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Mustard, Ketchup, or Mayo - Which is the Healthiest?

Ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard are the quintessential condiments of the American meal. This triumvirate is found in nearly every household fridge across the nation, begging the question - which is the healthiest?

Ketchup is made of tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, salt and spices. Here is the ingredient list for the most popular brand, Heinz:

tomato concentrate from red ripe tomatoes, distilled vinegar, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, salt, spice, onion powder, natural flavoring.

A serving of ketchup is one tablespoon. It is only 15 calories, but all of them are from sugars! There are no fats and no proteins. Ketchup is also surprisingly high in sodium, with 190 milligrams (about 10% of the daily maximum). The one redeeming value of ketchup is that it is made from tomatoes, and thus is a great source of lycopene, a type of antioxidant.

Mayonnaise is a mix of raw eggs, oil, and spices. Here is the ingredient list for top selling Hellmann's

Real Mayonnaise:

soybean oil, water, whole eggs and egg yolks, vinegar, salt, sugar, lemon juice, calcium disodium edta (used to protect quality), natural flavors.

A serving of mayonnaise is one tablespoon. It has 90 calories, 6 times the amount in ketchup. All the calories are from fat, 9-grams worth. There are no proteins or carbs. Mayo has about half the level of sodium of ketchup.

Mustard is made from the ground seeds of a mustard plant, water, vinegar, and optionally some flavorings and spices. Here is the ingredient list for Kroger's Yellow Mustard:

Distilled Vinegar, Water, Mustard Seed, Salt, Turmeric, Paprika.

A serving of mustard is 1 teaspoon. It usually has less than 5 calories, no sugar, no fat, and only 55mg of sodium. The flavor is much stronger than that of mayo or ketchup.

Bottom Line

Mustard is the healthier choice.

Supermarket tips

If you love mayo, think of Greek yogurt or avocado slices as a replacement where appropriate. If ketchup is your thing, can salsa do the work in some cases?

Otherwise, when employing ketchup or mayonnaise, try to use the smallest amount needed.

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