Organic Consumers Association

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What's in Common American Condiments?

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Health Issues page and our Food Safety Research Center page.

I occasionally comment on various "worst food lists" that appear in magazines and on websites. There is no shortage of bad foods to talk about these days, and we never seem to run out of lists.

But what about the foods Americans don't often THINK about when inventorying their personal food choices-even though they're eating them every day, one little dollop after another? I'm referring to condiments.

Condiments are usually given a free ride because, well, it's only a spoonful. They're typically overlooked, or brushed off as "harmless," or eaten in such small quantities that their effects seem negligible.

Condiments can make bland foods taste better and good foods taste great. But they can also turn an otherwise nutritious meal into a metabolic nightmare, one tablespoon at a time.

Small, frequent doses of potentially harmful ingredients can be far from benign, having a cumulative biological effect. In fact, there is scientific evidence that more significant health effects may occur at low doses than high, especially for hormone-disrupting chemicals. It's time to stop giving condiments a free pass!

Here, I'll review five common American condiments that made their debut in a "worst of" list on the website OneResult:

1. Mayonnaise     
2. Sour cream     
3. Ranch and blue cheese dressing     
4. Ketchup     
5. Steak sauce and barbeque sauce

#1: Mayonnaise

Commercially prepared mayonnaise is indeed loaded with fats-and NOT the kind of fats that benefit you. Most prepared mayos are primarily GMO soybean oil, one of the most harmful oils you can eat but found extensively in processed foods.

This type of oil, whether partially hydrogenated, organic, or made from newer soybean varieties modified in such a way as to not require hydrogenation, are highly processed and wreak chaos in your body at the cellular level, paving the way for problems ranging from obesity and diabetes to reproductive disorders and heart disease.

In addition to the trans fats created from hydrogenation, the majority of soybeans grown in the US are genetically engineered and, as a result, are saturated with dangerous levels of the herbicide glyphosate, which has been linked to a growing list of serious health problems.

Even though you may not consider mayonnaise a sweet product, most commercial varieties contain high fructose corn syrup or other forms of fructose, which adds to the toxic load on your liver. If you think you can't live without your mayo, consider using an organic variety made with olive oil. Or better yet, make your own mayo!        
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