25 Best and Worst Condiments
On your quest for better health, you started cutting calories in any way you could. Swapping out bread for lettuce here, ditching the ketchup there, and forgoing mayo completely—and that’s when you discovered the true definition of boring. While we certainly commend you for your dedication to a trimmer figure, we’ve got some good news for you: You don’t have to forgo flavor to reach your goal weight. In fact, that approach could backfire, as it leaves your taste buds wanting more and increases the odds you’ll surrender to diet-derailing cravings.
To keep your mealtime interesting without blowing your daily calorie limit, you’ll just need to ensure your fridge is stocked with flat-belly-friendly condiments and is free of those that could stifle your weight loss efforts. Below, we share the best and worst options that will do just that. Whether you’re craving a sandwich, burger, pancakes, a Mediterranean feast, or a hearty stir-fry, we’ve found the top of the condiment class for nearly every meal. They all have that great taste you crave, and many could even help to accelerate your weight loss progress, just like these 50 Best Weight Loss Tips.
Annie’s Naturals Organic Ketchup
Per 1 Tbsp: 15 calories, 0 g fat, 130 mg sodium, 5 g carbs (0 g fiber, 4 g sugars), 0 g protein
Heinz Tomato Ketchup
Per 1 Tbsp: 20 calories, 0 g fat, 160 mg sodium, 5 g carbs (0 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 0 g protein
It’ll be worth it to splurge on the organic option in this case. Not only do studies show that organically-raised tomatoes produce nearly twice as much cancer-fighting lycopene, but they also taste better, too! In fact, Heinz placed dead last in a blind ketchup taste test we conducted for Eat This, Not That! Supermarket Survival Guide, and it’s also higher in calories and sodium and full of high fructose corn syrup, compared to Annie’s version.
Annie’s Organic Yellow Mustard
Per 1 Tbsp: 15 calories, 0 g fat, 150 mg sodium, 3 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 0 g protein
Heinz Yellow Mustard
Per 1 Tbsp: 0 calories, 0 g fat, 240 mg sodium, 0 g carbs, 0 g protein
This classic ballpark condiment is certainly belly-friendly. That’s because eating just one teaspoon of low-cal mustard can speed up metabolism by up to 25 percent for several hours, according to researchers at England’s Oxford Polytechnic Institute. We like Annie’s option over Heinz because it’s significantly lower in sodium and is made with more mustard seed than water and vinegar (as Heinz is). Plus, we’d rather the ingredient list call out the spices used as opposed to hiding them under “natural flavor and spices.”
As a note, we didn’t include Dijon mustard in our ranking because there really isn’t a “Not That!” brand!
Tessemae’s All Natural Organic Honey Mustard
Per 1 Tbsp: 30 calories, 0 g fat, 270 mg sodium, 6 g carbs (0 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 0 g protein
Inglehoffer Honey Mustard
Per 1 Tbsp: 45 calories, 0 g fat, 105 mg sodium, 6 g carbs (0 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 0 g protein
Does a condiment with more sugar and water than mustard seeds really deserve to be labeled mustard? We don’t think so. Opt for Tessemae’s instead. Heart-healthy mustard seeds (they’re full of omega-3s!) are this bottle’s primary ingredient, and unlike Inglehoffer—which uses a touch of honey alongside cane sugar and high fructose corn syrup and a slew of other ingredients that don’t belong in mustard—Tessamae’s is one of the only brands on the market that solely uses real honey to sweeten it. The variety is also free of caramel coloring. (The same can’t be said for even favorites like Grey Poupon.) This artificial dye has been shown to cause cancer in animals and is often tainted with a possible carcinogen. For that reason, we suggest keeping anything with the coloring out of your kitchen.
Sir Kensington’s Mayo with Avocado Oil
Per 1 Tbsp: 90 calories, 11 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 85 mg sodium, 0 g carbs, 0 g protein
Per 1 Tbsp: 100 calories, 11 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 95 mg sodium, 0 g carbs, 0 g protein
Would you ever guess mayo could actually help you lose weight? It’s possible, if you grab Sir Kensington’s Mayonnaise made with avocado oil! A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that the monounsaturated fatty acids found in the fruit might actually facilitate the breakdown of fat. The avocado oil used in this jar has more than three times as many monounsaturated fats as the soybean oil used in regular Hellman’s mayo, making it the best mayonnaise for your waistline. Plus, there aren’t any of those ambiguous “natural flavors” or preservatives like calcium disodium EDTA you see in the blue topped brand.
Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise
Per 1 Tbsp: 90 calories, 10 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 80 mg sodium, 0 g carbs, 0 g protein
Hampton Creek Just Mayo
Per 1 Tbsp: 100 calories, 10 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 75 mg sodium, 0 g carbs, 0 g protein
Although eggs are one of the best high protein snacks, you won’t be able to reap their muscle-building benefits if you’re vegan. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy foods traditionally made with the portable protein. Sir Kensington makes a delicious vegan mayo using aquafaba (hence fabanaise), which is a starchy chickpea liquid with similar qualities to egg whites. Hampton Creek’s Just Mayo is a little more caloric than Sir Kensington’s and is also made with some questionable ingredients like modified food starch (usually a flavor enhancer like MSG to make up for the lost egg taste) and the preservative calcium disodium EDTA, which has been linked to depleting the body of important metals/vitamins, hypotension, headaches, migraines, and even abdominal discomfort.
Melinda’s Original Habanero Pepper Sauce
Per 1 tsp: 0 calories, 55 mg sodium
Louisiana Hot Sauce
Per 1 tsp: 0 calories, 240 mg sodium
Goya Hot Sauce
Per 1 tsp: 0 calories, 125 mg sodium
For something made with such belly-friendly ingredients as metabolism boosting hot peppers, we’re sad to see that our “Not That!” picks are so high in bloat-inducing sodium. Not only that, but Goya’s is also full of additives like red dye #40, which has been linked to hyperactivity in children and cancer in adults. Say sayonara to this sauce and hola to Melinda’s—the condiment is made with fresh carrots, a vegetable that improves vision, boosts immunity, and improves your complexion.
Stubb’s Original Bar-B-Q Sauce
Per 2 Tbsp: 25 calories, 0 g fat, 240 mg sodium, 6 g carbs (0 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 0 g protein
Sweet Baby Ray’s Original Barbecue Sauce
Per 2 Tbsp: 70 calories, 0 g fat, 290 mg sodium, 18 g carbs (0 g fiber, 16 g sugar), 0 g protein
Not much can stand up to a barbecue on a summer day—well, except for keeping your body goals intact. Sweet Baby Ray’s sauce that “started it all” starts with high fructose corn syrup and also adds some more sugar and corn syrup after that. Yikes! Instead, choose to slather some of the low-sugar Stubb’s Original Bar-B-Q sauce on your grilled chicken or baby back ribs; then sit back and enjoy yourself, knowing you’re doing your waistline a solid. Didn’t know BBQ sauce could have that much sugar? See what other foods are secretly hiding the sweet stuff.
San-J Tamari Lite 50% Less Sodium Soy Sauce
Per 1 Tbsp: 15 calories, 0 g fat, 490 mg sodium, <1 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 1 g protein
Lee Kum Kee Premium Soy Sauce
Per 1 Tbsp: 15 calories, 0 g fat, 1,030 mg sodium, 2 g carbs (0 g fiber, < 1 g sugar), 1 g protein
It pairs perfectly with sushi, but the problem is that many popular soy sauce bottles, including Lee Kum Kee Premium Soy Sauce, contain nearly 50 percent of your day’s sodium intake—in a mere tablespoon! Besides salt, LKK’s sauce isn’t fermented like San-J’s (otherwise, it would contain “lactic acid”), instead getting the intense umami flavor from chemicals like hydrolyzed soy protein and MSG. It’s also preserved with sodium benzoate, which researchers have found to be damaging to mitochondria—the important energy-producing powerhouses of our cells. Our “Eat This” pick is lower in sodium, gluten-free, is an actual fermented food, and the soybeans are non-GMO.
Maple Grove Dark Amber Maple Syrup
Per ¼ cup: 200 calories, 0 g fat, 5 mg sodium, 53 g carbs (0 g fiber, 53 g sugar), 0 g protein
Aunt Jemima Original Syrup
Per ¼ cup: 210 calories, 0 g fat, 120 mg sodium, 52 g carbs (0 g fiber, 32 g sugar), 0 g protein
Their dark amber color may shining through their clear plastic bottles like the real thing, but “pancake” syrups are far from it. Unlike Grade A maple syrup (the sap that’s tapped from maple trees and boiled into an antioxidant-rich sweetener), these syrups are primarily composed of high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, and caramel color—all ingredients that have been connected to a slew of health issues, from fatty liver disease to cancer. Here’s a bonus: because Maple Grove’s Grade A syrup has a full-bodied maple flavor, a little bit goes a long way in terms of flavor. And the less you need to pour on, the fewer calories and teaspoons of sugar you’ll consume.
Wholly Guacamole Classic Dip
Per 2 Tbsp: 60 calories, 5 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 105 mg sodium, 3 g carbs (2 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 1 g protein
Dean’s Guacamole Flavored Dip
Per 2 Tbsp: 90 calories, 9 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 170 mg sodium, 2 g carbs (0 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 1 g protein
Reading the list of ingredients on the back of Wholly Guacamole’s classic dip is like skimming through a grocery list. Avocado recipes are some of the best for your waistline as the fruit is filled with hunger-quelling oleic acid. For that reason, Dean’s ended up on our Not That! side because it contains less than two percent real avocado in their guacamole. So what is it made of? Mostly of skim milk, oil, water, egg yolks, gelatin, a slew of gums and gels, and it’s all thickened up with isolated soy protein. And that green color you see? It’s just blue, red, and yellow food dyes. Yuck.
*Per 2 Tbsp: 35 calories, 2.5 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 50 mg sodium, 1 g carbs (0 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 2 g protein
Haig’s Delicacies Tzatziki
Per 2 Tbsp: 60 calories, 4.5 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 200 mg sodium, 2 g carbs (1 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 1 g protein
This condiment is made with Greek yogurt, cucumber, dill, and garlic—and that should be it. Unfortunately, Haig’s decides to add whey protein concentrate to their dip to up their flailing protein content. Besides that, the brand contains four times the amount of sodium as Cava. That’s not the only reason we made Cava our “Eat This” pick. The brand uses Greek yogurt made with real active bacterial cultures, whereas Haig’s does not. Use it as a sandwich, burger or pita spread, dip your veggies and grilled meats in it, or drizzle a bit on top of a Greek-inspired salad.
Roots Original Hummus
Per 2 Tbsp: 60 calories, 6 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 80 mg sodium, 6 g carbs (2 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 2 g protein
Sabra Classic Hummus
Per 2 tbsp: 70 calories, 5 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 130 mg sodium, 4 g carbs (1 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 2 g protein
When it comes to examining store-bought hummuses, you can’t ignore sodium—in fact, doing so would mean you’re committing one of the 50 Little Things Making You Fatter and Fatter! Roots towers over the well-known hummus brand, Sabra, because it’s lower in sodium, higher in fiber, and is absent of artificial ingredients like potassium sorbate, which has been linked to migraines and stomach issues. What’s more, the artisanal hummus swaps canola oil for safflower oil: an oil that has been linked to lower levels of cholesterol, lower blood sugar, and increased weight loss. If you love hummus, then don’t miss our exclusive report on the 22 Best & Worst Popular Hummus Choices!