Ketchup is one of the most popular condiments in America.
Some people, especially children, love to put ketchup on just about everything. Doctors are warning people that this may have some unintended health consequences.
Many parents assume that ketchup is healthy, or at least not terrible for their children. In fact, during the Regan administration, there was an effort to reclassify ketchup as a vegetable in school lunches. Because the food is made from tomatoes, calling ketchup a vegetable made sense to certain people in Congress.
A closer look at the ingredients, however, reveals that this food is not as healthy as it seems.
In fact, it may actually lead to serious health problems in people who eat too much ketchup. Before you slather your food in this condiment, you should be very careful.
In a typical bottle of Heinz ketchup, the first ingredient you see listed is tomato concentrate. People naturally assume that this means tomatoes make up the majority of ingredients that go into ketchup. But a closer look reveals that this isn’t the case.
The full list of the ingredients is as follows: distilled vinegar, high-fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, salt, spices, onion powder, and natural flavoring.
Do you notice anything odd about that list? Something should jump right out at you.
You’ll notice that “high-fructose corn syrup” and “corn syrup” are two ingredients listed separately. While they may be two different ingredients, they are essentially the same thing: sugar. They are listed separately to confuse people about just how much sugar is in ketchup.
By some estimates, there are 2 cups of sugar in a 1.3 liter bottle of Heinz ketchup.
That equals about 33 tablespoons in the bottle and two tablespoons of sugar per serving. That’s a lot of sugar to unwittingly eat.
Some critics allege that this all done in an effort to get children addicted to ketchup. The sugar triggers pleasure centers in the brain that causes children to crave ketchup. Ketchup manufacturers dismiss this as a conspiracy theory and say the sugar is only added for flavor.
It is true, however, that sugar can cause addictive behavior.
It works in a similar way as drugs like cocaine, which activates the reward center in the brain. If eaten too often, it’s entirely possible for someone to crave sugar, especially children.
Doctors are raising this concern, urging parents to seek healthier alternatives to regular ketchup.
Some manufacturers make all-natural ketchup or sugar-free ketchup which cuts out the high-fructose corn syrup. These ketchups dramatically reduce the amount of sugar your child will eat, especially if they’re the type of child who puts ketchup on everything.
It’s important for parents to closely monitor the amount of sugar their children eat. Sugar is linked to obesity and the health problems that come with it, including diabetes. Your child may be eating far too much sugar without you realizing it. By carefully reading ingredients on foods and looking for hidden sugars, you can be sure you are doing everything possible to feed your child a healthy diet.