Taste Test: Mayonnaise by Toby Amidor in Grocery Shopping, Taste Test, October 14, 2011
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Our Healthy Eats readers had lots to say about the mayo debate, where we discussed whether or not this condiment is healthy. But with so many varieties of mayo to choose from, taste was a concern too. Taste testing 5 jars of mayo is no easy feat, but someone had to do it.
It’s All About Portions
It’s okay to eat mayo! Just don’t eat it by the cupful or you’ll be downing 1440 calories and 160 grams fat. If you want to use the real deal — full fat mayonnaise, then be sure to keep portions in check at 1 to 2 tablespoons per serving. One tablespoon of mayonnaise contains 103 calories, 12 grams fat, and 2 grams saturated fat.
For this taste test, we rated the mayo based on taste, texture, ingredients and nutritional information including calories, fat and saturated fat. Each sample was rated on a 5-point scale (5 being the highest). Since most folks don’t eat spoonfuls of plain mayo, we tasted it on a slice of deli turkey.
Hellman’s Reduced Fat Mayonnaise with Olive Oil
Cost: $0.21 per fluid ounce
Nutrition Info (per tablespoon): 40 calories; 4 grams fat; 0.5 grams saturated fat
Our Take: Hellman’s only makes a reduced fat version with olive oil, so that’s what we tested. The title is a bit misleading since the mayo isn’t exclusively made with olive oil. Soybean oil is listed as the second ingredient, right after water. Extra virgin olive oil is listed as the fourth. The consistency is very close to regular, full fat mayo, as was the flavor. Overall, this was the favorite of the bunch in terms of calories, taste and cost. The only drawback: a few unpronounceable ingredients are used to preserve and thicken the mayo.
Cost: $0.18 per fluid ounce
Nutrition Info (per tablespoon): 90 calories; 10 grams fat; 1.5 grams saturated fat
Our Take: It’s a classic mayo from a brand we’re all familiar with. The texture is thick and creamy with a delicious aftertaste. It’s primarily made from soybean oil with a few preservatives and flavors added. One difference from the other varieties, it contains 25 percent of your daily dose of vitamin K.
Spectrum Canola Mayonnaise
Cost: $0.47 per fluid ounce
Nutrition Info (per tablespoon): 100 calories; 11 grams fat; 0.5 grams saturated fat
Our Take: Although this mayo is made from heart-healthy canola oil, it contains the highest amount of fat and calories per tablespoon. The label boasts that it has 1,040 milligrams of omega-3’s per serving. The flavor was not as creamy as traditional mayo, but overall had a decent flavor. One huge drawback, it was by far the most expensive mayo per fluid ounce.
Smart Balance Omega Plus Light Mayonnaise Dressing
Cost: $0.21 per fluid ounce
Nutrition Info (per tablespoon): 50 calories; 4.5 grams fat; 0 grams saturated fat
Our Take: This mayo contains 500 milligrams of ALA omega-3 fats, which is 30 percent of your recommended daily dose. Although ALA omega-3’s are healthy, they’re not as potent as other forms of omega-3 fats (EPA and DHA) found in fatty fish. The taste, however didn’t measure up to the previous 2 brands and the laundry list of additives needed to reduce the fat is a big turnoff.
Nasoya’s Nayonaise Fat Free
Cost: $0.34 per fluid ounce
Nutrition Info (per tablespoon): 10 calories; 0 grams fat; 0 grams saturated fat
Our Take: Although we could only get our hands on the fat free version, Nayonaise was very popular brand mentioned by our Healthy Eats readers. The nutrition info for the original variety isn’t much different with 35 calories, 3.5 grams fat, and 0.5 grams saturated fat per tablespoon. Nayonaise is vegan, egg-free and contains no cholesterol. The ingredient list contains a multitude of pronounceable, familiar ingredients like mustard seed, cane syrup and onion powder. The texture, however, didn’t compare to regular mayo; it was somewhat watery, and not very creamy.
TELL US: What’s your favorite mayo?
Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby’s full bio »