Condiments That are Making You Fat


Condiments might seem like a great way to enhance the flavors of your food or add a little spice, but did you know that some condiments are actually filled with additives that make it a lot harder for you to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight? These additives can do this in a few ways:

  • They can interfere with a hormone called leptin that tells the brain when you are full.
  • They can increase the fat-storing hormone called insulin which causes calories going in to be converted into fat instead of being stored as “muscle energy.”
  • They can also make us addicted to them by altering brain chemicals called neurotransmitters making us have more cravings and less control.

Additives to Avoid

It’s important to know what these additives are and which condiments more commonly contain them, so you know what to look out for next time you’re loading up the shopping cart. Here are 7 of the worst additives you should be removing from your diet as much as possible.

  1. Stripped Carbohydrates. These are usually listed as sugar, flour, enriched white flour, white flour, enriched bleached flour, enriched wheat flour, wheat flour, semolina flour, white rice, maltodextrin, glucose, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), fructose, sucrose, dextrose, and levulose.
  2. Artificial Sweeteners. These are usually listed as NutraSweet (aspartame), Sunette (acesulfame K), and Sweet ‘N Low (saccharin.)
  3. Added Caffeine in soft drinks and energy drinks. While a few cups of green tea or coffee each day is fine, you should be aware of when you’re consuming a little extra caffeine in that energy drink you bought on the corner.
  4. Trans Fats. Trans fats are also listed as partially hydrogenated oils.
  5. MSG. MSG is also labeled as monosodium glutamate.
  6. Excess Alcohol. One to two drinks per week is okay, but you shouldn’t be exceeding that, especially in one night.
  7. Excess Salt/Sodium. This is the norm for a lot of chips, crackers, canned food items, pickles, various cheeses, pretzels, condiments, and salted nuts.

Common Offenders

Now that you know what to look for on the label next time you shop, here are some top offenders you might need to remove from the pantry:

  • Kroger and Lawry’s Marinades: contains high fructose corn syrup.
  • Hunt’s Tomato Ketchup / Heinz 57: contains high fructose corn syrup.
  • Kraft’s Light Asian Toasted Sesame Reduced Fat Dressing: contains MSG.
  • Kraft’s Thick N Spicy Barbecue Sauce: contains MSG.
  • Hidden Valley’s Ranch Dressing: contains MSG.
  • Prego’s Italian Sauce Traditional: has 10 g of sugar per half cup.
  • Old El Paso Taco Seasoning: contains hydrogenated oils.
  • Reduced Fat (or regular) Jif Peanut Butter: full of hydrogenated oil and corn syrup solids.

Healthier Alternatives

What should you buy instead?

  • Heinz Organic Tomato Ketchup. This is a great choice over the original because it doesn’t contain high fructose corn syrup.
  • Curley’s Famous Hot and Spicy Barbecue Sauce. This delicious BBQ sauce doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup or MSG in it.
  • Newman’s Own Salad Dressing. When it comes to salad dressings, you want a low sugar version that doesn’t contain high fructose corn syrup.
  • Low Sodium Kikkoman’s Natural Soy Sauce. Their low sodium version contains 575 mg per tablespoon, while their regular contains 920 mg. That’s less than half the amount.
  • Lucini’s Hearty Artichoke Tomato Sauce. It only has 230 mg of sodium and less than 1 gram of sugar.
  • McCormick’s Original Taco Seasoning. Doesn’t contain any hydrogenated oils.
  • Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter. It contains only two ingredients: peanuts and salt.

It might seem like this is a lot to remember, but it’s actually pretty simple. As a rule of thumb, try to choose the low sodium and reduced sugar versions of food when available. Keep an eye out for high fructose corn syrup, MSG, and hydrogenated oils. And most importantly: if you’re reading a label and you don’t understand what the ingredients are, it’s probably not a healthy choice.