The Ugly of Ketchup

Is Ketchup bad for you? 

“Pass the ketchup, please.”
   “Would you like some ketchup with your fries?”
      “Ketchup on your burger, ma’am?”

Sounds very familiar???


Yes, it’s true. Whether Asian or Americans like to put ketchup on everything – meat, vegetables, burger…


Now, I am right there with you. I love my sauces and condiments! They can turn a mediocre meal into a stunning meal worth remembering. That said, I think that today we should take a closer look at America’s favorite condiment (up there with mustard, I’m sure) – ketchup. Knowledge is power, right?


Let’s now dig into the ugly of ketchup.

  • Ketchup comes from tomatoes, and tomatoes are good for you, right? Okay, on the surface, I’m with you on this one.
  • Ketchup makes kids eat food they might not otherwise eat. Really, you know it’s true.
  • It’s easy, plain and simple! Just grab the bottle out of the refrigerator, or the little packets that restaurant fast food joints so freely hand out. We all like easy.
  • Well, it just tastes good!


Let’s take a closer look at those ingredients listed below:
Tomato concentrate

High fructose corn syrup
Corn syrup

Tomato concentrate– This is basically taking tomatoes and cooking them down, straining them to remove seeds and skin, and cooking them again. This takes place over several hours at very high heat…essentially removing many of the good vitamins and minerals that tomatoes naturally contain.


High fructose corn syrup (HFCS)– This little booger of an ingredient is found in just about everything: soft drinks, salad dressing, cereal, the list goes on and on. “They” want us to believe that it’s really not that bad for us. 


HFCS is sugar, nothing more and nothing less. Well, that’s not exactly true. HFCS has a higher amount of fructose, which is bad. Fructose tells a part of our brains that we are hungry. So, the more HFCS we eat, the more we want to eat. HFCS popping up in pretty much every boxed item at the grocery store is being directly correlated with increasing rates of obesity and type II diabetes.

And this is the second ingredient on my bottle of ketchup, which means the amount in my ketchup is second only to tomatoes. 


Vinegar– I don’t have a lot to say about this ingredient (yet). Vinegar is actually good for a lot of things that ail you. Let’s move on.


Corn syrup– Wait a minute! Didn’t we just talk about corn syrup!? Yes, we did. This is not HFCS, but is a cousin of HFCS. So, yes…more corn syrup.


Salt– Again, a no brainer. Too much salt (most of us know) is bad for us.


Onion powder– I like onions and I like onion powder. I don’t have a (major) problem with this ingredient either (keep reading).


Let’s now dig into the ugly ketchup:

Do you know what a GMO is?

GMOs are Genetically Modified Organism

 Let’s just say that GMOs are scary, Frankenstein foods. We need to avoid them as much as we can.

According to the Non-GMO Project,

Most developed nations do not consider GMOs to be safe. In nearly 50 countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, there are significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs.


So, how about in Asia? GMOs are completely legal here and are actually considered “safe” by our government.


At least 70% and up to 85% (there are conflicting reports) of ALL corn grown is GMO. So, how many of the 8 ingredients in my ketchup contain corn? I can say with 99% certainty that at least 5 ingredients come from corn.

  • Tomato concentrate (not only are the tomatoes themselves are likely GMOs, this concentrate almost certainly contains citric acid meant to preserve the ketchup, which is derived from corn, because it is cheap)
  • HFCS
  • Vinegar (almost always made from rye and corn, because they are cheap)
  • Corn syrup
  • Salt (standard table salt is iodized, which means it contains dextrose, which means it is derived from corn)

Onion powder also contains corn (calcium silicate is the typical anti-caking agent found in many spices, which is derived from corn) and there’s a possibility (we just don’t know!) that spices and natural flavors also contain corn.

Remember, up to 80% of our corn is GMO corn. That is why I say this is the ugly part about ketchup. It is very likely that out of the 8 ingredients in my ketchup, 8 contain corn, therefore containing GMOs.


So, how is that bottle of ketchup (err corn, sugar, & GMOs) treating you (& your family)???


Alright, I just went all doomsday there on you…explaining that our good old “friend” ketchup is basically a bottle of sugar and GMO corn.

Never Fear! I have solutions! 

Here’s a tasty Ketchup recipe!


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[tasty-recipe id=”11953″]


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Do you make your own home-made ketchup? Will you try Lacto-Fermenting it next time?  How do you like to prepare them?

I would like to love you share your comments!

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To Your Health Longevity & Vitality,

Jesslyn Lim

Integrative Nutrition & Life Coach | Aromatherapist




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