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Condiments: The Good, the Bad and the Salty

By , SparkPeople Blogger
There's no doubt about it: Americans are crazy about condiments. Whether it's ketchup, hot sauce or salsa, we just love to top our foods with zesty sauces. Unfortunately, though, those little toppings can add up to a lot of extra salt. If you had to choose between two of America's favorite condiments, ketchup and salsa, which would be the low-sodium winner?
The Winner: Salsa!

One tablespoon of veggie-packed salsa will only set you back 105 mg of sodium—that's just 4% of your recommended daily value. (Ketchup comes in slightly higher with 160 mg.) Want to slash even more sodium from your salsa? Make your own salsa at home to control exactly what goes into it!

Unfortunately, not all condiments are as easy on the salt, especially since those little dollops and spoonfuls can add up quickly! See how salsa stacks up against some other common condiments in the sodium department:
Condiment Calories per Tablespoon Sodium per Tablespoon
Honey Mustard Sauce 23 75 mg
Mayonnaise 90 80 mg
Salsa 8 105 mg
Pickle Relish 20 122 mg
Ranch Dressing 73 122 mg
Ketchup 20 160 mg
Mustard 9 161 mg
Barbecue Sauce 53 392 mg
Frank's Red Hot 5 460 mg
Sriracha 20 580 mg
Spicy Garlic Wing Sauce 25 600 mg
Soy Sauce 11 1005 mg
What's your favorite condiment? Do you watch your sodium intake?

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NANCY- 10/15/2020
I was never fond of condiments. My go to additions were pickles or lemon. But now I also favor hummus and taco sauce. But I need to check on the sodium. Report
Hot Mustard and Thai Chili Garlic Sauce Report
TURQUROISE 6/12/2020
Always watching my sodium Report
ETHELMERZ 3/10/2020
Honey mustard is way more tasty than salsa though. We rarely use sauces in the first place, so the list is interesting. Report
Its clearly something to consider!!! YO!! Report
Thanks! Report
good article Report
Yes, I do watch my sodium. Glad I don't crave soy sauce. Report
Great to know info! Thanks! Report
I love Salsa! Report
Some great information to help make the proper choices. Report
good info Report
Not in favor of many sauces for many reasons. Sodium content is one of those reasons. Report
Wow I never new how much sodium was in some of these condiments. The ones that I use I need to cut down. Report
thanks Report
Interesting article! Thanks! Report
I eat mostly real food and go out for supper 1 day per. month. I have to add sodium to every meal, about 1/4 teaspoon each meal to keep my blood pressure at 100, without out it it is 80 I have little energy. My Dr. advised me to do this. I have a cheap $12.00 blood pressure monitor that goes on my wrist and is portable,accurate and I got it on Amazon. It reads the same as the one when I get checked at my Dr. I check immediately before I go to the Dr. Report
Also a lot of people said that tracking sodium is "too hard" and that maybe true for you but I noticed when we started the "Low sodium/ Low Sugar" lifestyle change recommended by my doctor and I tried to get my sodium down to the Correct level my calories almost always go down to the correct level too.
Just a thought and it can't hurt to add the nutrient to your tracker for a week to see how much you get on the daily. I can almost guarantee you'll be surprised and if it turned out to be too hard for you take it back off your tracker.
I tracked a few days of "regular" meals before I change my eating patterns and was shocked how much sodium I was consuming, some days as much as 9,000 or 10,000mg. The heart association recommends 2,300mg per day and it seams that the typical American fast food culture and convenience based lifestyles have decided to put 75% or more into each item that is mass marketed. Good luck what ever plan you follow. Report
For your fried rices try 1 tbsp Low sodium teriyaki, 2 tbsp rice vinegar and a clove of garlic... works great with a lot less sodium. The teriyaki sauce has about half the sodium of the soy sauces and the vinegar thins it out so that a little goes a long way. Report
I'm glad this is an article. I find that many think that if they cook it at home, then it's lower sodium than food companies offer. The real answer is "it depends".

It's nice to see that more awareness is being raised on this important topic.

One thing I do know is that when some folks see "low sodium" or "less sodium", they pick up the salt shaker to add it. My dad would do that.

Many good companies are doing stealth sodium reductions for this reason.

Psychology can be demanding master. Report
I use a wide variety of condiments, but with so many other things to keep track of I don't look carefully at sodium. I'm not hypertensive and although I know a low salt diet is optimal I have to choose my battles, and I don't choose that one. Report
if you make your own salsa it doesn't require any salt. I make mine all the time. You can even use it in your salads for your topping. I haven't made any for a while but it's delicious. Report
I stay away from soy sauce but I am going to start cheking my hot sauces now. Report
Even though I don't "need" to watch my sodium intake (at least not yet), I keep low sodium soy sauce at my house. It's only about 2/3 the sodium content. I also don't use soy sauce very often. Report
good article Report
salsa is always an excellent "go to" choice. a good replacement for soy sauce is coconut aminos. only 113 mg of sodium per serving.

you can google the nutrition label.....also, i have tried some awesome "paleo" condiment replacement recipes. i am unable to put the link here, but if you google it, they are easy to find.
Salsa is one of the best condiments because you can make it to fit your taste and needs! It does not have to be one size fits all. Report
I go crazy w/dipping sauces, so now I won't due to all of the salt. Report
I love salsa and use it on many foods. I am learning to use honey mustard sauce in place of many condiments because sodium is a big issue for me (don't have high blood pressure but really don't want to develop it!) The only time I use soy sauce is on fried rice but I do use low sodium soy; it's still bad but not quite as bad! Report
I love salsa! I limit my salt intake, & salsa helps keep bland things spicy good!
I watch my sodium for two reasons. When I first hit a plateau of weight not coming off I started looking at my sodium and found it was very high, keeping sodium in check is now key to ditching the pounds for me. The second reason is my family history with heart disease and cholesterol issues. High (ish) blood pressure and heart disease risk are managed by watching sodium as well as eating more healthy in general. Report
I don't track my sodium. I need to check on this. How bad is too much sodium anyway? I do good on the things sparks has me tracking. Report
I watch sodium intake for my entire family. I just recently started substituting salsa for the barbeque sauce I use in my meatloaf. It was a hit. My son even requested it for his birthday. I have cut down on using Ranch dressing for some reason the taste just doesn't appeal to me anymore.
Thank you for the breakdown. It shows me I have to find something else to make my eggrolls with instead of soy sauce.
Sodium has never really been a problem with me, so I don't pay much attention to sodium levels. But even still, I'd say my favorites are honey mustard and salsa. I love salsa on baked potato. Plus, I make my own...all from fresh vegies from our garden, so not a lot of salt in it. Report
I really like Honey Mustard...its soo good. Report
I monitor sodium and log it in, but am still struggling to stay within range. I've cut back a lot on processed foods since joining SP but need to step up that effect. Report
I do watch and keep track of my sodium intake. I read labels and try to get low sodium condiments. I don't add salt when cooking or at the table. Report
I watch my sodium intake very carefully. I like to make my own salsa and
also some of my own condiments. That way I can keep the salt to a minimum.
I'm always looking for low sodium recipes to try. Report
My husband and I are very health conscious. We use the reduced calorie Mayonnaise and sometimes mix it with plain non-fat yogurt. Can someone tell me the caloric and sodium differences between Hellman's Real Mayonnaise and Hellman's Calorie Reduced Mayonnaise? Maybe it's time for me to make more changes. Report
I make my own salsa from our own veggies and herbs from our garden...I seldom use a reciepe so is a little different each time. I love salsa and can't even eat my eggs without it! Report
NELLIEC - Why don't you make your own salsa? It's really easy and since you control what goes in, you control exactly how spicy or milk it is. Report
I used to love salsa, but now I can't eat it because my favorite extra mild is no longer made. Report
you left out taco sauce! that is my favorite, but I also like sweet hot mustard to substitute for mayo. Report
I'm not watching sodium or calories -- but I'm watching carbs. Would like to see other nutritional comparisons besides calories and sodium. Report
That is why I love this site........we learn something new all the time. I do cook almost everything from scratch but I have not thought about things like honey mustard. Who knew???? Report
I do watch my sodium intake. Mustard,ranch and hot sauce are my favorite sauces. Always look for the ones with the lowest sodium count. Never use a full serving of them either to help cut it down some. Report
We go through a lot of salsa, it use to be ketchup, but with our healthier lifestyle, salsa seems to the addition of choice for flavour. Report
oh wow Report
you have to read the ingredients for honey mustard because almost all of them are really mayonnaise with mustard and honey added. mayonnaise isn't even listed on the front label and it's what you are really getting. check the ingredients and if eggs are listed... it's really mayonnaise !!!! Report
I am tracking my sodium. Don't use a lot of condiments but I do use Salsa and prefer Honey Mustard to Ranch. Yes it's an eye opener! Thank you for this information! :))) Report
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