Mayo: Good or Bad?

by in Healthy Tips, July 8, 2011
mayonnaise in jar
Mayonnaise: friend or foe?

It’s the quintessential “bad” food laden with artery clogging saturated fat. For years, we’ve been told to “hold the mayo,” but is it really as bad as they say?

Nutrition Lowdown
There’s no doubt that mayo is brimming with fat. One cup contains 1440 calories, 160 grams fat, and 24 grams saturated fat. It is an excellent source of vitamins E and K, but  it also contains almost 50 percent of your daily recommended amount of sodium.

Compromising Fat and Flavor
Fatty foods like mayo have flavor and mouth-feel that many folks enjoy. Adding a cup of mayo to a dish will rack up the calories quickly. So what’s a mayo-lover to do?

Moderation is one direction to take. Instead of drowning tuna or pasta salad in boatloads of mayo, use 1 tablespoon per person. One tablespoon contains 103 calories, 12 grams fat, and 2 gram saturated fat. This keeps things much more reasonable.

Mayo Alternatives
If you’re worried about too many calories or just don’t want regular mayo around, there are many alternatives available at the market. Lighter varieties use a laundry list of fat replacers (like xanthan gum and corn starch), preservatives (like citric acid), or add sugar (like high fructose corn syrup) to increase the flavor. So they may be lighter on calories, but heavier on additives.

Lighter versions

  • Light mayo: Any food labeled as “light” contains one-third fewer calories than the regular version. Per tablespoon this mayo contains 45 calories, 4.5 grams fat, and 0.5 grams saturated fat.
  • Reduced fat mayo: Any food labeled as “reduced fat” contains 25 percent or less cholesterol and 2 grams of saturated fat or less than the full fat version. Per tablespoon this mayo contains 25 calories, 2 grams fat, and no saturated fat.

Alternate oil-based mayonnaise
Canola and olive oil mayonnaise are available as “healthier” options. Both are higher in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, but the calories are the same. Additionally, olive oil mayos tend to combine olive oil with other vegetable oils so that the flavor isn’t too overpowering. Here is the nutrition info per tablespoon.

  • Canola oil mayo: 100 calories, 11 grams fat, 0.5 grams saturated fat
  • Olive oil mayo: 100 calories, 11 grams fat, 1.5 grams saturated fat
  • Reduced fat olive oil mayo: 45 calories, 4 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat.

Vegan mayonnaise
Some vegan varieties include a canola-oil based eggless mayo by Spectrum Organics. Another is soy-based mayonnaise by Nasoya, made without eggs and a variety of spices. They’re both suitable for folks who follow a vegan diet or are allergic to eggs.

  • Light canola eggless mayo: 35 calories, 3.5 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat
  • Nayonaise: 35 calories, 3.5 grams fat, 0.5 grams saturated fat

Bottom line: There’s no denying that mayo is very high in fat. That doesn’t mean you should ban it for life. It can be a part of a healthy diet when eaten in very small amounts. If you’re trying to cut calories and keep the mayo, many light and reduced fat varieties are available at the market. If you’re trying to cut back on additives, you can always make your own.

TELL US: What’s you favorite brand of mayo for our upcoming taste test?

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby’s full bio »

You Might Also Like:

More posts from .

Similar Posts

Yes, Turmeric Is the Spice of the Moment (Here’s Why)

— Long a mainstay of South Asian cooking, turmeric adds zing to curries and other dishes. But it has also been used in Eastern cultures for thousands of years for its medicinal properties. More recently, turmeric has caught the attention of Western researchers who have been studying the herb and its potential health benefits. “OneRead more

Comments (2,424)

  1. Laura says:

    There are so many alternatives to mayo! For instance, instead of using it in chicken salad try greek yogurt. Top your burgers with avocados/guacamole to get that creaminess.

  2. Kathy says:

    I love the Kraft Fat Free Mayo and have used it for years. I also like the fat free Miracle Whip if I'm looking for the lighter taste of MW. For those of you who scoff at the fat free: I have this to say, I am 64 yrs old and my cholesterol and blood sugar levels are good( even my doctor was surprised).

  3. lola miller says:

    Veganaise is the best …… I use best Foods on everything ….cold pizza ……french fries …… etc! I wa so happy to find veganaise ….. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it :) ))

  4. Colleen/PineGrove says:

    BEST FOODS for sure…ut have tried their low fat and it was abit runnier but tasty, don't think I could substitute it for the real thing and get that by my mayo loving husband.

  5. Lena says:

    I love Dukes mayo. Always have and plan to keep using it. Moderation is the key.

  6. nail says:

    I regard something genuinely interesting about your blog so I saved to bookmarks .

  7. Fat burn says:

    this web site is my inspiration , real wonderful layout and perfect subject matter.

  8. some truly wonderful info , Gladiolus I noticed this.

  9. Nancy says:

    Nothing beats Hellman's (or Best Foods in some parts of the country) in my opinion. Original full fat.

  10. I am glad to be one of several visitors on this outstanding website (:, appreciate it for posting .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>