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Hold the Mayo!

Container of Mayonnaise
Photo by Thomas Edwards via Flickr

A house without mayonnaise is rare. Mayonnaise is one of the most used condiments in the world.  In the United States, you’ll find it on sandwiches, in potato, tuna or macaroni salads.  In the Netherlands, you will see people dipping their french fries in mayonnaise. In France and the United Kingdom, it is served with cold chicken or hard boiled eggs. In Japan, it is served with hot dishes, cooked vegetables or added in soy sauce or wasabi. In Chile, they put it on hot dogs and on potatoes. In Russia, mayonnaise is actually sold in higher volumes than ketchup. You can also find mayonnaise as a  base for other sauces, such as, tarter sauce, aioli, thousand island dressing, ranch dressing, mayonesa and fry sauce.

What is Mayonnaise?

Mayonnaise, also known as mayo, is an emulsion of vegetable oil and egg yolk and can be flavored with vinegar, mustard or lemon juice and salt.  However, despite mayo’s popularity, it is not the healthiest condiment to use. It can be very high in fat and calories.

What are the Different Types of Mayo?
Of course, there is more than one option when people go to the store looking for mayo. Here’s the breakdown on the different types:

  • Regular mayo: About 100 calories and 11 grams of fat per tablespoon.
  • Light or reduced calorie mayo: About 40 to 50 calories and 4 – 5 grams of fat per tablespoon.
  • Fat free mayo: 10 – 20 calories and 0 grams of fat per tablespoon. Fat free mayo contains no oil and uses egg whites instead of the yolk. However, it contains extra sodium, 100 to 210 mg/tbs, to make up for the lost flavor.

Some of you might be wondering about homemade mayo. Unfortunately, homemade mayo is not any healthier than the store bought kind. A typical recipe calls for two egg yolks and a cup of vegetable oil and has the same calories and fat as regular store bought mayo.

How Can You Reduce Your Use of Mayo?

  1. Avoid tartar sauce and the secret sauce at fast food restaurants.  They tend to be mayo based. Instead, substitute mustard and/or ketchup.
  2. At home substitute healthier condiments. Try substituting healthier condiments on your sandwich, such as, hummus.
  3. Watch your dips. If you are making a dip, substitute plain low-fat yogurt for the mayo. If you don’t like the taste of yogurt, try sour cream.  Although sour cream is usually not suggested as a low fat substitute, it is a better choice than mayo because it has less calories (26) and fat (2.5mg) per tablespoon. That’s about one quarter the calories and fat of mayo.
  4. Reduce the serving size. If your taste buds demand mayo, try putting less on your sandwich. Use only a teaspoon rather than a tablespoon.
  5. Try blending. If reducing the amount of mayo leaves you with not enough of the condiment, try blending some mayo with low-fat yogurt to give you the volume of condiment you need with less calories.
  6. Avoid regular mayo. If all else fails, try to go with the light mayo rather than regular mayo. Especially if you need to watch your sodium intake, fat-free mayo is not the way to go.

Mayo is a high fat condiment that should be eaten only occasionally. Two tablespoons of mayo on your sandwich gives you an extra 200 calories!  There are many other healthier substitutes out there that are very tasty. Find the right ones for you. So, the next time you are at a restaurant or about to make a sandwich make sure to hold the mayo!

Comments (10)

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  1. Blake says:

    Enjoyed the post. Thanks. I’ll be sure to hold the mayo!

  2. LindaM says:

    My first job was working at Wendy’s (a loooong time ago)–we ate our french fries with ketchup and mayo mixed–it was great! I’ve come a long way since then..I ‘allow’ myself to enjoy mayo about once a year..that’s when eating leftover turkey from Thanksgiving. I have to have mayo on that sandwich, and salt and mushy white bread. About as bad as you can be! Nice, informative post Talli!

  3. M says:

    Fortunately mayo is not used much in our home…now Miracle Whip! 🙂 I know not any better…thanks!

    • Derek says:

      Oh god… Miracle Whip is so gross. The only thing worse is my mom’s “ranch dip.” I swear to god, it’s 100% mayonnaise with 3 flakes of ranch seasoning. YUCK!!!

  4. Rosy says:

    Great information. I’m shocked on how much of this stuff is comsumed around the world. I have a friend of mine that refuses to believe that Thousand Island dressing has mayo in it. I know, I know!!! I’m sending this post to HER! I do use mayo as a treat on my tuna salad.

  5. Great post. I love mayonnaise!!! I usually make it here at home- I actually blogged about it. G-ma has an old recipe for it. I’m a sucker. Don’t enjoy light or Miracle Whip at all. Fat free is definitely out. But, it doesn’t hurt to skip it every now and then. Lately, we’ve been using hummus for our mayo- 2tbsp = 50 cal. & 6 grams of fat, so along the lines of light mayo! Hubs and I loved dipping our french fries in mayo while we were visiting the Netherlands- but vowed to leave that there. That’s really asking for it!!! It was really good tho’! 🙂

  6. My house seems to be one of the homes that doesn’t use mayo. I don’t even have any in the house. I don’t know if that’s more an Aussie thing though… I suppose if you don’t ever get used to using it, you won’t miss it!

    Thanks for the great info Talli!

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  8. […] Mustard is healthier than mayonnaise, and a heck of a lot cheaper. […]

  9. jeff says:

    “There are many other healthier substitutes out there that are very tasty.”

    Name them, for god’s sake, or don’t mention the idea in your article. So far, I count three: yogurt, sour cream, and mustard. Is that what you consider many?

    Too often, someone closes an article like this with “you have many options,” but they don’t take the time to list them.

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