Beetroot ketchup! New condiments that claim to be better for you

Beetroot ketchup! New condiments that claim to be better for you

30/12/2019

Is beetroot ketchup really a healthier option? That’s just one of the quirky new condiments that claim to be better for you

  • Mayonnaise, ketchup and other condiments can contain a lot of salt and sugar 
  • Manufacturers are offering sauces with health benefits such as ‘healthy fats’ 
  • Here are a selection of the newest healthy condiments chosen by a nutritionist…

Mayonnaise, ketchup and other condiments can add a good hit of salt and sugar — and unwanted calories — to our food. But manufacturers are now offering sauces with added health benefits such as heart-friendly fats and no sugar. MANDY FRANCIS asked Kajsa Ernestam, a dietitian for the lifestyle app Lifesum, to assess a selection; we then rated them. 

Manufacturers are now offering sauces with added health benefits such as heart-friendly fats and no sugar

BLEND BROS SUGAR FREE SWEET CHILLI SAUCE

BLEND BROS SUGAR FREE SWEET CHILLI SAUCE

250ml, £2, shop.blendbros.co.uk

Per 100ml: Calories, 22; saturated fat, 0.1g; sugar, <0.1g; salt, 0.7g

EXPERT VERDICT: This sauce is sweetened with sucralose, which won’t cause the blood sugar to spike or contribute to tooth decay like sugar does.

The sucralose also cuts the calories here to just three per tablespoon, compared to the 28 calories (and one-and-a-half teaspoons of sugar) in the same portion of regular sweet chilli sauce.

It also has 84 per cent less salt than you’ll find in a regular sweet chilli sauce. Overall, however, it has little nutritional value — it’s mostly water, with modified starch, vinegar and small amounts of chilli, ginger, herbs and spices.

Taste TEST: Cloying, artificial flavour.6/10

EATEN ALIVE CHOCOLATE BBQ HOT SAUCE

EATEN ALIVE CHOCOLATE BBQ HOT SAUCE, 150ml, £4.99, planetorganic.com

150ml, £4.99, planetorganic.com

Per 100g: Calories, 73; saturated fat, 0.2g; sugar, 12.6g, salt, 5.9g

EXPERT VERDICT: Smoked chilli is the first ingredient on the list, followed by smoked red pepper, smoked onion, and then ‘live’, fermented ingredients including raw cider vinegar and fermented rice.

Smoked foods are not beneficial — and may even be harmful in large doses — but the fermented ingredients here may provide some good bacteria, thought to have a positive impact on our health.

But fermented foods such as kefir or kombucha would supply a much more useful dose.

You’ll also get almost half a teaspoon of sugar in a tablespoon of sauce and a lot of salt.

It’s even saltier than sea water — with almost 15 per cent of an adult’s daily limit in one tablespoon (0.9g — or the equivalent of almost two bags of ready salted crisps).

Taste TEST: Sweet and smoky with a fiery finish.2/10

THE FORAGING FOX BEETROOT KETCHUP

THE FORAGING FOX BEETROOT KETCHUP

255g, from £1.99, most supermarkets.

Per 100g: Calories, 84; saturated fat, 0.9g; sugar, 11.2g; salt, 1.1g

EXPERT VERDICT: This is free from gluten, dairy and tomatoes; it’s made with 38 per cent beetroot, instead. Beetroot is a source of antioxidants that protect cells from damage, and nitrate, thought to be beneficial for blood pressure.

Concentrated beetroot juice has also been shown to increase performance in sports — however to gain these benefits you’d need a much larger amount than a serving of this sauce provides.

This also contains rapeseed oil, which is a good source of heart-friendly omega-3 fatty acids.

Gram for gram it has almost half the calories of regular ketchup too, with half the sugar and a third less salt — although these are still quite high for a sauce.

Taste TEST: Sweet and earthy with a powerful horseradish note.8/10

FOLLOW YOUR HEART SRIRACHA VEGENAISE

FOLLOW YOUR HEART SRIRACHA VEGENAISE

340g, £4.59, ocado.com

Per 100g: Calories, 503; saturated fat, 3.7g; sugar, 5.9g; salt, 1.1g

EXPERT VERDICT: This is an egg-free, vegan version of mayonnaise flavoured with sriracha, the popular spicy Thai sauce.

It’s made with 51 per cent rapeseed oil, water, white wine vinegar, jalapeno peppers, sugar and a little pea protein for bulk, plus flavourings.

The oil provides omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, important for heart health; and also vitamin E, for healthy skin and eyes.

However, like mayonnaise, the high oil content of this gives it a hefty calorie count, with a substantial 75 calories in a tablespoon — which needs to be taken into account when you add it to meals.

Taste TEST: A thick, creamy mayo with a spicy kick. 4/10

IN THE BUFF PAPRIKA PROTEIN KETCHUP

IN THE BUFF PAPRIKA PROTEIN KETCHUP

465g, £3.99, ocado.com

Per 100g: Calories, 146; saturated fat, 0.8g; sugar, 4.6g; salt, 0.9g

EXPERT VERDICT: A spicy ketchup with a significant protein boost thanks to its 20 per cent edamame bean content and 7 per cent added plant protein so a tablespoon has 1.7g protein — nearly a third of what’s in a boiled egg — and at least six-and-a-half times more than any of the sauces here.

The sugar is mainly natural, from banana, which also gives some potassium for blood pressure, and tomato puree, a good source of lycopene that protects cells from damage. The protein and low sugar means this will have less effect on blood sugar levels.

Taste TEST: Lovely warm paprika flavour, but an odd, powdery after taste. 9/10

MAHI CAYENNE & CRANBERRY SAUCE

MAHI CAYENNE & CRANBERRY SAUCE

280g, £1.50, tesco.com

Per 100g: Calories, 198; saturated fat, 0g; sugar, 48g; salt, 2.8g

EXPERT VERDICT: Despite some health credentials — this sauce is free from 14 allergens including nuts, dairy and gluten — it’s worth noting that this is 48 per cent sugar, which is mainly added sugar and appears second on the ingredient list after vinegar.

Gram for gram, that’s almost double the amount you’ll find in regular brown sauce or ketchup — and accounts for its higher than average calorie count: around 30 calories in a tablespoon.

You’ll also get almost two teaspoons of sugar in a tablespoon of this — more than four Rich Tea biscuits’ worth.

Other ingredients include red chillies and cranberries, but these aren’t in high enough quantities to be nutritious.

It is also high in salt, with a seventh of the recommended daily limit in a tablespoon.

Taste TEST: Sticky and sweet, with aromatic spice and heat. 1/10

HUNTER & GATHER AVOCADO OIL MAYO

HUNTER & GATHER AVOCADO OIL MAYO

175g, £3.59, hollandand barrett.com

Per 100g: Calories, 765; saturated fat, 14.8g; sugar, 0.3g; salt, 0.9g

EXPERT VERDICT: The manufacturer describes this as ‘paleo and keto lifestyle-friendly’, meaning it’s made with simple, natural ingredients and is low in carbohydrates and high in heart-healthy fats.

With ‘eight avocados in every jar’, this mayonnaise is 82 per cent avocado oil, which is a good source of vitamin E — vital for skin and eye health.

Research has also shown adding avocado oil to salad can enhance the absorption of antioxidants from vegetables. Although the sugar and salt content here is low, the saturated fat content and the calorie count is high because of the oil, so use this sparingly if you’re watching your weight.

Taste TEST: Creamy with a fresh, spicy kick and just a hint of lime. 8/10

RUBIES IN THE RUBBLE BANANA KETCHUP

RUBIES IN THE RUBBLE BANANA KETCHUP

274g, £2.39, ocado.com

Per 100g: Calories, 171; saturated fat, 0g; sugar, 38g; salt, 0.25g

EXPERT VERDICT: Consisting of 67 per cent banana, this gluten-free ketchup is made with fruit that would have otherwise gone to waste.

Bananas are a good source of potassium, which is important for regulating blood pressure. It also helps muscles to contract and nerve cells to respond. There’s no added oil, but quite a lot of added sugar — which, along with the natural sweetness of the bananas, accounts for just over a teaspoon of sugar in a tablespoon.

Taste TEST: Sweet, vinegary, chutney-type flavour with a kick of ginger and chilli. 4/10

REAL GOOD SMOKEY BBQ KETCHUP

REAL GOOD SMOKEY BBQ KETCHUP

285g, £2.49, ocado.com

Per 100g: Calories, 95; saturated fat, 0.5g; sugar, 7.2g; salt, 0.24g

EXPERT VERDICT: With no added sugar and 80 per cent less salt than other smoky and BBQ ketchups, this sauce is made with plant-based ingredients and sweetened with low calorie natural sweeteners, stevia (a plant extract) and xylitol (which comes from birch trees).

With tomato paste making up the bulk of this product, it provides useful amounts of lycopene — a powerful antioxidant that gives fruit and vegetables their red colour. Lycopene is thought to protect cells from damage and is easier to absorb when tomatoes have been heated and processed.

This is relatively low in calories, and with no added sugar, is a good choice for people who need to follow a reduced sugar diet.

Taste TEST: With no sugar or salt, this tastes healthy — but a little bland. 9/10

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