Ketchup may not be the first food that comes to mind when you think of “sugar.” Surprisingly, one tablespoon has about four grams of sugar. While that may not seem like much, consider this: one Chips Ahoy! Chocolate chip cookie has about the same amount of sugar. If you love ketchup, there’s a chance you’re consuming more than a tablespoon of it at a meal.
Eating too much sugar can increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes, so if you’re looking to decrease your daily intake, consider a type of ketchup that has less of it. Some brands, like Heinz, make reduced-sugar and no-sugar-added ketchup, and if you’re a home chef, the internet is full of sugar-free ketchup recipes. Before you ditch your favorite condiment, here’s what you should know about sugar-free and reduced-sugar ketchup.
It’s easy to eat far beyond the daily recommended intake of certain macronutrients because serving sizes can be tricky. As we mentioned, four grams of sugar isn’t a lot for one serving. However, for a small order of fries, ketchup lovers may be eating closer to three or four servings. This also goes for other dips, salad dressings, sports drinks, and fruit juice.
If you aren’t paying close attention to the serving size, you may be consuming well over the recommended amount of sugar per day. Switching to a sugar-free or low sugar alternative ensures that you can indulge in your favorites without spiking your blood sugar levels.
Keeping an eye on your sugar intake is a crucial part of staying healthy. Diabetes rates have risen globally in the last three decades, as has heart disease. Eating low-sugar diets can protect people against both heart disease and diabetes or mitigate risks for further illness in people who already have them. A doctor or nutritionist may recommend sugar-free or reduced-sugar ketchup.
The benefits of cutting down on sugar aren’t limited to lowering the risk of diabetes or heart disease. Studies suggest that eating less sugar can aid in weight loss and lower your risk of gallbladder disease. Additionally, experts share that consuming excessive amounts of refined sugar can contribute to headaches and fatigue.
Unfortunately, sugar is addictive, and quitting or reducing intake isn’t easy. When we eat sugar, our bodies release opioids and dopamine — simply put, sugar affects our brain the same way drugs do. If you are addicted or constantly craving sugar, speak with your physician who can provide you with more resources. Switching to low-sugar alternatives can help, but a health professional or dietician will ensure your diet has all the nutrients you need and less of what you don’t.
Reduced-sugar and sugar-free ketchup aren’t for everyone – if you can stick to the serving size, you can still enjoy the regular kind. However, staying aware of your sugar intake is important, so make sure that if you’re indulging in sugary ketchup, be sure to cut back on other sources of refined sugar like soda, candy, salad dressings, and even some types of bread.
To follow a healthy, balanced lifestyle, you don’t need to change your entire diet and embark on a mission to follow a Keto, Paleo, Atkins, or other fad diets. Sometimes, you simply need to find more nutritious alternatives to your favorite foods, like ketchup. If you’re unsure whether your current dietary habits are healthy for you, speak to a healthcare provider, nutritionist, or dietician for expert, individual advice.
BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring.
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