Is Mayonnaise Really Bad for You?

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Smooth and eggy, but is there more to it?

Speaking as the descendent of a lineage of deli enthusiasts, I love mayonnaise. Not on everything, mind you, but when something pairs well with mayonnaise, it pairs fantastically. It’s subtly sweet, creamy, and super smooth, not to mention the adaptability of its flavor. You can mix all sorts of other sauces and spices into it to create a rainbow of flavors. However, as is unfortunately common with many deli staples, mayonnaise isn’t quite the best for you.

Mayonnaise is primarily made from the yolks of eggs, with additional ingredients including things like vinegar, oil, spices, and depending on the brand, certain flavorings and preservatives. Due to both the presence of oil in its makeup, as well as the emulsification process that creates it, mayonnaise is naturally high in fat and calories. Just a spoonful of the stuff can contain around 100 calories, which is a lot for a simple condiment. Depending on how it’s stored, mayonnaise can also be a breeding ground for potentially dangerous bacteria. Granted, that’s not so much the mayonnaise’s fault as it is whoever’s leaving it in a dark cabinet with the lid loose, but it’s still something worth remembering.

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The point is that, if you like mayonnaise, you should absolutely strive to enjoy it only in moderation. The sheer amount of mayonnaise I’ve seen slathered on a deli sandwich could potentially double its caloric and fat contents, which is unpleasant in general and a nightmare if you’re trying to lose weight. Some brands do make low-fat mayonnaise that replace the oil content with starchier ingredients, which does make them a little better for you. That said, you should still endeavor to keep things stringent when possible. I know, I know, mayonnaise tastes great, but it ain’t worth the stomachache.