When you’re building your metabolically healthy meal, it’s easy to focus on your proteins and veggies, but there’s another way unhealthy ingredients can sneak in: condiments. Start reading the labels on your ketchup and BBQ sauce, and you’ll notice that many brands contain artificial ingredients and added sugars. Slather or dip your food with a tablespoon or more of those, and you could see a rapid rise in blood glucose. Repeated fluctuations in blood sugar from daily dietary choices can increase the risk of insulin resistance.
Many condiments contain refined seed oils such as soybean, corn, and canola. These are high in linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid that, when eaten in excess, can promote inflammation, weight gain, and an increased risk of chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes.
Thankfully, the easy-to-find alternatives below taste just as good and are made with quality ingredients and little to no sugar.
Some barbeque sauces contain 16 grams of added sugars per serving, and many are made with processed high fructose corn syrup. Primal Kitchen’s version has zero added sugars; the two grams of sugars per serving naturally occur in tomatoes and vinegar. Plus, there are no preservatives but loads of flavor from coriander, cumin, chipotle, garlic, and a touch of cinnamon.
Per serving (2 tbsps): 15 calories, 0 g fat (0 g sat), 3 g carbs, <1g fiber, 2 g sugars, 0 g protein, 160 mg sodium
Price: $5.99* per 8.5-ounce bottle
Perfect for homemade chicken wings or spicing up deviled eggs, this sauce contains the typical cayenne pepper but also organic red jalapeño peppers, which have a sweeter flavor profile than green jalapeños. And rather than refined oil, it’s made with avocado oil, which is high in monounsaturated fats (MUFAs). Diets high in MUFAs may improve insulin sensitivity, decrease inflammation, and promote weight management.
Per serving (1 tbsp): 40 calories, 3.5 g fat (0.5 g sat), 1 g carbs, 0g fiber, 0 g sugars, 1 g protein, 350 mg sodium
Price: $7.99 per 8.5-ounce bottle
This tangy, creamy combination of high-oleic sunflower oil (which contains fewer omega-6s than regular sunflower oil), tomato paste, egg yolks, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, and spices tastes good on just about everything: salads, roasted veggies, burgers, chicken, omelets. It’s also free of sugars and artificial ingredients.
Per serving (2 tbsps): 150 calories, 15 g fat (2.5 g sat), 1 g carbs, 0g fiber, 0 g sugars, 1 g protein, 250 mg sodium
Price: $6.79 per 8-ounce bottle
Traditional ketchup contains corn syrup and “natural flavoring.” This ketchup is made with only six organic ingredients—tomato concentrate, balsamic vinegar, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and spices—and no added sweeteners.
Per serving (1 tbsp): 10 calories, 0 g fat (0 g sat), 2 g carbs, 0g fiber, 1 g sugars, 0 g protein, 105 mg sodium
Price: $6.49 per 11.3-ounce bottle
This smooth and creamy sauce combines free-range egg yolks with vinegar and lime juice for tang, plus avocado oil rather than refined soybean oil. Use it to make chicken or tuna salad, top burgers, or DIY dips and dressings.
Per serving (1 tbsp): 90 calories, 10 g fat (1 g sat), 0 g carbs, 0 g protein, 90 mg sodium
Price: $5.29 per 12-ounce bottle
This classic has three simple ingredients: peppers, vinegar, and salt. Use it as liberally as you like to spice up soups, grilled chicken, guacamole, and eggs.
Per serving (1 tsp): 0 calories, 0 g fat (0 g sat), 0 g carbs, 0g fiber, 0 g sugars, 1 g protein, 35 mg sodium
Price: $2.49 per 2-ounce bottle
Unless it’s honey mustard, most mustard aligns with metabolic health goals. We like Gulden’s Stone Ground Dijon mustard, which is stronger than classic yellow mustard and has a little kick thanks to white wine. Combine it with lemon juice, balsamic and olive to create a salad dressing or marinade for chicken.
Per serving (1 tsp): 5 calories, 0 g fat (0 g sat), 0 g carbs, 0g fiber, 0 g sugars, 0 g protein, 55 mg sodium
Price: $1.40 per 12-ounce bottle
This spicy yet versatile sauce skips the artificial ingredients in typical sriracha like potassium sorbate, sodium bisulfite, and xanthan gum. It works well with almost anything savory: avocado, stir-fries, and Bloody Marys.
Per serving (1 tbsp): 15 calories, 0 g fat, 3 g carbs, 2 g sugars, 0 g protein, 190 mg sodium
Price: $27.00 per two-pack of 19.6-ounce bottles
* The prices in this article reflect those listed by the retailer at the time of publication. Prices and local store availability may vary.