For individuals, does knowing about food condiments nutritional values help with overall health?

Food Condiments and Overall Health

Food Condiments

Condiment options go beyond the standard mayonnaise, ketchup, and mustard. Today there are various options to use as toppers, to marinate, tenderize, increase flavor, and add an appeal to the dish. Most condiments don’t provide much nutrition, but some do contain healthy ingredients like herbs, spices, ?heart-healthy fats, and antioxidants.


The food condiments that are made the healthiest are those that are low in calories and unhealthy fat and they are made with less or no processed additives and quality ingredients that provide health benefits.

Pico de Gallo

  • This is a low-calorie, low-fat, nutrient-dense salsa that can zest up any meal.
  • It is made with tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, and lime.
  • Easily make your own to control sodium levels.
  • Top salads, vegetables, or protein with the salsa to add flavor.
  • Use as a dip for fresh raw vegetables as a snack.


  • Mustard is a very low-calorie – 5 calories in 1 teaspoon, low-carbohydrate, and fat-free condiment that can increase the flavor of food by adding a sweet, sour, or spicy kick.
  • Most traditional mustards – yellow and spicy – are made with mustard seed, distilled vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, spices, and turmeric.
  • This means that mustard contains little or insignificant calories, fat, protein, and carbohydrate in one serving.
  • Studies have shown that turmeric can provide health benefits from a compound called curcumin.
  • Preclinical studies suggest that curcumin can act as an antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and neuroprotective properties. (Abrahams S, et al., 2019)
  • Flavored mustards, like ?honey flavor, can contain added sugars, therefore, it is recommended to read the label before eating.
  • According to the USDA, 1 teaspoon of spicy mustard contains 5 calories, 60mg sodium, and no fat, carbohydrates, fiber, protein, or sugar. (FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2021)


  • Balsamic, red or white wine, or apple cider vinegar can be used on side dishes, salads, sandwiches, and to marinate.
  • This condiment ranges from 0 calories to 10 calories per tablespoon and contains no sodium.
  • Studies have shown that apple cider vinegar can reduce fasting blood sugar in individuals at risk for type 2 diabetes. (Johnston CS, Quagliano S, White S. 2013)

Hot Sauce

  • Hot sauce is made from red chili peppers.
  • Top eggs, vegetables, or whole grains with a few dashes.
  • Studies suggest that adding spice can help satisfy hunger, help curb appetite and possibly speed up metabolism. (Emily Siebert, et al., 2022)
  • Read labels as sauces can contain added sugars.


  • Because of its carbohydrate and sugar content, ketchup is a condiment that needs to be portion-controlled, especially for individuals with diabetes who are following a modified nutritional plan.
  • Ketchup contains 17 calories, 5 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of carbohydrates in one tablespoon. (FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2020)
  • Individuals are recommended to stick to one portion and choose a ketchup that is not made with high fructose corn syrup.


Unhealthy food condiments are high in calories, sodium, fat, and/or sugar in a single serving.

Creamy Salad Dressing


  • Mayonnaise can be extremely high in calories for a small portion.
  • Despite being made from whole ingredients like egg yolks, olive oil, and vinegar,
  • One tablespoon is 94 calories and 10 grams of fat. (FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2020)
  • Although much of the fat is unsaturated/healthy type, it can be hard to portion control this food condiment, which can result in excess calorie intake.

Barbecue Sauce

  • Barbecue sauce is moderate in calories, around 60 in two tablespoons, but it can contain a large amount of sodium and sugar.
  • Most brands can contain 10 to 13 grams of sugar/equivalent to 3 teaspoons and 280 to 350 milligrams of sodium.
  • The recommended serving size is two tablespoons.
  • Individuals trying to watch calorie and sugar intake are recommended to stick to one serving.

Sour Cream

  • Sour cream contains 60 calories and 6 grams of fat in two tablespoons.
  • About half of the fat in sour cream is saturated. (FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2020)
  • Regularly consuming saturated fat has been linked with heart disease, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
  • A healthy substitute for sour cream can be a tablespoon or two of low-fat or non-fat plain Greek yogurt.

Regardless of the healthy or non-healthy food condiments, it is recommended not to drown the food in them and stick to the recommended serving sizes.

Benefits of Healthy Diet and Chiropractic Care


Abrahams, S., Haylett, W. L., Johnson, G., Carr, J. A., & Bardien, S. (2019). Antioxidant effects of curcumin in models of neurodegeneration, aging, oxidative and nitrosative stress: A review. Neuroscience, 406, 1–21.

Spicy brown mustard. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Johnston CS, Quagliano S, White S. Vinegar ingestion at mealtime reduced fasting blood glucose concentrations in healthy adults at risk for type 2 diabetes. J Funct Foods. 2013;5(4):2007-2011. doi:10.1016/j.jff.2013.08.003

Siebert, E., Lee, S. Y., & Prescott, M. P. (2022). Chili pepper preference development and its impact on dietary intake: A narrative review. Frontiers in nutrition, 9, 1039207.

Ketchup. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Caesar dressing. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Vinaigrette. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Mayonnaise. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Sour cream, regular. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture.


Professional Scope of Practice *

The information herein on "Food Condiments and Overall Health" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

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