Photo by Ingorrr via Flickr
Along with mayonnaise and mustard, ketchup (also known as tomato sauce, red sauce or Tommy sauce) is a popular condiment, especially in the United States. Most people adorn their hamburgers, fries, sandwiches, or grilled/fried meats with ketchup. This condiment is also used as a base for other sauces. You can find it in most restaurants and in almost every household in the United States.
That’s a good thing, isn’t it? Ketchup consists mainly of tomatoes and tomatoes are good for us. So, it must be healthy, right? Actually, it is not as healthy as you may think.
Why isn’t ketchup so healthy?
Although ketchup’s main ingredient is tomato puree, it does have other ingredients. It is those other ingredients that hurt ketchup’s health factor. Sugar, vinegar and salt are some of the other main ingredients found in ketchup. The biggest problem with ketchup is that it is high in sodium. One tablespoon can contain up to 190 milligrams of sodium and it’s rare that someone only uses one tablespoon. Combined with the many other places that sodium appears in your diet, that can be a problem. So, if you have high blood pressure or want to limit your intake of sodium for other reasons, ketchup might not be the right condiment for you.
What can I substitute for ketchup?
The good news is that there are other condiments that can take the place of ketchup if sodium is an issue for you. Instead try:
- Ketchup with no salt added: There are brands, such as Hunt’s, that have a no salt added version of their ketchup. You can still enjoy the thick, tomato goodness of ketchup without the added salt.
- Tomato paste or puree: These will give you that tomato taste with less sodium and also without the added sugar.
- Homemade or no salt added spaghetti sauce: This is another way to get that tomato taste without all that sodium.
However, don’t substitute steak, Worcestershire, barbecue or cocktail sauces. They have even more sodium than ketchup does. So, if you are trying to limit your intake of sodium, watch what you are putting on your food. Ketchup may not be the ideal condiment for you!