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Is Tomato Ketchup a Healthy Condiment?

Oct 4, 2010

Chances are, if you have ever eaten french fries, hot dogs or a hamburger, you have also had tomato ketchup. While this condiment is quite delicious, it is not necessarily very healthy for you. Be sure to understand the nutritional truths behind ketchup before choosing it for you and your family.

Tomato Content

As the name suggests, one of the primary components of tomato ketchup is tomatoes. Tomatoes are important for both good health and optimal growth for a number of reasons. First, tomatoes contain several important vitamins and minerals that are essential for your body to function properly. Secondly, tomatoes contain high amounts of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber has been linked not only to the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease, stroke and some types of cancer, but has also been found to be actually quite beneficial for you if you are interested in weight loss.

Sodium Content

While tomato ketchup does contain high amounts of tomatoes, it also contains quite a bit of salt. Most people avoid salt in an effort to prevent water retention. And, while sodium is the main culprit in water retention, it is also to blame for a number of other serious health concerns. Namely, sodium has been found to contribute to high blood pressure, as well as damage to arterial walls. Both of these factors can result in severe cardiovascular disease, stroke, heart attacks, and in extreme cases, can even lead to possible death. In general, you should avoid salt whenever possible in order to achieve optimal health.

High Fructose Corn Syrup Content

Tomato ketchup has also been found to contain high amounts of high fructose corn syrup. While you may have heard of this ingredient, chances are that you are not actually aware of what it is, or how it can affect your health. High fructose corn syrup is a product that comes from corn, and is typically used as a sugar substitute.

This product can be dangerous for a number of reasons. First, it is vey high in calories, and therefore can contribute to weight gain and possible obesity. One of the other ways in that high fructose corn syrup is dangerous is that it can wreck havoc with your blood sugar levels. Since the sugar in the product is digested rapidly, it produces a huge blood sugar spike, and subsequently a relatively rapid drop. This can cause feelings of dizziness, nausea and fatigue, not to mention the damage that it can do to people who are suffering from diabetes.

The Verdict

The benefits of tomato ketchup do not outweigh the risks. The high sodium and corn syrup content are enough to severely damage your health. For best results, look for salt-free ketchup...or even better, avoid it all-together.

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