Thursday, October 9, 2008

Pass on the Condiments


It's no surprise that ketchup is found in 97 out of every 100 American homes… and each of us eats about three bottles a year. Four tablespoons of ketchup have the nutritional value of a whole ripe, medium tomato. That's the good news!

The not so good news: most popular brands of ketchup contain unwanted chemical additives. The same holds true for many mustard and relish brands.

Because of this, I'm encouraging everyone to READ LABELS!!

Many people unwittingly choose these condiments, not realizing the hidden dangers "in the bottle". Rather than canning the condiments, make an educated effort to choose the brands that are chemical-free. It will get you one step closer to preventing chronic disease.

According to eBrandAid.com,

The Good News: Condiments can be nutritional powerhouses. Ketchup is loaded with cancer-fighting lycopene; mustard seeds contain plentiful amounts of healing phytonutrients; and relish is a probiotic that improves your immune system by restoring beneficial bacteria!

The Bad News: Most brand name condiments contain junk ingredients – these harmful additives often outweigh or negate the health benefits!

Here are some of the not-so-healthy imposters:

Seeing is believing, so take a look at these well-known varieties.
NOTE: I’ve bolded the chemical additives so that you can easily spot them.

Hunt's Ketchup
(Serving size 1 tbsp, 15 calories, 180mg sodium, 0g sugar)

Ingredients: Tomato Concentrate Made from Vine Ripened Tomatoes, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Distilled Vinegar, Corn Syrup, Salt, Onion Powder, Natural Flavors, Garlic Powder.

Grey Poupon Mustard Savory Honey
(Serving Size 1 tsp, 10 calories, 5mg sodium, 0g sugar)

Ingredients: Mustard Seed, Water, Apple Cider Vinegar, Vinegar, Brown Sugar, Honey, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Salt, Fruit Pectin, Citric Acid, Spice, Sugar, Turmeric, Caramel Color, Paprika.

Vlasic Relish Sweet
(serving size 1 tbsp, 15 calories, 140mg sodium, 4g sugar)

Ingredients: Cucumbers, Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Distilled Vinegar, Corn Syrup, Salt, Calcium Chloride, Spice, Xanthan Gum, Dehydrated Peppers, Alum, Natural Flavors, Polysorbate 80 And Yellow 5.

The Big Three condiments are founded on all-natural ingredients like tomatoes, mustard seeds and pickles. When you see all kinds of chemical additives you can be certain these varieties have been highly processed. This means most of the nutrition has been replaced by cheap chemical taste-a-likes needed to boost flavor.

Bypass the regular condiment aisle and go directly to the “healthy food” section of your local grocery store. This is where most of the healthy brands hang out. (Note: Mustard is the exception. You’ll find the healthy brands in both the regular and healthy food sections.)

Look for the all-natural organic varieties. They may cost a few more pennies but the health benefits make them priceless. Our kids are the major consumers of ketchup, mustard and relish; buying the healthier brands curbs their intake of food additives!
Avoid label claims like “reduced sugar,” “low sugar,” or “low carb!” These are often code words for added artificial sweeteners.
Always avoid the junk ingredients high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, yellow dye #5, polysorbate 80, and sucralose.

Here are a few brands that are free and clear of unwanted ingredients:

Ketchup
Annie's Naturals Ketchup, Organic
Countrys Delight Tomato Ketchup
Woodstock Farms Organics Tomato Ketchup
Muir Glen Organic Ketchup
Full Circle 100% Organic Tomato Ketchup

Mustard
Maille Mustard Dijon Original
Grey Poupon Mustard Country Dijon
Grey Poupon Mustard Harvest Ground
Gulden's Mustard Spicy Brown
Boar's Head Delicatessen Style Mustard
Boar's Head Honey Mustard All Natural Squeeze
Full Circle Organic Spicy Brown Mustard
Full Circle Organic Yellow Mustard
Woodstock Farms Organics Mustard Yellow
Mustard Girl Mustard Stoneground Deli All Natural
Mustard Girl Mustard Sweet n' Fancy Yellow All Natural

Relish
Cascadian Farms Sweet Relish
Full Circle Organic Sweet Relish
Bubbie's of San Francisco Pure Kosher Dill Pickle Relish
(available online at http://www.deliciousorganics.com/)

REMEMBER when you're armed with knowledge, you're in control at the grocery store!

*Thanks to eBrandAid.com for the helpful information!