Mayonnaise counts among the most popular food condiments around. If you use it on a regular basis, you may have asked yourself at one point or another, is mayonnaise bad for you?
Mayonnaise is one of those foods you either love or hate. Some people will slather this creamy dressing over just about anything. Whereas others will avoid any foods that have mayo in them.
I know the latter is true because I’m married to someone who avoids mayo at all costs. Even his favorite foods. Add mayo to a nice, succulent burger, he’ll pass. Or, if he’s really hungry, he’ll painstakingly wipe off all the mayonnaise from the burger and buns before eating it.
Is Mayo Good or Bad for You?
If mayonnaise is one of your favorite condiments and flavors or ingredients to cook with, you may wonder how good, or not good for you mayonnaise really is for you.
Let’s look at what’s in mayonnaise that is either beneficial to your health or may have a negative impact on it.
What’s in Mayonnaise?
The ingredients in mayo will help determine whether mayonnaise is healthy or has been deemed an unhealthy food to include in a healthy lifestyle diet.
Fortunately, there are just a few ingredients in mayo that gives it its unique flavor and thick, rich texture.
- The main ingredient is oil.
- But mayo also includes some egg yolks.
- Then there’s a little acidic liquid that could be lemon juice or vinegar.
- Finally, sometimes there might be a little mustard. But this isn’t always the case.
At least these are the ingredients of your basic mayonnaise. Some brands and stores may carry mayo with some extras like flavoring, herbs, spices or heat. Those have a bit more ingredients to them.
Mayo is made via emulsification. This is done by slowly adding the ingredients (the acid then the oil) into the eggs.
The process of emulsification, or adding emulsifiers to the ingredients, allows the liquid to bond with the oil to give mayo its consistency. Otherwise, you’ll end up with the oil separate from the rest of the mixture.
People love the fullness and flavor it can add to sandwiches, recipes and salads. But should you be eating mayonnaise? And is mayonnaise bad for you?
Pros and Cons of Eating Mayonnaise
When most people think of mayonnaise, they think of fat, and this is true.
Due to the main ingredient, oil, mayonnaise is loaded with saturated fat which we know is not good for us in high quantities.
Saturated fat is often referenced as artery clogging fat and something many people have to closely monitor in their daily diet.
Though as of late, there has been more evidence that saturated fat isn’t the evil that we’ve all believed it to be.
Pros of Mayo
Besides flavor and texture, mayonnaise does give you some nutrients that your body needs.
Mayonnaise is a good source of vitamins A and K. And one cup of mayonnaise contains about 50% of your daily sodium requirement.
Its sodium content may or may not be a good thing though, since most of us already consume too much sodium daily. But if you aren’t eating out a lot and make home-made healthy meals, the sodium should count as a good thing. Our bodies need a certain amount of sodium, which is an electrolyte, to function properly.
Another benefit of mayonnaise is that many people like to use mayonnaise in their beauty care regimen. Mayonnaise can help repair dry hair and split ends as well as it is known to kill head lice.
Bet you didn’t know that!
For softer, smoother skin, try a little mayo on your face as a mask for a few minutes a night.
Cons of Mayo
With the main ingredient in mayo being oil, you can see why just one cup of mayo would contain 1440 calories, 24 grams of saturated fats and 160 grams of fat. This adds up quickly for anyone, especially for someone carefully watching their fat and calorie intake.
As such, mayonnaise isn’t something that you should use a lot of. If you’re on a diet, it’s probably one of the first condiments to drop considering its calorie content.
The high level of fat in mayo also isn’t good for large or frequent consumption. Eating eggs in moderation is very healthy. But consuming a lot of oil isn’t. Store bought mayo aren’t made with healthy oils, so don’t expect them to do your heart or arteries any favors.
Too much mayo results in a ton of oil (and fat). Ultimately, this not only makes you gain weight but also harms your health.
For some people, mayonnaise may be hard to cut out altogether, so for those who need their mayonnaise, there are healthier alternatives you can choose from.
Mayonnaise can be bought with different oils as their base which give you healthier choices. Canola and olive oil based mayonnaise don’t harbor as much saturated fat as the traditional mayonnaise, as well as you may opt to purchase low fat mayo.
Light mayo is an option that will allow you to enjoy your mayo while giving you less calories.
Traditionally, if it reads light, you can determine there are about 25% less calories in the mayonnaise compared to the regular version.
Or, you may opt to use reduced fat mayo which gives you 25% less cholesterol and 2 grams of saturated fat in comparison to traditional mayo.
With these options, you don’t have to give up mayonnaise altogether, just enjoy in either smaller quantities or try a healthier option tailored to your health needs.