Not All Ketchup Is Created Equal
Isn’t it interesting that out of the five restaurants that I went to in Montreal, Canada, the Ketchup there had with different ingredients than the five different restaurants I went to in New York and Vermont?
List of Ingredients in Ketchup from Canada:
- Tomato paste
- Ripe tomatoes
- Liquid sugar
- White vinegar
- Onion powder
List of Ingredients in Ketchup from the United States:
- Tomato concentrate from ripe tomatoes
- Distilled vinegar
- High Fructose Corn Syrup
- Corn Syrup
- Onion powder
- Natural Flavoring
Why such a difference, aren’t they both Heinz Ketchup? Aren’t we lucky that in the USA we get genetically modified High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), AND as if that weren’t enough, we also get genetically modified GM Corn Syrup!
There are many people who believe that liquid sugar and HFCS are the same thing – they are not. Liquid sugar is made from sugarcane whereas HFCS I obviously made from corn. Putting aside the GMO issue, aren’t both just sugar? In fact not long ago there was a TV commercial addressing this concern. From the commercial:
“Like any parent I have questions about the food my daughter eats–-like high fructose corn syrup. So I started looking for answers from medical and nutrition experts, and what I discovered whether its corn sugar or cane sugar your body can’t tell the difference. Sugar is sugar. Knowing that makes me feel better about what she eats and that’s one less thing to worry about.”
However the sad fact is, biologically speaking this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Mark Hyman, MD wrote a very interesting article titled, 5 Reasons High Fructose Corn Syrup Will Kill You.
“HFCS and cane sugar are NOT biochemically identical or processed the same way by the body… Research done by his group at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute found that free fructose from HFCS requires more energy to be absorbed by the gut and soaks up two phosphorous molecules from ATP (our body’s energy source). This depletes the energy fuel source, or ATP, in our gut required to maintain the integrity of our intestinal lining. Little “tight junctions” cement each intestinal cell together preventing food and bacteria from “leaking” across the intestinal membrane and triggering an immune reaction and body wide inflammation.
High doses of free fructose have been proven to literally punch holes in the intestinal lining allowing nasty byproducts of toxic gut bacteria and partially digested food proteins to enter your blood stream and trigger the inflammation that we know is at the root of obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, dementia, and accelerated aging. Naturally occurring fructose in fruit is part of a complex of nutrients and fiber that doesn’t exhibit the same biological effects as the free high fructose doses found in “corn sugar”.
The takeaway: Cane sugar and the industrially produced, euphemistically named “corn sugar” are not biochemically or physiologically the same.”
And may I point out that “high dose free fructose” is exactly what we have here in the USA, since HFCS is now in hundreds of food products.
I highly recommend reading the entire article, 5 Reasons High Fructose Corn Syrup Will Kill You, for more detailed information.
Now, I have one more major issue with the USA version of Heinz Ketchup. Why does the US ketchup have the extra ingredient(s) of “Natural Flavoring”?
If you notice, both the Canadian ketchup and the US ketchup have “spice(s)” in their ingredient list. I understand not listing each spice due proprietary reasons (though I would prefer knowing what I am eating), and that they want it to be kept secret from the ketchup eating world… but what then is “Natural Flavoring”? A special proprietary secret meant for only US ketchup consumers?
I just had to know, so went to the Heinz Ketchup website to see what they have to say about it!
“The natural flavorings listed in our ingredient statement consist of natural spice extracts and oils. The exact ingredients included under the “natural flavorings” on the Heinz® Ketchup label are considered proprietary, because recipes cannot be patented.”
So apparently yes! “Natural flavorings” are a proprietary secret! Then what the heck is “spice(s)”?
I guess we’ll never know for sure….
Luckily, Heinz Ketchup does have an organic version of their product! Phew!
Bottom Line: Always, always, always read the labels! And never assume that all products with the exact same name, and from the same company are made equal…because when it comes to Ketchup (and countless other products), they are apparently not!