Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Heinz Reduced Sugar Ketchup aka Heinz One Carb Ketchup

Why do you have to put sugar in ketchup in the first place? Ketchup is a tomato condiment not a dessert. Right? Do condiments really need sugar? Sure, I know, the sweet helps balance the acidity of the tomatoes and rounds out the flavor notes – adding to the umami (savory sense) experience. Uh oh, I’m going all kitchen-wench nerd on your brains…so I better stop there. But Heinz Reduced Sugar Ketchup passes my tests for product semi-safety and wins shelf-space in my ice box.

The Good

Heinz Reduced Sugar Ketchup
I haven’t done a side-by-side, blind taste-test on original Heinz Ketchup v. Reduced Sugar Heinz Ketchup (Sorry, I can’t help but call it by its original name, Heinz One Carb Ketchup), but perhaps I should. I just don’t eat the regular stuff, because in addition to the high-glycemic carbs in the original Heinz Ketchup, you’ll find HFCS, aka high-fructose corn syrup (hello fatty liver) and corn syrup (hello genetically modified organism and fatty liver).

It isn’t likely I will be doing a tasting any time soon. As someone who has fatty liver disease, I stay as far away from fructose, especially in its highly concentrated state such as HFCS, agave nectar and honey. Reading the labels convince me of the merits of using the One Carb Ketchup.

According to Label Watch, here are the ingredients for the original Heinz Ketchup:
(Holy Moly Batman! HFCS is the second and fourth ingredient!)
Tomato Concentrate Made From Red Ripe Tomatoes, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Distilled Vinegar, Corn Syrup, Salt, Less than 2% of Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Natural Flavors.

According to the bottle of Heinz Reduced Sugar Ketchup sitting on my desk:
Tomato Concentrate From Red Ripe Tomatoes, Distilled Vinegar, Salt, Natural Flavorings, Onion Powder, Sucralose (aka Splenda), Spice.

The Bad
“Natural Ingredients.” Sigh. What a catch-all bunch of ballywho! Trouble with “Natural Ingredients” is that it’s usually a code for MSG (monosodium glutamate), a flavor enhancer excitotoxin that increases taste perception by jacking with your brain chemistry. In other words, it makes you think food tastes better.

Many people are allergic to MSG. I’ve seen it cause lots of things like hives, heart palpitations, asthma, headaches, stuffy noses, a whole gamut of immune system responses. Too much of it, makes my heart beat like a trip hammer!

The Ugly
Splenda or Sucralose. I don’t know that any of us should be eating this stuff, but I must admit I cook with it. I’m in the camp who believe it’s better than many sugar free alternatives like aspartame or the new stuff flying under everyone’s radar, neotame. But come on, should Splenda and artificial sweeteners be put in every product on the shelf?

We’re fat, America! News flash. Do we really need appetite stimulation? Appetite stimulation is part of the role sugar and artificial sweeteners play in the taste game. Food product companies know this. They pay scientists big money to capitalize on this fact.

Give a lab rat sugar water and it will eat it preferentially over any other food offered to it. Give a two year old a glass of apple juice and he will want that preferentially over any other beverage. Give ‘em French fries with ketchup and you can just about forget about him eating anything else until they are gone.

We've now successfully programmed generations of children to prefer the taste of sweet preferentially over umami (savory) from the cradle to the grave! And it will be an early grave for many kids if we keep continuing down this path. Fatty liver in children is almost pandemic today.

SusieT's Vote
I give the taste of the Heinz Reduced Sugar Ketchup four forks up. It’s good, not overly sweet or cloying like some products sweetened with Splenda. Tastes fairly close to how I remember ketchup tasting from the old days when I ate the SAD (Standard American Diet). But I must deduct a fork for unnecessary roughness, er, I mean for using unnecessary ingredients like MSG (natural ingredients), and for adding Splenda when they could use Erythritol or Stevia – or better yet, don’t add any sweetener at all and let the natural sugars in the tomatoes concentrate and shine through.

But if you are inclined, as I often am, and want to make your own ketchup? It’s brilliantly easy and tastes delicious. And the best part? You know and can pronounce all the ingredients! You can at least avoid MSG. You can also maybe avoid using Splenda by subbing out Erythritol or Stevia.

Linda Sue has a lovely recipe for Better “Heinz” Ketchup posted over at her site. Please, check it out. Linda Sue is a personal friend of mine. We live about 20 minutes from each other and her recipes and cooking skills are more than legend! I’ve tasted her cooking in real life and can vouch for her wink wink (As if she needs anyone to vouch for her. Her cooking skills and the recipes stand on their own merit!)

I hope to be making a batch of Linda Sue's ketchup soon and will post the recipe for you if she will allow me.

The Facts
Heinz Reduced Sugar Ketchup keeps forever, but you’ll finish it up long before forever hits! Oh and great news, Heinz Reduced Sugar Ketchup is gluten free, according to Celiaccess, a gluten-free database and networking site. 

Keep it in the ice box once opened, but heck, I know a ton of people who store it in their pantry and forgettaboutit. LOL. Foods made with ketchup freeze well – like barbeque sauce, meatloaf. So we have a product that has a long shelf life and freezes well...hmmm it could just be the roach of the condiment world. (Sorry for that visual!) 

The cost of a bottle of Heinz Reduced Sugar Ketchup is crazy expensive, around $3.95! Just like all the sugar free or reduced carb products on the market, they jack up the price from the original high carb products. In their defense, artificial sweeteners and low carb specialty ingredients are very expensive to buy - even when it's wholesale. So I guess the manufacturers are just sharing the love.

You can find Heinz Reduced Sugar Ketchup at your local grocery store. You can also get single bottles from Netrition and cases from Amazon. But still, if you’re jonesing for ketchup and don’t want to make your own, it’s worth it despite the crazy big price tag and then adding freight on top. You can pay now, or pay later with your doctor and hospital bills.

Want An Easy Recipe Using Heinz Reduced Sugar Ketchup?

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