If weight loss is your ultimate goal, experts say that reevaluating and analyzing what you eat daily is one important step to take. Along with hydrating frequently, exercising regularly and sticking to a consistent sleep schedule, eating a well-balanced diet is crucial in order to lose weight healthily. We checked in with health experts to learn more about 5 common condiments that might be sneaking in extra calories without your noticing, and what to replace them with instead. Read on for tips and suggestions from Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD, registered dietitian, Lisa Richards, registered nutritionist and Jesse Feder, RDN, CPT, registered dietitian and personal trainer.
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Ketchup With Added Sugar
The first condiment anyone who wants to lose weight should avoid is ketchup with ample amounts of sugar, Best says. While manufacturers have started providing ketchup varieties without added sugar, most consumers continue to turn to traditional ketchup out of preference and habit, she notes. “Most brands of ketchup provide 4 grams of added sugar in just one tablespoon of their product,” adds Best. “Knowing that multiple tablespoons of this condiment are used at a typical meal makes this number all the more alarming.” Too much added sugar in the diet will increase the amount of calories consumed and simultaneously increase one’s risk for chronic disease, she stresses. “Gut health can begin to take a toll as a diet high in sugar promotes gut dysbiosis and imbalance of gut bacteria,” she continues. Considering there are alternatives to traditional ketchup, “it’s ideal to opt for those instead.”
This condiment, especially the traditional egg-based form, should not be considered healthy by any stretch, Richards says.Those made with healthy oils, like olive oil, can be a “great addition to a recipe or meal,” but should still be used in moderation, she suggests. Richards also points out that saturated fat content and emulsifiers used in healthy varieties can be damaging to many organs, especially the liver. “As the liver works to filter the excess fat and toxins we ingest, it can become weighed down and under stress by high-fat condiments like mayonnaise,” she adds. Rather than opting for mayonnaise, Richards notes that “it is best to go without this condiment or choose a healthier alternative, like whole fresh avocados.” These, she says, are more easily processed by the body and the “fat found in them will be more readily digested and used as fuel.”
Creamy Ranch Dressing
Whether you use it on salads or dip chicken tenders in it, frequent amounts of ranch dressing and similar sauces are not your best friend when it comes to healthy weight loss. “One serving of ranch dressing will provide you with around 150 calories and 15 grams of fat,” Feder says. “This can really hinder your weight loss journey if you like to have ranch dressing often.” Feder adds that the “best thing you can do” is choose a lite or fat-free option if you want to have ranch and continue to lose weight.
Sugary Barbeque Sauce
Sweet, tangy and delicious, barbeque sauce might not appear to be unhealthy as it is often low in calories, but Feder notes that this condiment often comes with a ton of sugar. “One serving of barbeque sauce only has around 70 calories and no fat,” he says, however, most people “don’t realize” that it also contains about 16 grams of sugar in that one serving. “This added sugar can really hinder your weight loss and metabolism,” Feder says. “The best thing to do is look for sugar-free or reduced sugar barbeque sauce,” he suggests, if you still want to have it in your diet.
High Calorie Honey Mustard
Full-fat honey mustard can add hundreds of calories to one meal, Feder says, and this can certainly hinder your weight loss goals if you consume it often. “Just one serving of normal honey mustard can pack on anywhere from 100-180 calories,” he says. “In addition to the high caloric content, it usually has 10-15g of fat which is a large amount for just one serving of a condiment,” Feder continues. The best option, he concludes, is to look for “reduced fat or fat free honey mustard if you are trying to lose weight.”