What sauces and condiments are dangerous to eat: contain harmful ingredients

Олег ШвецОлег Швец

What sauces and condiments are dangerous to eat: contain harmful ingredients
What sauces and condiments are dangerous to eat: contain harmful ingredients



Spices, herbs, sauces and seasonings have been used by mankind since the times of ancient Egypt, India and China. They create a special flavor, taste and appearance of dishes from chefs around the world. In addition, many of them have important and often underestimated health benefits. But the opposite is also true: certain condiments and sauces can contain, and often in large quantities, harmful ingredients, such as salt, sugar, and food additives.

If you try to make a list of only those spices, sauces, and condiments that have a positive impact on health, you should include the following examples, which have an optimal combination of taste and nutritional value:


Traditional pesto is a sauce made from fresh basil leaves, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and pine nuts. Pesto is a good source of zinc, a mineral essential for strong immunity and wound healing. 50 grams of this sauce provides 8% of the basic daily intake of this mineral.

Due to its high zinc content, pesto is worth considering for vegetarians who need 50% more zinc per day due to reduced absorption of zinc from plant sources. At the same time, this sauce may not be suitable for strict vegetarians, as the cheese in its composition is often made using rennet obtained from calf stomachs.

Pesto can be added to baked chicken, used as a pasta sauce, or spread on whole grain bread.


Low-calorie tomato sauce. Two tablespoons (30 ml) of salsa contain only 10 calories. It is a healthy alternative to high-calorie salad dressings and is also good with scrambled eggs. Pay attention to the label and choose salsa with low salt content and no added sugar.


Tahini is a Middle Eastern sauce made from ground sesame seeds. It is especially rich in vegetable protein. 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of tahini provides more than 5 grams of this nutrient - or 8% of the basic daily value for an adult weighing 80 kg.

Tahini tastes great in homemade salad dressings and can be spread on toast with a pinch of cinnamon.


Mustard is made from mustard seeds, distilled vinegar, garlic powder, turmeric, lemon juice, and salt. It is low in calories: 2 teaspoons (10 grams) of yellow mustard has only 6 calories. In addition, most varieties of mustard contain turmeric. Curcumin, found in turmeric, has shown strong anti-inflammatory benefits in many studies.

Mustard is a healthy addition to homemade salad dressings, marinades, and eggs. It also adds a flavorful crust to salmon or chicken baked in the oven.


A popular Korean dish made from fermented vegetables. There are many varieties of kimchi, but the main ingredients are usually cabbage, garlic, onion, chili, and salt.

Thanks to the fermented cabbage, kimchi is a great source of probiotics. These beneficial bacteria live in your gut and provide many health benefits. Eating probiotic-rich foods like kimchi has a positive effect on the composition of gut bacteria, improves your blood cholesterol profile, stimulates your immune system, and promotes healthy skin.

Kimchi can be used in noodles, rice, or sandwiches.


A low-calorie product, 50 grams contains about 8 calories. Sauerkraut is also rich in beneficial probiotics: in one study, more than 28 different probiotic bacterial strains were found in it.

Sauerkraut can be added to a salad or sandwich.


Hummus is made from chickpeas, tahini, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. In addition to vegetable protein, it is rich in fiber, a nutrient that promotes satiety and healthy digestion. 100 grams of hummus contains more than 6 grams of fiber, so it is classified as a high-fiber food. Chickpeas are also a good source of magnesium and folic acid.

Hummus tastes good with vegetables, pita bread, and can be used as a healthier alternative to mayonnaise.


The classic guacamole contains mashed avocado, onion, garlic, lime juice and salt. Avocados are a great source of healthy fats, fiber, and many nutrients. Just half an avocado provides almost 5 grams of fiber and more than 15% of the basic daily value of folic acid. Regular consumption of this fruit helps to lower cholesterol levels.

Guacamole replaces salad dressing, can be spread on toast or used as a hearty vegetable sauce.


It is the best healthy alternative to most cream-based condiments. The best option is classic Greek yogurt, without added sugar.

This yogurt is an excellent source of calcium and is high in protein, which helps reduce hunger and promotes muscle growth. 200 grams of Greek yogurt contains almost 20 grams of protein.

Use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream or mayonnaise. It can be added to baked potatoes or to homemade vegetable sauce.


Nut butters, such as peanut butter and almond butter, can be a nutritious addition to many meals and snacks. Nut butters are rich in protein: 2 tablespoons (32 grams) provide an average of 7 grams of protein. The same serving contains about 25% of the basic daily value of magnesium, a mineral essential for dozens of biochemical reactions in the body.

Nut butters, such as peanut, almond, and cashew, are delicious with toast or crackers. Look for nut butters with no added sugar and enjoy them in moderation.


Apple cider vinegar is made from fermented apple juice. It can improve blood sugar control after a meal, which is especially helpful for diabetics.

Add a drizzle of apple cider vinegar to a green leafy salad, mix it with homemade salad dressing, or use it in a spicy marinade.


Unpasteurized and minimally processed honey is rich in antioxidants, which help prevent free radical damage to cells in your body. It also contains anti-inflammatory and antibacterial compounds.

Honey can be used to sweeten tea, yogurt, or fruit dishes. However, honey consumption should be as limited as sugar consumption - in general, you should eat less than 25 grams per day of sugar, honey, and other free sugars.


This is a deactivated yeast that is often used as a seasoning in vegan cooking. They are characterized by a high content of vitamin B12, which is necessary for cell division, B for energy production and the functioning of the nervous system. Two tablespoons (10 grams) of nutritional yeast provide 200% of the basic daily value of vitamin B12. Some varieties of nutritional yeast are enriched with additional B vitamins during processing, which increases the content of vitamin B12.

Nutritional yeast can be used as a non-dairy alternative to cheese in vegan soups and sauces. It can be sprinkled over scrambled eggs or baked potatoes.


This product does not have the best reputation. But it has healthy benefits, especially if the cows were fed grass. Compared to regular butter, butter from grass-fed cows can contain 500% more linoleic acid conjugated with fatty acids (CLA). It also contains more omega-3 fatty acids, known for their anti-inflammatory benefits.

Butter can be used to improve the flavor and texture of vegetables, fish, or with whole grain bread. It should be consumed in moderation - 20-25 grams per day.


A versatile and healthy condiment that can be consumed daily. Rich in vitamin C, the juice of one lemon provides 25% of the basic daily value of this vitamin. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that benefits your skin, immune system and heart health. Vitamin C in lemon juice also improves the absorption of iron from plant foods.

Lemon juice is a great addition to seafood, salad dressings, and vegetable dishes.


A dark vinegar made from grapes. It is rich in antioxidants, in particular polyphenolic antioxidants such as flavonoids, gallic acid, and caffeic acid. They protect cells from damage and prevent the oxidation of LDL (atherogenic cholesterol), which helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Drizzle balsamic vinegar over vegetables before roasting, mix it with olive oil to make a balsamic salad dressing, or add it to homemade bruschetta.


Most varieties of this sauce contain chili or cayenne pepper, vinegar, and salt. Hot sauce is a great way to add flavor without a lot of calories. One teaspoon (5 ml) of red hot sauce contains only 6 calories. In addition, capsaicin, a compound in chili peppers, has anti-inflammatory properties and may help promote weight loss.

Hot sauce is added to many dishes, including scrambled eggs, baked potatoes or meat.


This sauce is considered an essential component of the Mediterranean diet, one of the best models of healthy eating. The main ingredients of sofrito are garlic, onions, peppers and tomatoes cooked in olive oil.

The sauce is suitable for many dishes (pasta, legumes, poultry, etc.). It is recommended to consume two servings of sofrito per week.


It has a richer flavor than regular sesame oil.

Sesame oil has anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce LDL (bad cholesterol) levels.

Toasted sesame oil is good to use as a finishing touch to cooking. For example, drizzle it over steamed vegetables and noodles to get a pronounced nutty flavor.


Known for its powerful nutritional properties. Numerous studies have shown the benefits of using olive oil to support heart health and reduce inflammation. This is largely due to its rich antioxidant content, which helps reduce cellular damage in your body.

The oil is best used in recipes that don't require processing to preserve its nutrients. For example, drizzle over boiled pasta, vegetables, or seafood.


A Japanese sauce made from fermented soybeans. It differs from traditional soy sauce in its thicker texture, darker color, and richer flavor.

Tamari contains about 45% more protein than traditional soy sauce. Two tablespoons (30 ml) of tamari provides almost 4 grams of protein. Most types of this sauce are also gluten-free.

Tamari can be added to any dish instead of soy sauce. It makes a good dressing for salads and noodles. Pay attention to the salt content of all types of soy sauces.

You should limit the use of sauces and condiments with excessive amounts of unhealthy ingredients:

- Low-fat salad dressing. Despite being lower in calories, low-fat dressings often contain more added sugar and salt than their naturally fatty counterparts.

- Barbecue sauce. This sauce often contains a lot of sugar: 2 tablespoons (30 ml) contain more than 11 grams (3 teaspoons).

- Sweet syrup. Often contains high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Excessive consumption of HFCS has been linked to heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Use maple syrup as a healthier alternative.

- Margarine. Many margarine products contain traces of trans fats. Many studies have linked this type of fat to heart disease. Instead, use healthy fats like olive oil or butter.

- Teriyaki sauce. Contains a lot of sodium, just 2 tablespoons (30 ml) provide more than 60% of the basic daily value of this mineral. Diets high in sodium are associated with chronic diseases such as heart disease and stroke.

- Artificial sweeteners. Some studies have linked zero calorie sweeteners to obesity.