Tart and tangy ketchup are one of the world’s most beloved condiments. However, if you are on a low-carb diet like the keto diet, you must watch your net carbs intake.
Sugar-free ketchup with a low-carb sweetener suits the keto lifestyle more than regular ketchup.
In this blog post, we’ll examine why regular ketchup isn’t keto-friendly and how to enjoy ketchup yet still watch your carb intake.
Get To Know The Keto Diet
The keto diet is a unique nutritional approach that has become increasingly popular recently.
It is based on a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that encourages the body to burn fat to produce energy instead of carbohydrates.
Consuming as few as 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates daily helps the body enter a ketosis metabolic state, leading to increased fat loss, improved cognitive functioning, and enhanced chronic disease risk.
The main foods associated with this dietary strategy are grass-fed meats, fatty fish, eggs, full-fat dairy products, non-starchy vegetables, and healthy fats such as coconut oils and avocado oil, nuts, and seeds.
In addition, keto dieters experience decreased bloating and cravings for sugary snacks due to reduced carbs.
What Is In Ketchup?
Several key ingredients in ketchup will all add up to your carb count.
Superior ketchup is made with tomato paste, not pulp or puree. This adds a texture and richness of flavor that you won’t find in other types of ketchup.
High Fructose Corn Syrup
High fructose corn syrup is a common ingredient in many foods, but it is essential to be aware of the carbohydrate content when eating products that contain the sweetening agent.
While this compound adds sweetness (and often preservatives) to food items, it also increases the number of carbs and calories in whatever you consume.
Eating too many carbohydrates- and mainly processed carbs- can quickly suck away your energy levels, so it is best to limit your consumption of foods with this sweetener as an ingredient.
Distilled vinegar is crucial in ketchup and many other condiments like hot sauce.
This type of vinegar gives ketchup its pungent flavor, and it doesn’t just give it a bit of heat either – it also keeps the product fresh and free from bacteria.
Distilled vinegar has been used as both a preservative and an enhancer throughout food history. We can thank its presence in ketchup for allowing us to enjoy the condiment whenever we please without worrying about it foodborne illnesses.
Onion powder is a vital part of ketchup and other keto-friendly condiments, and it should never be omitted from recipes.
Onions provide the perfect sweetness and tang to ketchup, and their savory flavor lingers on the tongue for a delightful aftertaste.
The health benefits of onions cannot be overlooked either. When onion powder is included in ketchup, it adds an extra dose of nutrients often difficult to find in other foods.
Salt and Spices
Of course, no ketchup will be complete without salt and spices. Some common herbs include mustard powder, cumin, and cinnamon.
Carbs In Ketchup
If you’re following a keto diet, you might want to look into low-carb ketchup that’s more keto-friendly instead.
Just one tablespoon of ketchup contains 4.5 grams of carbs, which makes it about 63 grams for a cupful of ketchup, way beyond the recommended daily limit of 20 to 50 grams to keep your body in ketosis.
This amount is likely to kick your body out of ketosis, so if you try to adhere to keto guidelines, you’ll need low-carb, sugar-free ketchup that is keto-friendly instead, or you might kick your body out of ketosis.
Sugar In Ketchup
One tablespoon of ketchup contains 3.7 grams of sugar, about 52 grams a cup.
In contrast, men are recommended to stick to a maximum of 36 grams daily and women to 24 grams.
This roughly equates to about 9 teaspoons for men and 6 for women.
Excessive sugar consumption can lead to severe health problems like obesity, metabolic syndromes, and even cardiovascular diseases.
What’s more, studies have found that there is a direct correlation between sugar intake and the rise of diabetes and other chronic illnesses in many countries all over the world.
Although sugar doesn’t necessarily cause these issues, too much sugar in a person’s diet increases their likelihood of developing them.
For this reason, we must stay aware of the amount of sugar we consume daily and strive to make healthy eating choices whenever possible.
Can You Eat Sugar-Free Ketchup On Keto?
The sugar-free version of many brands tends to be way more keto-friendly and generally better for your overall health, especially if you are looking to shed pounds.
For example, one tablespoon of Heinz ketchup with no added sugar contains only one gram of net carbohydrates, which makes it about 14 grams per cupful.
Sure, you won’t be eating a whole cupful of ketchup, but even if you eat half a cupful per serving, that’s well within the 20 to 50-gram limit imposed by the keto diet.
Many sugar-free ketchup brands use natural sweeteners to provide that classic, sweet flavor without the added burden of extra carbs and calories.
Xylitol is one such naturally sweet compound that gives a similar sweetness sensation to regular table sugar without any of the negative health effects associated with it.
Alongside Xylitol, some brands also add polydextrose and other low-calorie artificial sweeteners for a compound effect towards making sugar-free ketchup satisfyingly sweet.
Making Homemade Sugar-Free Ketchup
Can’t seem to find a brand of sugar-free ketchup that you like? Take matters into your own hands instead and make your own!
With homemade ketchup, you’ll know exactly what goes into your condiment and control how you want it to taste.
If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to your favorite condiments laden with sugar, making your own is the way to go.
Try using healthy fats like olive oil and avocado oil instead of saturated fats often found in store-bought ketchup.
Here’s how to make it!
- Gather Your Ingredients
The ingredients you’ll need to make your own sugar-free ketchup include fresh or canned tomatoes, apple cider vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, allspice, ground mustard seed, and sea salt. You can adjust the seasonings to suit your taste.
2. Prepare Your Tomatoes
If you’re using canned tomatoes, drain them in a colander and place them in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
If you’re using fresh red ripe tomatoes instead of canned ones, cut off any bad spots and then simmer them in a small amount of water until they are very soft.
Once soft enough, strain them through a colander so that only pureed tomato remains.
Then transfer the puree back into the saucepan over medium heat.
Add Remaining Ingredients
Once your pureed or canned tomatoes are simmering on medium heat in the saucepan, add in all of your other ingredients like apple cider vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, allspice ground mustard seed, and salt.
Stir everything together until it’s evenly combined, and let it simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
After 30 minutes, use an immersion blender (or food processor) to blend everything until smooth.
Taste test it before transferring it into jars or containers for storage and adjust seasoning if necessary before storing away in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Enjoying food without your favorite condiments like tomato ketchup and mustard can be challenging, but thanks to low-carb ketchup, you don’t have to!
The next time you’re at the grocery store, look for keto-approved ketchup and other low-carb options with no added sugar so that you don’t jeopardize your state of ketosis and efforts to lose weight.
I’m Chris Watson & the Founder of EatForLonger.com. I’m a food and wellbeing enthusiast researching and sharing foodstuffs and simple food-based concepts, such as fasting and clean eating.
I hope it inspires you to make tiny changes to what you eat and when you eat while optimizing your healthspan and all-around well-being.
Read more About Me here.