Your love for ketchup makes perfect sense — the condiment is almost entirely sugar



Your love for ketchup makes perfect sense — the condiment is almost entirely sugar
Source: AP
Source: AP

Dousing burgers, hot dogs and french fries with ketchup sure is tasty, but your ketchup obsession has some real sugary consequences. 

Every tablespoon of the condiment contains roughly 3.62 grams of sugar, according to the US Department of Agriculture. Since a gram of sugar is roughly 4 calories, that means 14.4 of the 17 calories in a tablespoon are from sugar. 

But realistically, nobody's eating a single tablespoon of the french fry's BFF. The average American consumes 71 pounds of ketchup a year, according to a Mint.com study, Foodbeast reported. Crunch the numbers and that comes out to over one pound (454 grams) of ketchup a week, and 454 grams of ketchup contains... wait for it... a whopping 99 grams of sugar. Using 4 grams of sugar per tablespoon (the amount per tablespoon for Heinz ketchup) and you're looking at over 100 grams of sugar each week. FYI, that's the roughly the amount sugar you'd ingest from a whole pint of Chubby Hubby Ben & Jerry's.

Source: Giphy

BTW: A single-serving packet of Heinz has 2 grams of sugar and 10 calories. If you typically squeeze out four packets for your fries and two for your burger, you may want to pump the brakes — you're consuming 12 grams of sugar. 


If you only need one of these for a serving of fries, you might be a saint.
Source: 
Nati Harnik/AP

What gives? Multiple sources of sugar, that's what. Here are the ingredients for Heinz ketchup:

Tomato concentrate from red ripe tomatoes, distilled vinegar, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, salt, spice, onion powder, natural flavoring. 

High fructose corn syrup and corn syrup, the third and fourth ingredients, are sugar. And yes, sugar that goes by another name is just as damning. There are over 56 different names for added sugar, Women's Health reported. And checkmate! High fructose corn syrup and corn sugar made the shit list. According to the Wall Street Journal, one-fourth of ketchup is sugar. Heinz did not return Mic's request for comment at the time of publication. 

Source: Giphy

Excess sugar consumption is highly associated with weight gain. And while sugar doesn't cause diabetes, the American Diabetes Association notes that being overweight, and eating a high-calorie diet increases your risk of diabetes. 

What to do: Stingy restaurants might only give you a few packets, but it's not the end of the word. Moderation is your BFF. 

Here's a handy visual guide to know how much sugar you're squirting on your fries. Or you could always make like Chicagoans and refuse to top your hot dogs with ketchup

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Alex Orlov

Alex is a food staff writer. She can be reached at aorlov@mic.com.

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