Health Benefits of Condiments, Sauces, and Flavorings

Not all flavorings are created equal! Before you top your dish with mayo, ketchup, soy sauce, or other condiments, check out how they may affect your health.

Condiments aren’t just toppings, they are food — with calorie counts. Using condiments, as well as other sauces and flavorings, can add dimension to a dish, but if you’re not careful with what you choose and how much you use, they can also add a lot of extra calories and get in the way of your weight-loss program. But not all condiments are created equal. While a tablespoon of creamy salad dressing typically has 80 calories and a tablespoon of regular mayonnaise contains a whopping 100 calories, you can dress up a dish using condiments that have intense taste but minimal calories, like mustard (only nine to 15 calories per tablespoon), reduced-fat mayo (around 25 calories per tablespoon), light salad dressing (typically 15 to 25 calories per tablespoon), pickle relish (14 calories per tablespoon), reduced-sodium soy sauce (three calories per teaspoon), and hot pepper sauce (one calorie per teaspoon), among others. However, if you do choose to use a calorie-laden condiment, be prudent when pouring or spreading it on.

In general, condiments do not offer high nutritional value on their own, but they can certainly make foods that are already nutrient-dense more flavorful. Be aware that some condiments, sauces, and flavorings may trigger migraine headaches or IBS, and some may contain gluten, which exacerbates symptoms of celiac disease.