Low Sodium Ketchup | “Healthy Alternatives” aren’t as they seem

low-sodium-guidelines

As childhood fans of true Heinz ketchup, the new low sodium alternative caught our eye. Intrigued, and always looking to lower our salt intake, we bought it without much hesitation.  So long as it was Heinz its bound to be good, and with 50% less salt everybody wins…right?

Just before using it, we noticed that it wasn’t Ketchup any more.  What we had left the store with was a “Ketchup style sauce”.  This is a usual ploy by companies trying to sell a product as something that its not.  When you see a bottle that looks like Ketchup, by the makers of Ketchup, with all the same branding as Ketchup, you would think that you got Ketchup.

The taste was the unfortunate part.  This stuff tastes like a “Ketchup style sauce”.  We were less than thrilled.  Yeah, yeah, I can hear you saying “Well with half the salt of course it won’t taste good”, but this isn’t always the case.  Besides, if it tasted like low salt ketchup that would be fine.  But it doesn’t.  The taste is completely changed, and it doesn’t taste like Heinz, or even a no name ketchup.  What it tastes like is a ketchup style sauce.

Now I know that you would think that the poor taste would be the worst part.  Not for us.  The worst was when we finally looked at the ingredients list.  Usually the first thing we do when picking up a new product, we finally compared the “Low Sodium” knock-off to the real thing and found out that the one we bought had very different ingredients (namely potassium chloride and the infamous “flavours”).  Basically what we ended up with was something that although looked the same (just healthier) turned out to taste badly and have added ingredients that we weren’t expecting.

Moral of the story, keep a watchful eye over things that appear to be “healthy alternatives”.  Many foods that are marketed towards those living “healthy active lifestyles” have additives such as soy protein.  Unless you are watching the ingredients label, you probably wouldn’t expect cereals, granola bars etc. to be loaded with soy.  Especially when food such as “Vector” tout themselves as “meal replacements”.  Its important to keep your eyes off the marketing ploys and onto the nutrition and ingredients list to make sure you make good decisions.  We learnt our lesson, and we’re hoping others follow suit.

2 thoughts on “Low Sodium Ketchup | “Healthy Alternatives” aren’t as they seem

  1. Yeah, isn’t it odd how they do that. President’s Choice here in Canada has a low sodium ketchup in their Blue Menu line of healthier products, but it too is listed as “ketchup style sauce.” Why can’t companies just take out some of the salt, or some of the sugar, and leave everything else the same. Like Tropicana’s Trop50 has less natural sugar, but then they go and “make up for it” by adding in artificial sweeteners.

    I was thrilled that Nestle’s Quik makes a 50% less sugar version of their chocolate syrup. And for once they didn’t add in something like sucralose. So I bought it, and weirdly found it to be way sweeter tasting than the normal. Why? I’m guessing it’s the maltodextrin, because it’s the only ingredient in the less sugar one that’s not found in the regular. So in the end, I prefer the regular sugar one, go figure! It’s like Nestle assumes we want the same sweetness but without the calories, but in fact I’d actually prefer it less sweet so I can taste the chocolate, not the sweetness.

    • Thanks for the comment! We find that there are a number of big brand companies turning out ‘healthier’ alternatives. While some do in fact have less sugar, salt, fat; what you mention above — low calorie substitutes (which are often cheaper) are used in place.

      This is problematic for a number of reasons: chemically created alternatives and nutritionally void alternatives, and misleading alternatives.

      We try to avoid big brands now as we feel that when profit is involved (in the case of Nestle, Heinz etc.) — the company aim becomes more about money than the nutritional quality of the food product.

      Happy Eating!

      K

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