Condiments: What Are They Doing To Us?

Condiments, what are they, how do we use them, and are they good for us? There are so many condiments and we use them carelessly, without thinking about the health consequences. I have been wondering about these topping for a long time, so I decided to do some research.

What Are America’s Favorite Toppings?

When I was growing up, I recall the foods that were common to barbecues, and realize now that those foods and the toppings we used were questionable. Ketchup, mustard, relish, mayonnaise, A1 sauce and more. I want to examine these foods as they pertain to our health.


Relish is low in fat and calories, but each manufacturer has its own standards. The word refers to any cooked and pickled chopped vegetable or fruit. If you are a relish lover, beware. Although relish is made from vegetables, it has a real downside. There are 4 grams of sugar and 122 grams of sodium in a serving.

Sodium does a real number on blood pressure. As blood pressure rises, it puts a strain on the heart and organs. This could lead to heart disease or stroke.

So what is the health score on relish? Stay away. Alone, a teaspoon of relish is harmless. What food goes with relish, the hot dog which is terrible for the body.  

Winner!!! How about choosing lettuce and tomato on a turkey burger?

Salad Dressings

The millennials and Gen X have replaced the old-time relish with ranch and blue cheese dressing. What is the reasoning?

These dressing pair better with wings, fries, popcorn and pizza, the new favorite foods. Wow, am I out of touch? Oh yes.

Ranch dressing is so wrong in terms of health. Calories, fat, sodium, and sugar combine for America’s new favorite topping. In 2 tbsp’s the dressing has 100 to 140 calories from fat.

When a dressing is labeled with high volumes of saturated fat, sodium and sugar, you must put it down. I would anyway.

Winner!!! If you must have ranch, a healthier choice is the ranch dressing that contains low fat, protein-rich Greek yogurt. This is a great slideshow that includes ways to make your own healthy dressing. Read more.


Store-bought mayonnaise is loaded with saturated fat, and it only includes trace amounts of good nutrition. The only benefit that mayonnaise provides is omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, in my opinion, not enough to combat the saturated and trans fats in the topping.

Winner!!! To improve mayo’s nutrition, you can make it at home keeping these things in mind:

  • Use pasteurized eggs because unpasteurized can carry foodborne diseases like salmonella.
  • Use fresh lemon juice.
  • Cut back on vinegar.
  • Use healthy oils, for example, flaxseed oil, olive oil, sesame oil, avocado oil and safflower oil.

Note: Everyone is thinking, Sandi, what about your beloved extra virgin olive oil?  Well, it is very healthy, but some have strong flavors that can affect the overall taste of your mayonnaise.

Homemade mayonnaise Get Recipe

Ketchup, Barbecue and Steak Sauce

Did you know that ketchup is loaded with high fructose corn syrup? That is an ingredient that hits us in the face these days. It is the “F” word of food. Nasty stuff.

The rest of the bad news is MSG, flavor-boosting chemicals, and lots of sugar. Don’t be fooled by the label “organic”. There is just as much sugar in an organic brand. I have the same objections for barbecue and steak sauce Avoid!

Winner!!! Make your own or try fresh salsa. You can also make your own barbecue and steak sauce.

Sour Cream

This one kills me because I do like sour cream on my baked potato. The little tubs that reside in the cooler section of the super market are chock full of preservatives and not much real food. Also non-organic dairy products contain genetically engineered bovine growth hormone.

Scary Fact: RBGH is banned in Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and 27 countries of the European Union because of its danger to health. It is the largest selling dairy animal drug in the United States. Yikes. I think I will reconsider dairy-free. Refer to Lactose-Free versus Dairy-Free for more information.

Winner!!! Try top quality Greek yogurt as an alternative or make your own sour cream.

Sicilian Condiments

Believe it or not, Sicilians use a variety of condiments.

Typically oilsaltsugarvinegarherbsspicesolivescapers and salted anchovies are often used in combination to spice up a dish. These are very different from what the Americans put on food to give it more flavor.

Grated lemon, lime, homemade sauce (gravy) are also part of the Sicilian condiment eating tradition. Add some fresh herbs, for example parsley, and add a new flavor.

You know exactly where I am going with this, I bet. Sicilians do not rely on store-bought for additional flavor on food. It is all fresh. Refer to Healing Foods: Eat Your Way to a Happy Body for information on how the Sicilians eat.

Final Thought

A long time ago I stopped using condiments. I try to use fresh herbs, spices and organic foods to enhance the flavor of my meals. I am not saying that I don’t have any of it in the house, but I do not use it very much.

Sometimes a recipe with call for 1 tablespoon of mustard. That is when I use the store bought condiment. Other than that, I do not like the negative health consequences of processed condiments. I have actually stopped using mayonnaise and am opting for homemade to eat with my tuna.


  1. What an interesting article. Full of really interesting and useful information. Thanks for all the healthy suggestions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *