove its odor. Not something you want to be eating, is it?
The grains and seeds which this oil comes from are often genetically modified (GM) and grown using a lot of pesticides. So a high oil content can also mean you are getting chemicals, bleach and pesticides.
Mass produced mayonnaise is loaded with sugar and corn syrup. You might wonder why a savoury food is full of sweeteners? The truth is mayonnaise is just one of many foods that has been pumped full of sugar to make you want to eat more. We have discussed the effect of the various sugars on your body in our article on belly fat and diabetes.
Like mayonnaise, you may be surprised to find out how little of the “real” ingredients are in barbecue sauce. Most Barbecue sauces are primarily made up of sugar in the form of corn syrup. The average bottle of Barbecue Sauce contains the following ingredients:
High fructose corn syrup; tomato puree (water, tomato paste); salt; modified food starch; Water; distilled vinegar; soybean oil (fats); hydrolyzed corn and soy protein; spice; onion powder; dehydrated garlic; artificial tomato flavor (chemicals); natural and artificial flavor; Yellow No. 6 dye; Red No. 40; Blue No. 1; titanium dioxide; caramel color
We have already discussed why soybean oil should be avoided when we looked at mayonnaise. What stands out in the barbecue sauce ingredients list is the amount of food dyes that go into it. The CSPI (Centre for Science in Public Interest) reports that many common food dyes are linked to cancer, hyperactivity in children and behavioral problems.
So if you are wondering why the kids misbehave at barbecues you might want to take a look at what’s inside the barbecue sauce.
In Europe the law dictates that foods that contain dyes need to carry a warning label. In Britain the government has demanded that most artificial colours be removed from foods. Unfortunately the US still allows most of them to be added to your foods and condiments.
If you were hoping that ketchup is a safe bet in the condiment aisle then you are going to think again after reading what we found out. Even Hunt’s “100% natural” tomato ketchup is a culprit. They claim to be preservative free and low in high fructose corn syrup. However, if you take a look at the ingredients you will see that it’s still full of things that are bad for you:
Tomato concentrate; Distilled vinegar; High Fructose Corn Syrup; Corn Syrup; Salt Spice; Onion Powder; Natural Flavouring
As you can see they claim to be “low” in high fructose corn syrup, and yet they have both regular corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup in their ketchup. High fructose corn syrup is an artificial sweetener that is in all kinds of foods. It is corn syrup which has been processed with enzymes. They convert some of the glucose in corn syrup into fructose. What that means is that your ketchup is not just full of sugar; it’s full of all kinds of sugars.
Be wary of any ketchup labels that contain fructose, corn syrup, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, sugar and sweeteners. The average ketchup contains four grams of fructose sugar per table spoon. That makes up about a fifth of the recommended daily dietary allowance for fructose sugars (and that’s if you only eat 1 table spoon!).
Ranch dressing is the most popular dressing in the US, according to Mintel International Group. Long ago it was made using buttermilk and a few other natural ingredients like garlic and spices. Take a look at what’s in the average bottle of Dean’s Ranch dressing today:
Soybean Pasteurized ‘blend’ of skim milk; reduced minerals whey; partially hydrogenated soybean oil; salt; sour cream flavor (cream, nonfat milk, whey, whey protein concentrate; (maltodextrin, cultured nonfat buttermilk (skim milk, cultures); maltodextrin; salt; autolyzed yeast extract; dehydrated onion; natural flavors; monosodium glutamate; sodium citrate; sour cream cultures; lactic acid; food starch-modified; gelatin; dextrose; dehydrated garlic; vinegar powder corn starch-modified; white distilled vinegar); monosodium glutamate; citric acid; sodium hexametaphosphate; locust bean gum;propylene glycol alginate; lecithin; spices; potassium sorbate; guar gum; whey; whey protein concentrate; carrageenan; acetic acid; artificial colors (FD &C Yellow No. 5 (Tartrazine) and FD & C Yellow No. 6)”
As you can see a number of ingredients discussed in the products above are also found in Ranch sauce. In fact, all of them are, as well as a few extras. Ranch sauce contains soybean oil, MSG, food colorants, salt, all kinds of sugars and a host of other terrible ingredients including Tartrazine.
Tartrazine is well known for hyperactivity and behavioral problems in children. It can trigger an allergic reaction in many people. This can cause shortness of breath and in severe cases trigger asthma attacks in those who are prone to them.
The MSG in Ranch Dressing and many of the other condiments listed above is also a real problem. MSG can be linked to depression, headaches, migraines, asthma, brain damage and weight gain. The reason why MSG makes you gain weight is that it is actually addictive! MSG will make you feel compelled to keep eating more and more of the food it contains, even though you aren’t hungry anymore.
Carrageenan is also another ingredient that can be harmful to your health. We have previously talked about carrageenan in our another article – Is Your Almond Milk Safe?
Ranch Dressing and Blue Cheese Sauce
Commercial Blue cheese sauce contains almost exactly the same ingredients as Ranch Dressing, with the exception of a few different flavorings.
Sour Cream should be one of the most healthy and nutritious condiments you can eat – if it was only kept true to natural sour cream. Unfortunately the sour cream you buy commercially is so far from the original thing that they shouldn’t even be allowed to call it sour cream.
Take a look at the ingredients on a popular, commercial sour cream label:
“Cultured Pasteurized Cream and Milk, Whey, Modified Corn Starch, Sodium Phosphate, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Calcium Sulfate, Cultured Dextrose, Locust Bean Gum, Potassium Sorbate (As Preservative)”
The commercial sour cream you buy is made up almost half and half of fillers and preservatives. The “real’ ingredients like milk and cream are often not much better.
For one thing, unless they specify organic, they aren’t. Non-organic dairy usually comes from cows given genetically engineered rBGH (Bovine Growth Hormone). RBGH is banned in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and 27 other countries because it is so dangerous to human health. Unfortunately it remains the biggest selling dairy animal drug in the US. It increases your chances of breast cancer by causing normal breast tissue sells to convert into cancerous ones.
When you are buying any dairy based product you should look for labels that say “rBGH-free”.
As you can see, even the supposedly healthy brands often hide behind clever naming conventions. The best you can do is buy products which are certified as organic and healthy, or make your own condiments from scratch!
Many of these additives and processed ingredients in our foods harm our digestive system, causing inflammation.
If you are often suffering from digestive problems, go to the next page and watch the 3 tips to reduce these digestive-related issues –
About the Author:
Emma Deangela is the best selling author of The Alkaline Diet Program and 80/20 Fat Loss. She has helped over tens of thousands of men and women to lose weight and transform their health with sound nutrition advice.
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