4 condiments that aren't worth the taste

October 9, 2015

Condiments may make our food taste better, but they aren't always the healthiest choice. Here's why you should avoid certain condiments, especially when it comes to these four culprits.

4 condiments that aren't worth the taste

Condiments at a glance

Condiments are often derived from healthy foods, but lose their nutritional value. These are just a few reasons to avoid certain condiments.

  • A diet that's high in pickled or salt-cured foods and condiments has been linked to an increased risk of stomach and esophageal cancers.
  • Condiments often have high levels of nitrates, which are converted to cancer-causing nitrosamines during digestion.

1. Sauerkraut

  • Often served as a vegetable, sauerkraut has only 20 calories in a half cup serving.
  • It provides 17 milligrams of vitamin C, almost two milligrams of iron, and useful amounts of the B vitamins, calcium, potassium and fibre.
  • But sauerkraut is high in sodium, which may be exacerbated by foods served with it, like hot dogs.

2. Ketchup

  • Most ketchup is made from tomatoes, although plums, other soft fruits and even green walnuts can be used.
  • The huge variety of commercial barbecue sauces are variants on the basic ketchup recipe: tomatoes, brown sugar, vinegar, salt, pepper and spices.
  • These sauces offer negligible nutritional value and are high in sugar.
  • Tomato ketchup does contain a fair amount of the antioxidant lycopene.
  • The high salt content in most may be harmful to people with high blood pressure or on a low-salt diet.

3. Soy sauce

Soy sauce is very high in sodium — 1,000 milligrams per 15 millilitres (one tablespoon) compared with 200 milligrams in mustard and ketchup.

4. Mustard

  • Mustard comes from the seeds that are crushed and moistened to form mustard oils.
  • Most mustards are sold premixed. Many specialty varieties are mixed with white wine or herb-flavoured vinegars.
  • Turmeric gives some types their brilliant yellow colour and extra tanginess.
  • In making prepared mustard, the dry powder is usually blended with wheat flour.
  • Gluten-sensitive people should look for mustards that don't contain wheat.

While delicious, many condiments are not as healthy as the foods from which they're derived. But cutting out condiments doesn't necessarily reduce the taste. Keep an eye out for alternatives that could expand your palette and keep you healthier.

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