Ketchup is a tomato-based condiment commonly used to top foods like French fries or hot dogs. This popular food can also contain other ingredients in addition to tomato concentrate, including vinegar, salt, spices, and even high fructose corn syrup.
Ketchup may be a source of added sugar and sodium, but because it is usually not consumed in large quantities, it can be included in a healthy diet.
1) Ketchup Nutrition Facts
The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for one tablespoon (15g) of tomato catsup.
A typical serving of ketchup provides just 15 calories and has just over 4 grams of carbohydrates. Most of the carbs come from sugar with far less than a gram coming from fiber. If you consume a typical packet of ketchup, you will consume a smaller portion, just 10 grams, so you'll consume fewer calories, carbs, and sugar.
Ketchup is very low in fat, providing just 0.02g per serving.
Ketchup is also low in protein with just 0.16g in each one-tablespoon serving.
Vitamins and Minerals
Because ketchup is consumed in such small amounts, it is not a good source of micronutrients. The main ingredient, tomatoes, are high in vitamin C and vitamin A and can also be a good source of vitamin K, potassium, and manganese (depending on the amount consumed). But you are not likely to consume enough ketchup to get substantial levels of any of these nutrients.
2) Health Benefits
Foods like ketchup that are consumed in very small quantities are not likely to have a considerable impact on your health.
Reduced Risk of Prostate Cancer
A study published in 2010 examined the relationship between tomato-based food products and the risk of prostate cancer. Researchers suggested that tomato-based products contain anticancer phytochemicals that can have an impact on risk levels in men. They also suggested that there may be an opportunity to create novel tomato-based food products, also known as functional foods, that are specifically designed to target prostate carcinogenesis.
While this study is cited by some sources as a health benefit of ketchup, the condiment is not mentioned in the study, except to say that ketchup and tomato juice makes up about 15% of the total tomato-based product consumption in the U.S. The researchers do not suggest that consuming ketchup in typical amounts has any effect on prostate cancer risk.
Reduced Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Lycopene in tomatoes is associated with a lower risk of heart disease. In fact, one particular study is mentioned in a report about the health benefits of ketchup. The study shows that lycopene supplementation can improve endothelial function in patients with cardiovascular disease but not in healthy volunteers. However, these researchers did not study the impact of tomatoes or tomato-based foods. So it is unclear whether or not this benefit would be gained by those who consume ketchup in typical amounts.