Which is Healthier – Ketchup or Mayo?

ketchup and mayo

Ketchup and mayonnaise are the quintessential condiments of many a fast food meals. They are also found in almost every household fridge across the nation. A Fooducate community member recently asked us which is healthier. A tough question, as neither is to be viewed as a healthy food.

A serving of ketchup is one tablespoon. It is only 15 calories, but all of them are from sugars! There are no fats and no proteins. Ketchup is also surprisingly high in sodium, with 190 milligrams (about 10% of the daily maximum). The one redeeming value of ketchup is that it is made from tomatoes, and thus has some nutrients, especially lycopene antioxidants.

A serving of mayonnaise is also one tablespoon. It has 90 calories, 6 times the amount in ketchup. All the calories are from fat, 9 grams to be precise. There are no proteins and no carbs. Mayo has about half the amount of sodium as ketchup.

So which is healthier?

The right question should be  “which is less unhealthy?”. If you are watching your weight, mayo is a dangerous calorie delivery mechanism. On the other hand, ketchup helps maintain a sugar addiction, and is easy to over-consume.

Our suggestion – choose your (favorite) evil; just make it as small as possible.

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  • Matias Muchnick Cruz

    How about Soy Mayonnaise? It has almost 50% of the calories and fat compared to regular mayo (Kraft for example). It contributes with quality protein from soy and it’s 0% cholesterol, 100% vegetable, so even vegans can consume it (no egg). I’m from Chile and there’s a groundbreaking brand that’s getting everyone’s attention. It’s called Eggless and it’s a very small firm (very low scale production). Though the Mayo is unbelievable; It has a really nice, soft and rich taste and it’s made with no artificial stuff. You can take a look at it’s facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/EgglessCo

    (It’s in spanish at this time though)

    • Ricardo

      Sounds amazing! A very smart idea for Mayonnaise lovers

    • J in VA

      Most soy in the US is GMO. That adds another wrinkle to the which is healthier question. I don’ t know they allow GMO soy in Chile. Would you know?

      • Matias Muchnick Cruz

        Most of Chile’s Soy is supplied from our neighbors (Argentina) and basically the majority of it is GMO (very few organic). Though, this Mayo may have it’s own organic soy production or supplier; that might explain their low scale production…

  • healthythinker

    I make my own mayo with olive oil and one egg, and then use it sparingly. That way, it is somewhat more heart-healthy, and you can have that mouth-feel of mayo when you crave it. It’s very easy to do: put your egg into a food processor than SLOWLY poor 1 C of olive oil through the top funnel…slowly, slowly. Here, patience is a virtue. You can make this garlic aioli by adding fresh garlic, further enhancing heart benefits – it goes great over fish stew/cioppino (in moderation – 2 tsp is enough for the soup) which makes it very Mediterranean.

  • Eric

    Condiments are overrated its all about knowing how to season food. Mustard and hot sauce are not bad options though.

  • neecie

    except for trader joe’s – all ketsup has high fructose corn syrup. Kraft mayo in my frig is 35 calories per TBL and 3g fat.

    • J in VA

      If you look hard, Heinz and Hunt have non-HFCS versions.

  • Brian Klein

    I would argue that the ketchup would be worse for weight gain. It’s not all about calories in, calories out. And sugars affect weight more than fat. And satiation is a factor as well. A tablespoon of mayo will fill you up much more than a tablespoon of ketchup.

    But the problem with most mayo is that it is usually made with industrially made vegetable oils. When industrially made, the fats are oxidized, and cause inflammation in the body.

    Both condiments can be especially healthy if made at home, and with the correct ingredients.

  • Lauren

    Did you not answer the question? Or is it a none of the above? At the very least these condiments should be organic bc pesticides and sugar? Eek.

  • stardust

    I don’t use either! I just put salsa on everything!!!

  • dick

    your a mother fucking stupid cunt I googled this question and expected an easy awnser , you don’t even give an awnser you only get me more confused you cunt!