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Tomato Ketchup - How Healthy Is It?

Reviewed by
Dt. Kejal Rathod 89% (160 ratings)
BSC Food & Nutrition, Post Graduate Diploma in Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics, Certified Registered Dietitian
Dietitian/Nutritionist, Mumbai  •  5 years experience
Tomato Ketchup - How Healthy Is It?

Be it french fries, burgers, hash browns or simple omelette, the taste of ketchup can complement everything. This popular and inexpensive red coloured condiment is regarded as healthy by some even though that does not indicate you can consume copious amount of it.

Is ketchup good for health?
Ketchup is a low-calorie condiment made of simple ingredients like spices, salt, pepper, vinegar and natural tomatoes. Compared to other notable rivals like mayonnaise, ketchup contains no fat and much lesser calories. But for some people, the sugar and salt content of ketchup is a matter of concern. Moreover, it tends to contain natural flavouring, tomato concentrate and most importantly, high fructose corn syrup which may not be desirable. So, the key here is not to abandon ketchup on the whole but to reduce the consumption.

Ketchup and its list of benefits:
The lycopene content of the tomato, which is the prime ingredient of ketchup, cuts down the risk of cancer in bladder, lungs, stomach, and cervix by several degrees. So, eating about two or more servings of tomato ketchup in a week can do you more good than harm. Lycopene, an important antioxidant can shield the body from free radical damage.

Moreover, ketchup is a low-fat condiment that can make bland foods taste great. It has low carbohydrate content, good levels of vitamins and is thought to help fertility in men. But there is a trick to this, most of us use commercially produced ketchup which is easily available in the market.

Is it really good for you?
When you use commercially prepared ketchup on the food, you could be consuming high fructose corn syrup or HFCS since this is what glugs out of the jar. In most cases, you will find that the ketchup contains overcooked tomatoes, a huge amount of sugar which is genetically engineered corn syrup and of course, water. Some brands may also use natural flavouring which is nothing but flavour-boosting chemicals.

Just a teaspoonful of ketchup contains about 4 grams of sugar and needless to say, some people take more than one teaspoon at a time which builds up the daily sugar load. HFCS is added to almost all preserved foods along with a lot of flavour enhancers, and together they don’t take much time to overload you with the maximum daily fructose limit.

Ketchup can be an excellent addition to your main diet when taken in moderation, of course. But with regular consumption, you are sure to head towards a host of unwanted diseases and complications. If you are not able to trust any of the easily available brands, you may consider making your own tomato ketchup and savour the taste.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
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