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

Can Butter Be Part of a Healthy Diet? (Seriously, Now.)

The old butter verses margarine controversy is back in the spotlight. With many folks favoring wholesome, natural foods, margarine has now taken a backseat to butter. But can this full fat delight be part of a healthy diet?

Comments (2,425)

  1. Comment…

    More people need to read this and understand this aspect of the story. I cant believe you’re not more popular….

  2. Comment…

    You made some respectable points there. I looked on the web for the problem and located most individuals will associate with along with your website….

  3. Comment…

    I don’t think I’ve never learned anything like this before. So nice to find an individual with some original ideas on this subject. I really thank you for starting it. This website is something that’s needed on the net, someone with a bit of origina…

  4. Comment…

    I was very pleased to find this website. I wanted to thank you for your time for this excellent post!!…

  5. Specifics says:

    Comment…

    I was very pleased to find this website. I wanted to thank you for your time for this wonderful post!! I definitely enjoy reading it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you blog post….

  6. Comment…

    One of my favorite posts….

  7. Comment…

    Thanks for spending the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love reading more on this topic….

  8. Comment…

    Thanks for spending the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love reading more on this topic….

  9. Comment…

    I really like that. You touched my heart!…

  10. Comment…

    I’m impressed, I must say….

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>