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Ketchup is a staple item in everyone's kitchen, but it turns out we're not fully aware of everything the condiment has to offer.
Unfortunately, what it has offer is not actually good news.
It's an American tradition to put ketchup on hot dogs, hamburgers and french fries. It's actually the most popular condiment in the country!
So how could there possibly be anything bad about something that's so well-loved?
While some folks may jokingly claim that ketchup fulfills one of your vegetable quotas for the day, it contains a lot more than a healthy dose of tomatoes.
When you grab a bottle of Heinz ketchup, you probably never thought to take a hard look at the nutrition facts on the back. It might actually surprise you!
The list of ingredients starts off harmlessly enough:
1. Tomato concentrate from red ripe tomatoes
But here's where it starts to gets bad:
2. Distilled vinegar
3. High-fructose corn syrup (that's another way of saying sugar)
4. Corn syrup (more sugar)
7. Onion powder
8. Natural flavoring
Wait a minute. Why does ketchup even need a double dose of sugar? No wonder it's so pleasing to the palate!
As you may be aware, ingredients are required by law to be listed in order of the greatest amount to the least amount. This is measured by the weight of the ingredient, and not how much space it fills up.
However, we know that both high-fructose corn syrup and corn syrup are both just fancy names for sugar. If you combined the two together, the label might actually show that sugar is number two on the ingredient list.
If you really want an eye-opening experience, Mr. Eastcoastman did a little experiment for us. He filled up a typical 1.3 liter bottle of Heinz ketchup with the actual amount of sugar that it contains.
Guess what it came out to?
It has 33 tablespoons of sugar. That's a little over 2 cups of sugar.
A two-tablespoon serving of ketchup, which is typical squirt onto a hamburger patty, has 2 teaspoons of sugar. Yet, the American Heart Association recommends that women consume no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar on a daily basis.
In other words, a condiment that you probably never thought twice about is already taking up 1/3 of your sugar quota for the day!
Personally, I'd rather use up my sugar allowance on chocolate. This certainly makes me think twice!
You may be wondering why distilled vinegar made it to the "bad" part of the ingredients list. After all, many of us are already familiar with the health benefits of apple cider vinegar.
Unfortunately, the type of distilled vinegar that Heinz uses is not healthy. It's made from corn, in particular genetically modified corn, which Heinz openly admits to on their website!
There's been a lot of hoopla in the media lately about genetically modified foods. Opinions vary on whether these foods can harm our health.
However, the deleterious effects of Monsanto's Roundup herbicide, which are used on genetically modified crops, are now coming to light.
A carcinogenic chemical found in the herbicide, known as glyphosate, has now been found in the blood and urine of people all over the world. There have also been cases of acute toxicity attributed to this chemical. Additionally, glyphosate has been linked to autism, leaky gut syndrome, and other autoimmune disorders.
Unfortunately, you can't just wash it off and call it a day. This stuff sticks around in the environment for a very long time, and cause all sorts of other problems.
Just ask the decimated honey bee population that pollinates our food crops. About a decade ago, honey bees all over the world started to experience Colony Collapse Disorder. After coming into contact with GMO crops that were sprayed with Roundup, the bees would inadvertently bring the chemical back to the hive with them.
New baby bees were exposed to the toxic herbicide, which caused memory problems and behavior issues. In other words, that new generation of vulnerable bees weren't behaving like a bee should. They basically didn't have the wherewithal to make it as a honey bee. Then, they would die off before new hives could be created.
Remember, this same exact chemical has already been found inside of us. We didn't get it from frolicking in fields of GMO corn, either.
You may notice that near or at the bottom of the ingredient list is the healthy sounding "spices" and "natural flavoring."
Huh? What's that?
That's the problem - no one knows, except for the food manufacturers! The FDA actually allows them to get away with it, too.
Since the recipe contains proprietary information, they are allowed to hide the full ingredient list so that competitors can't duplicate it.
Nonsense! That's more of a sham to pull the wool over our eyes.
Spices can be another name MSG, which food manufacturer's know consumers don't like. So, they hide it instead.
Although "natural flavorings" have to be free of artificial colors and ingredients, it can pose a problem for vegans or vegetarians who avoid eating animal products. You might think that ketchup should be vegetarian, but that natural flavoring might contain beef!
Watch this video to learn how to make your own healthy ketchup from scratch.
Everyone needs to be aware of this. If you don't want to deal with all the sugar or mystery flavors that commercial ketchup contains, try making a homemade version.