The 4 Worst Sauces and Condiments for Dieters

Sauces and condiments can sabotage your diet if you are not careful. The four following foods are the most insidious for dieters. These foods are high in fat and calories. Three of them have little or no nutritional value at all.


This oil, vinegar and egg yolk mixture is a fluffy mass of fat and calories. There are 100 calories per serving. One tablespoon is considered a serving. The fat content of mayonnaise is complete. Every calorie in the ten grams of a one-tablespoon serving is pure fat.

When you think of mayonnaise your first thought is probably sandwiches. However, mayonnaise is one of those condiments that may creep into your diet without your realizing it. Something as nutritious and healthy as chicken can become high fat and cholesterol laden when it is incorporated into chicken salad–a dish that includes mounds of mayonnaise.

Ranch Dressing

This tangy dressing is a staple on appetizer menus as an accompaniment to chicken wings. Two tablespoons of ranch dressing have 150 calories. Depending on how hot you like your wings you could easily add 600 calories in the dipping sauce alone.

Two tablespoons of ranch dressing also have 16 grams of fat. Again, depending on whether you dip, dunk or slather your wings you can increase that fat count to 48 grams. Keep in mind that the daily advised amount of fat is 65 grams. This is based on a total calorie consumption of 2,000 calories a day.

Peanut Butter

The average amount of peanut butter used on a traditional peanut butter and jelly (PB & J) sandwich is two tablespoons. That means that each PB & J has ten grams of fat from the peanut butter alone.

According to the National Peanut Board, most kids will have eaten more than 1,000 PB & J’s before they are old enough to go to college. That converts to more than 10,000 grams of fat before the age of eighteen.


If you have scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast, more than likely you use at least one tablespoon of butter on your toast. Many people also drop in another tablespoon of butter as they are scrambling their eggs. That adds up to to 200 calories in your breakfast from the butter alone.

Butter also has eleven grams of fat per tablespoon. A person who consumes 2,000 calories a day should keep her fat content below 65 grams. Going back to the breakfast example, you would have already consumed 22 fat grams (from the butter alone) or more than one-third of your daily allowance.

A serving of butter also has 33 mg of cholesterol. Because butter contains saturated fat that can make your LDL cholesterol rise. (LDL cholesterol is referred to as the “bad” cholesterol), the recommended amount of cholesterol consumption to lower your cholesterol level is 200 mg per day. The above breakfast gives you 66 grams of fat in one meal alone.

Fortunately there are lower fat and calorie versions of the above foods. However, do not let that give you a false sense of security. Even the lower fat and calorie versions should be consumed with common sense in mind. Portion control is and will always be your best dieting companion.


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  • Juan

    Some options can be:
    Almond butter instead of peanut butter. Almonds are a lot healthier and have less fat.
    Olive oil and vinegar instead of mayonnasie. Try adding some Dijon mustard and honey to this.
    Butter is actually not that bad, but you do have to watch your servings. Its better that all those other products that say that they are better than butter. Olive oil is another option for cooking, which is healthier.

    Read more of my tips at

  • SimplyForties

    Your PB&J stat sounds a little alarmist. 65 grams of fat a day (what you list as the daily suggested amount) for 18 eighteen years is 427,050 grams of fat. Against that number 10,000 grams of fat from peanut butter doesn’t sound that bad.

  • NYC Mike

    I am really surprised that you are grouping peanut butter with mayo and ranch… Peanut fat and oil is not the same at all and it is very healthy while containing protein and releasing energy quickly.

    Too much of anything can cause weight gain (even plain, grilled chicken) but it is extremely deceptive to categorize it with PB

  • Joe

    Having Peanut butter categorized with these other condiments is wrong on so many levels. 🙁

  • Jim

    A word of warning on these selected foods. Remember that ‘low fat’ versions of these are either full of sugar instead OR are blended with hydrolysed fats and water instead, highly synthetic.

    Portion control is key with all things, and fats are VERY GOOD FOR YOU! Especially nut fats (make your own PB instead of buying palm oil laden rubbish that kills orangutans!) as they make you feel full for longer and as a result, you eat LESS calories overall as your body has to work much harder to break down fat than carbs!

    Just eat them in moderation and remember the reason they taste so moreish is nothing more than a holdover from when you were swinging through the trees a long time ago down the evolutionary ladder and fats were hard to come by!

    Don’t be a slave to your inner primate!

  • Ashley

    Those who are pointing out the error of calling peanut butter an unhealthy or counter-weightloss condiment are absolutely correct. I work more on the clinical research side of things (metabolism and biochemistry), and it is absolutely consistent (a rarity in clinical research) that nut consumption not only does not lead to weight gain – but is well correlated with lean body mass and has been shown to help with weight loss. Although many who find this evidence try to explain it by saying that nut consumption may prevent overeating of unhealthy foods that help pack on the pounds, there is evidence that the type of essential fats in nuts help your body burn your fat and aren’t the type it uses for storage. This would explain why adding nuts (without cutting down on other foods) doesn’t lead to the expected weight gain one would expect from the measured caloric content.

  • Margie

    I’m a peanut butter junkie; I eat it every day! I found a calorie, low-fat peanut butter at Trader Joe’s. The name is “Better ‘n Peanut Butter”. It has less 90 calories with only 2 grams of fat per 2 tablespoons. I live almost 200 miles from a Trader Joe’s, so when I shop there I buy it by the case!

  • Cristina

    With the exception of maybe the Ranch dressing (depending on what it’s made with) I completely disagree with the entire post. The fats you’ve listed are natural healthy fat. Yes they are high in fat content but you NEED fat in moderation. No, a 2 tablespoon 2 slice of bread PB and J sandwich is not healthy but a single slice of whole grain toast with ½-1 tablespoon of peanut butter and ½- 1 teaspoon of preservative free fruit jam is perfectly fine and actually quite healthy. The same goes for butter…a stick of it is not your best bet but a tiny bit is a healthy, whole, natural fat. I hate that natural fats get such a bad rap when they are not the problem the real problem is refined sugar and processed foods!! You’re much better off with a ½ tbsp of all natural mayo than processed unnatural Miracle Whip!

    My philosophy is if it comes from nature, has natural fat and natural non-refined sugars (i.e. sugars fruit, honey, REAL maple syrup, etc) it’s good for you within reason. I don’t think for one second that something that has been processed to “taste like butter!” is better for me than a reasonable amount of whole butter.

    Also, what about things like ketchup loaded with sugar or dips loaded with sodium? Just because things may be lower in calories and fat doesn’t mean they’re better for you and they may actually be worse……