Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Real Mayonnaise vs. Light Mayonnaise

Often when I give cooking lessons in people’s homes, Hellman’s Light Mayonnaise is present in refrigerators. I ask why it’s there instead of real mayonnaise, and the response “Because it’s healthier,” usually follows.

“Why is it healthier?” I ask.

Replies to that question range from “Because they say so” to “It has to be” to “It has less fat.”


I don’t expect you to make your own mayonnaise, but you should be buying the real version when you shop. Notice the difference in ingredients between Hellman’s Real Mayonnaise and Hellman's “healthier” versions.


Below are the ingredient lists (copied verbatim) for Hellman’s four most readily available types of mayonnaise. Any biochemistry majors out there?


REAL MAYONNAISE

Soybean oil, water, whole eggs and egg yolks, vinegar, salt, sugar, lemon juice, natural flavors, calcium disodium EDTA (used to protect quality).


LIGHT MAYONNAISE

Water, soybean oil, vinegar, modified corn starch**, whole eggs and egg yolks, sugar, salt, xanthan gum**, lemon and lime peel fibers** (thickeners), (sorbic acid**, calcium disodium EDTA) used to protect quality, lemon juice concentrate, phosphoric acid**, DL alpha tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E), natural flavors, beta carotene**. **Ingredient not in mayonnaise


LOW FAT MAYONNAISE DRESSING (FORMERLY REDUCED FAT)

Water, modified corn starch*, soybean oil, vinegar, high fructose corn syrup*, egg whites, salt, sugar, xanthan gum*, lemon and lime peel fibers*, colors added*, lactic acid*, (sodium benzoate* calcium disodium EDTA) used to protect quality, phosphoric acid*, natural flavors. *Ingredients not in mayonnaise


CANOLA CHOLESTEROL FREE MAYONNAISE

Water, canola oil**, vinegar, modified corn starch**, whole eggs and egg yolks+, sugar, salt, lemon juice, xanthan gum**, (sorbic acid**, calcium disodium EDTA) used to protect quality, DL alpha tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E), phosphoric acid**, natural flavors, citric acid**, oleoresin paprika, beta carotene** (for color). **Ingredient not in mayonnaise +Adds trivial amount of cholesterol


As I’ve mentioned before, I believe we spend too much energy focusing on food items’ Nutrition Facts and not enough on ingredient lists. A little fat and cholesterol will not kill us. The jury is still out, though, on modified corn starch.


From a purely common sense point of view, how can synthetic ingredients be good for us? Michael Pollan calls junk food “edible food-like substances,” a brilliant description for what many think are causing so many of our current health woes.

21 comments:

TVGraves said...

There's nothing "real" about mayonnaise made with soybean oil. Soybean oil is very bad for you and should be avoided. Unfortunately, it is being used as the bulk oil in more and more foods. It's incredibly high in Omega-6 poly unsaturated fatty acids, and soy in particular has estrogen-like compounds that have detrimental health effects.

Murat Turkoglu, Ph.D. said...

You can make your own mayonaise easily at home and it will last a week in refrigrator. You can use pure olive oil (150 g), egg yolk(40 g), lemon juice (10 g), vinegar (10 g), black pepper (1 g). Very healty eat as much as you like.

The other light stuff is an industrial type emulsion like hand cream and contains 80 % water and junk in it. Never buy those...

Classic Real Mayonnaise said...

when you buying the real version of own mayonnaise then you don't expect to make your mayonnaise.How synthetic ingredients can be good for all.Thank you so much for this great and useful Post. I will come back later! You describe here very well about Real Mayonnaise and light Myonnaise .

Marco Salazar said...

"From a purely common sense point of view, how can synthetic ingredients be good for us?"

Because the whole idea of certain things being "natural" and "synthetic" is completely arbitrary and completely ignores the fact that everything is "natural" since everything we make comes from this planet. We're not making shit out of thin air so it being "natural" vs "synthetic" says absolutely nothing about the nutritional value. Please stop spreading this ignorant BS.

Marco Salazar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marco Salazar said...

Furthermore there are plenty of "natural" things that are harmful to you and that will kill you and conversely plenty of "synthetic" things that are good for you (ie. medicine). The distinction between medicine and food is none. The differences lie in their industries. One wants to make money by fixing shit. The other wants to make money by getting you addicted to their product. That said, like all things, this is not always the case.

Lastly, your post has no sources of information (not that it needs any since it doesn't even provide any information besides pointing out that diet versions of products have different ingredients (no shit). Even worse is that you are trying to make a generalization by using a very specific example (Hellman's mayonaise) and pointing out that the diet version of it has "synthetic" ingredients while the regular version doesn't. That's cool, but that's obviously not the case for every food item and I will venture to say it is rarely the case for most products since pretty much every product already has "synthetic" ingredients. What are you going to do in that case? Pick the one with less synthetic ingredients? That is flawed logic as well and if that's what you would do then you clearly do not understand nutrition as well as you claim.

Anonymous said...

Why can't they put on front label
"This contains substances that can harm you"
Come on you food manufacturers play fair with our lives.

Anonymous said...

It looks like the light mayo has more water, and some thickeners (polysaccharides and citrus peel) to compensate.

Anonymous said...

If you are trying to lose weight, the light mayo has significantly fewer calories. Since being overweight or obese is a significant health risk, lower calorie options can be a reasonable tradeoff, even if they contain some questionable stuff.

Anonymous said...

Soooo true. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Point of grammar: No food is "healthy." The correct usage is "healthful," which, apparently, no-one is aware of. How can an inanimate thing be "healthy?"

RoverBoy1899 said...

Hellman's light mayonnaise is delicious and tastes better than their "real" mayo. And it's only 35 calories per serving. That's why people use it.

Mitch Curry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mitch Curry said...

the lady doth protest too much, methinks

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poppabel46 said...

I always buy olive oil mayonnaise because I like the taste. If you like vinegar or lemon peel and juice you should buy Miracle Whip.

Anonymous said...

Your understanding of natural and synthetic is flawed. Some things are naturally produced while other things are processed through "natural" chemicals which wouldn't occur naturally without assist from human beings. The only ignorant BS I see is you.

Atari said...

It's "healthier" because it has fewer calories. You can eat the same amount for fewer than half of the calories.

Anonymous said...

Natural vs synthetic is completely arbitrary. Just because it grows or is produced in nature through the trial and error of evolution doesn't always mean its better than the process of trial and error in human run labs. Only when humans make things, it doesnt take millions of years to produce an acceptable product.

Anonymous said...

So since shit is natural then according to your logic it should be healthy and good for you... Great..
Philosophically speaking you can argue that the term synthetic or artificial doesnt make sense since everything is made up of already existing atoms in our universe!!!!

However the "term" natural actually means existing in its original state without human intervention..
So this BS being spread is not BS at all.... nevertheless You shouldnt complain about it if it was, since BS is "natural" to you.

Peace

Shanti Petticrew said...

How can an ingredient not be in the mayo aid if it's marked onto the label