This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Contact a qualified medical professional before engaging in any physical activity, or making any changes to your diet, medication or lifestyle.
From ketchup-topped french fries to sandwiches slathered in mayo, it's hard to imagine certain foods without our favourite condiments. Whether you're dipping or drizzling, these sauces can add a much-needed kick of flavour to many meals.
But not all condiments are created equal. Some of your staple toppings could be loaded with unhealthy ingredients, like preservatives, sugar, salt and fat.
Before you add more sauce to your plate, here's what you need to know about the six worst condiments for your health.
Mayonnaise can make a tasty spread, whether you're putting it on a chicken sandwich or adding it to salad dressing. Unfortunately, it also comes with a heavy calorie count and high amounts of fat. One tablespoon of mayonnaise has around 100 calories, 11 grams of fat and 70 milligrams of sodium.
While much of mayo's fat content is unsaturated (the healthier kind of fat), it's easy to go overboard and load up your meal with unintentional calories. If you really can't cut this popular condiment out of your diet, there are always low-fat or low-calorie alternatives to consider.
It may be made from tomatoes, but ketchup doesn't come close to having the same nutritional value. That's because most ketchup contains high amounts of salt, along with sneaky ingredients like preservatives and high fructose corn syrup.
Luckily, there's a way to get your ketchup fix in a healthier way. Some brands offer organic ketchup options without all the sugar and additives.
3. BBQ sauce
It's a staple of summer cookouts, but barbecue sauce could be another source of unexpected salt, sugar and calories. In fact, BBQ sauce contains even more sugar than ketchup: One tablespoon has more than seven grams of sugar.
To get the sweet and savoury flavour without the added sugar, look for an organic, low-sugar option or make your own sauce with raw honey as a sweetener.
4. Ranch dressing
This creamy dressing is a popular topping for salads. It might be delicious, but this condiment also contains fat and calories. One tablespoon of ranch dressing serves about eight grams of total fat.
It's OK to eat these salad dressings in moderation, but remember that the high calorie and fat count makes it easy to go over your daily recommended intake. Instead of dousing your salad in ranch, try adding flavour with vinegar or lemon juice.
If you're looking for a light or low-fat version of ranch dressing, be warned. Sometimes the label "fat-free" can disguise the addition of other ingredients, like sugar, sodium and various additives.
5. Soy sauce
It's hard to imagine dishes like sushi and stir-fry without the addition of rich, salty soy sauce. While this condiment is low in sugar and calories, it's loaded with something else — sodium.
One tablespoon of soy sauce contains 879 milligrams of sodium. That's more than half of the sodium you need for the entire day. Eating too much sodium can put you at risk of high blood pressure, a major factor in serious conditions like stroke and heart disease.
6. Sour cream
A single dollop of sour cream on your mashed potatoes could add way more calories and fat than you bargained for.
One tablespoon of sour cream has about 23 calories and two grams of fat. About half of this fat is saturated. Too much saturated fat in your diet can lead to health problems like heart disease and high cholesterol.
Like some of the other condiment options, you may be able to find reduced-fat sour cream. Try mixing it with Greek yogurt to get the same flavour but less saturated fat, plus extra benefits like protein and calcium.