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Have you ever stopped and wondered, how many calories are in your $1.80 guacamole from that popular Mexican style grill? Or in the mountains of ketchup that you have with your burger and fries?

At the height of grilling season, we thought that you might want to know the dietary details in your dips. By utilizing nutrition labels, and popularity, we selected ten separate dipping sauces and examined the caloric intake in one tablespoon. We chose some condiments like name brand mustard, ketchup, and mayonnaise because of popularity, while others were for caloric content. After selecting all the sauces and dips, it was time to get down to the nitty gritty and crack the code on these tasty condiments that we all love to dip in to!

When looking at popular burger menus, many take a large dip into your daily intake of sodium and calories. The Thousand Island Dressing included on some sandwiches increases the calories of the melt sandwich to almost 1,000.

condimentsUtilizing nutrition value labels, we compiled two graphs showing calories and sodium. The  graph shows four sauces contained over 45 calories per tablespoon. Thousand Island dressing was the highest with 130, while mayonnaise had 90, Ranch contained 70, and cheese dip or queso had 46. Each dip really packed a caloric punch for your average eater. The impact of these choices could, over time, result in weight gain. The American Heart Association recommends a 2,000-calorie diet, so with the additions of these dips, those 2,000 calories do not go as far. The healthier caloric dips were hummus, BBQ, guacamole, ketchup, salsa, and mustard.

Second, we tracked the sodium in a tablespoon of dip. The graph shows the rising level of sodium in the various dips and sauces examined. Each dip contained sodium, but some packed a larger punch. The worst offender was Thousand Island dressing. It containedInfograph Dip! (1) 290 mg of sodium per tablespoon, which is one fifth of your daily allowance based off The American Heart Association’s 1,500 milligrams or less recommendation. Some other hard hitters were cheese dip, mustard, ketchup, BBQ and ranch, which all had over 100 mg of sodium per tablespoon. Many people assume that fat-free means healthy, however, it can mean higher sodium to increase taste rather than improve health. So, if you are watching sodium consider a very low sodium or sodium free option!

The last component of the dip analysis was fat! The fat in many dips is low or minimal, but four dips made their mark, including the Thousand Island dressing. With nearly 11 grams of fat per tablespoon, the Thousand Island dressing topped the list in fat, as well as sodium and calories! Thousand Island dressing is the least healthy dipping sauce you could select. Salsa, hummus, and guacamole are all low in fat, calories, and sodium making them the best choices. With any dip, from ranch to guacamole, the key is portion control. A tablespoon of dip is not what we are accustomed to, so measure before you serve! Consider squirting out your regular personal serving of ketchup and then measuring it into teaspoons or tablespoons. How much do you use? When thinking about whether to dip or not to dip, consider all components of health – be it sodium, fat, or calories, and then dip in with moderation.

 

Writer: Ryan Kline, Student Intern, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ross County, kline.375@osu.edu.

Editor: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, barlage.7@osu.edu.

Reviewer: Misty Harmon, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, harmon.416@osu.edu.

Sources:

American Heart Association: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/The-American-Heart-Associations-Diet-and-Lifestyle-Recommendations_UCM_305855_Article.jsp#.WyPS-1VKh9M

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/Sodium-and-Salt_UCM_303290_Article.jsp#.WyPTblVKh9M

National Public Radio: https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2014/03/28/295332576/why-we-got-fatter-during-the-fat-free-food-boom

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