The Benefits of Ketchup

Ketchup is a common condiment used for everything from hot dogs to french fries. While you might consider the most notable benefit of ketchup to be its ability to enhance flavor, ketchup provides a number of other benefits, mostly derived from tomatoes, which are a primary ingredient in ketchup. While ketchup can be healthy, it's often used to top fatty foods such as hamburgers, so consider the nutritional value of your entire meal.

Low Calorie Content

Using ketchup to add flavor to your foods can be beneficial because it's low in calories. A 1-tablespoon serving of ketchup provides just 15 calories, or less than 1 percent of the daily recommended intake of 2,000. This is much fewer calories than other condiments provide, such as mayonnaise, which provides 100 calories per 1-tablespoon serving. If you switch from eating 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise daily to 2 tablespoons of ketchup, you'd save 1,190 calories weekly. This is enough to lose more than one-third of a pound. However, watch your portion size when consuming ketchup -- consuming more than one serving at a time can negatively affect weight loss.

Low in Fat

Ketchup contains practically no fat, with less than 0.1 gram in each 1-tablespoon serving. This also makes it free of saturated fat -- the harmful fat that contributes to cardiovascular disease. Ketchup provides much less than some other condiments include; 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise contains 11 grams of fat. High-fat foods can be particularly detrimental for weight management because they're not just high in calories, but provide less satiety and promote lower rates of calorie burning, according to research from the May 2001 edition of "International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders. 2"

Low in Carbohydrates

Ketchup is low in carbohydrates, with less than 4 grams in each serving. This makes ketchup more suitable for low-carbohydrate diets than other condiments, such as barbecue sauce, which contains about 9 grams of carbohydrates in each 1-tablespoon serving. However, the carbs in ketchup are made up of simple sugars, which are low in nutritional value.

High in Lycopene

One of the benefits of ketchup is its high lycopene content. Lycopene is an antioxidant, which means it protects your body's cells from free radical damage. Additionally, the American Cancer Society explains that lycopene may also help promote healthy cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of certain cancers, such as:

  • bladder
  • cervical
  • prostate
  • lung
  • stomach cancer

High in Vitamin A

Ketchup is also a rich source of vitamin A. While this vitamin is commonly associated with healthy eyes, it also forms the structure of skin, mucus membranes, teeth and bones.