The Hidden Calories in Condiments

The Hidden Calories in CondimentsCondiments have been (and remain to be) a staple on many foods including cheeseburgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, and for when we eat raw vegetables.  However, what are the purposes of condiments?  For many, a condiment is used to enhance the flavor or to add flavor to a particular item.  For some, a condiment is used to prevent a food from being dry or simply to make certain foods taste better (vegetables get this rep).  Regardless of the purposes, do you know all what is in your favorite condiments?

We have all been down the “condiments” aisle in the grocery store.  We know what we are looking for when we go down this aisle, but one thing we often do not see are the hidden calories in each serving of these particular items.  Looking on the food label of these items will reveal what constitutes the flavor enhancers, meaning the calories per serving.  For many of these items, a serving can range from five calories all the way to about 90 calories, depending on the item.  But when you look closer at condiments and how much you eat, add up how many servings you actually eat in a day.  Write down each condiment source and the amount of servings you have (yes this means using a tablespoon to measure mayo) and sum the calories for the day.  What does your caloric content total each day?  Is it over 300 calories daily?  Under?  Listed below are some favorite condiments that are used to enhance the flavor of your foods along with the amount of calories per serving.  The idea of listing these is to help direct your mind away from using these items to save on the total number of calories consumed every day.

The Hidden Calories in Condiments

  • This seems to be the favorite in the condiments competition.  Mayonnaise, or mayo, can contain up to 100 calories per tablespoon, with most of these calories being from fat [1].  Upon doing your due diligence with this product, you find the suggested serving is two tablespoons on the label.  Great, now you are “allowed” to have 200 calorie servings for this product.  After measuring your typical serving size, maybe you find out that you put two tablespoons on each slice of bread (or on the other half of your sub sandwich), totaling 400 calories and you haven’t even eaten any bread.  If you can, avoid this condiment and consider other options for enhancing flavor with your sandwiches, hot dogs, or hamburgers.  At the minimum, you can save yourself 200 calories per serving.
  • What is the purpose of butter?  We butter potatoes, bread, waffles, bagels, muffins, and many more.  If you notice a trend in what we butter, you may realize that the buttered items are carbohydrate-rich foods, so they do not need any more flavor enhancers.  A typical serving of butter (not buttery spread) contains over 100 calories [2]. Honestly, have you ever measured one tablespoon of butter?  Pretty hard to measure and it does not cover the area for which you are covering, meaning more than one serving is required.  Skip butter at possible change you get so that you save at least 100 calories.
  • Half and Half. Why do we add creamer (half and half) to our coffee?  Isn’t the whole idea of drinking coffee to get as much caffeine as possible into our systems?  Adding half and half only dilutes the coffee, which takes away from your caffeine buzz, meaning you need a large quantity.  A typical serving of two tablespoons of half and half contains about 40 calories, and many individuals prefer to have loads of creamer in their coffee [3].  Try your coffee black and have a smaller serving size for your caffeine fix; you may be surprised on the savings in your wallet and in your weight.  Remember, the less dilute the coffee, the quicker you get your caffeine fix.
  • Barbeque Sauce. This is a summer time favorite and can be on many dishes including ribs, chicken, and on anything in barbeque outings.  A typical serving has 100 calories and loads of sodium, but the truth is a little can go a long way.  If you are looking to watch what you eat, try adding Worcestershire sauce to your barbequed food to enhance flavor and save the calories.
  • If you use any condiments, mustard should be your choice.  It typically has about five calories per teaspoon serving and has plentiful flavor.  Be aware; however, if you squeeze too much mustard on your food, you could load up on calories in a hurry.  Be mindful not to eat twenty teaspoons to your food to avoid a calorie trap (this is easy to do).  Otherwise, enjoy this condiment.







About the Author

, Celebrity Personal Trainer and Fitness & Nutrition Expert headquartered in Scottsdale, AZ. He specializes in helping men and women achieve weight loss, muscle building, toning and other customized fitness & nutrition programs to create a Healthy Lifestyle. James offers private luxury personal training, 12-week custom workout plans, and personalized nutrition meal plans. Follow on Google+.

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