Spreading the truth: Mayonnaise healthy in moderation

Mayonnaise is as famous a condiment as ketchup. Common on sandwiches and salads, mayo adds an extra kick to our favorite foods. But there are skeptics; people fearing that mayonnaise might be too good to be true. I decided to talk with Jeanette Andrade, a registered dietician at the University, and get to the bottom of this popular condiment.

*Mayonnaise can cause foodborne illness: Possibly*

Mayonnaise is made with only a few ingredients: oil, vinegar, herbs and eggs. However, the eggs are not cooked; the egg yolks are used. Andrade explained that it’s all in the preparation.

“Most eggs are sterilized before mayonnaise is made to kill bacteria,” Andrade said. “If you’re making your own mayonnaise, it is very important to use the freshest eggs. If not, then that’s when problems may arise.”

Just as when eating any uncooked foods, the process is important for well-being and enjoyment.

*Mayonnaise can extend the life of salads: False*

Mayonnaise has an expiration date just like anything else. Added to foods, it doesn’t make anything last longer.

“Going back to the eggs, remember that they are uncooked,” Andrade said. “Mayonnaise and any food with it should be refrigerated immediately to keep it from spoiling.”

*Reduced fat mayonnaise is better than regular mayonnaise: False*

The phrase “reduced fat” excites people into thinking that they are eating healthier. However, to make food reduced fat, more ingredients need to be added to it, which may result in not being so healthy after all.

“Reduced fat isn’t exactly real mayonnaise – it usually contains modified food starch, cellulose gels, and other thickeners,” Andrade said.

Andrade also explained that reduced fat doesn’t give one the ability to eat more of it. Regular mayonnaise might have around 11 grams of fat; reduced fat might have 7 grams. There isn’t much difference. It would be better to eat real mayonnaise in moderation, than eat reduced fat mayo with an array of additives.

However, if you are looking for a healthier alternative, there are some mayonnaises with canola or olive oil and poly- or mono- saturated fats. These are healthier than saturated fats.

Another debate is between mayonnaise and Miracle Whip. Sweeter and creamier, Miracle Whip is almost at par with the nutrient content of mayonnaise. In regard to flavor, it’s sweeter because less vinegar is added, instead containing more sugars.

“They’re around the same in calories and fat, but it really depends on the consumer and their taste preference,” Andrade said.

*Mayonnaise can increase the softness of hair: It depends*

Mayonnaise is not used solely for food. Some people have claimed that using mayonnaise as a conditioner in hair can make it softer and shinier.

The process is simple, as the mayo is simply applied to the hair, left to sit for an hour, and washed. The oils and proteins help dry hair.

Veronica is a freshman in Media.