High-Calorie Condiments (and Healthier Alternatives)
Allison Ford | DivineCaroline
March 02, 2011
I just had a healthy-eating wake-up call.
After purchasing a few sessions with a trainer at my gym, I started writing down what I was eating. When I proudly showed up with my dutifully recorded log of healthy meals, I was expecting praise and maybe even a congratulatory high-five for my smart eating choices. After Sarah, my trainer, quickly tracked her finger down my neatly typed pages, she looked up at me and said, “Let’s talk about condiments.” Turns out, as she quickly explained, my seemingly innocent squirts and scoops were quietly adding on hundreds of calories to all of my meals.
In hopes of becoming better informed about what I put in my body, I took a closer look. All it takes is a glance down the grocery aisles to confirm that we’re a condiment-crazed culture. From breakfast to dinner, and all our sips and nibbles in between, how much are these seemingly harmless add-ons really adding up?
The Truth is in the Numbers
Not all savory and sweet additions are a bad choice, but the truth is that most of our average condiments pack huge amounts of high-fructose corn syrup, sugar, sodium, and oil. Think barbecued chicken is a healthy choice? Not exactly. Because the sauce is pretty much all sugar, this slathered dish is like a dessert and an entrée all wrapped up on one high-calorie plate. Added sugar and any chemical-sounding ingredients on an item’s label are sure signs that a condiment is inching an entrée toward the dessert category. Health-food stores usually have versions of ketchup, barbecue sauce, and all our other usual favorites sans these icky additions.
Whatever your condiment of choice—fries smothered in ketchup, salad drenched in dressing, toast soaked in butter—you won’t be dunking recklessly anymore if you read on.