What’s In a Label? Vegan vs. Low-fat

I have a love-tolerate-yuck relationship with mayonnaise.

When I was a kid, I thought mayonnaise slathered between two slices of white bread was IT! Sometimes I layered cheese and tomato in there, but I was just as happy with a mayonnaise sandwich, dunking chunks of it into glasses of cherry kool-aid (but that’s another story). When I became a vegetarian, I was more conscious of the fat content in mayonnaise, so I tapered my taste for it before cutting it out altogether when I became a vegan. Now, the thought of spooning mayonnaise onto a piece of cheese and eating it (Yep I used to do that) makes me wanna gag, but at the grocery store the other day playing “what-if” I moved over to the mayonnaise section. Which would be better for me if I decided to eat mayonnaise again?

Vegan or Low-fat Mayonnaise?

I used to think that all things vegan were better so I picked up the Hellmann’s Vegan Mayonnaise first and turned it around.

I’m a label-reader; are you? If you’re not, perhaps this post will convince you to start. You’d be surprised at what just what you’re eating when you stop to take a look. The information on the label of the Hellmann’s Vegan Mayonnaise jar definitely surprised me.

For a one-tablespoon serving: 90 calories, 90 fat calories, 6 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 2 grams of monounsaturated fat, and 1.5 grams of saturated fat, along with 120 mg of sodium.

By contrast, the Hellmann’s Low fat Mayonnaise dropped 75 calories from its one-tablespoon serving leaving a grand total of 15 calories per serving; shaved the fat calories down to 10; completely wiped out the polyunsaturated, saturated, and monounsaturated fats leaving a grand total of 1 gram of total fat, a full nine grams less than the vegan version.  The only flaw I saw on the low fat version was that the sodium content (130 mg) was 10 points higher than the vegan version (120 mg).

So, what does all this mean?

Well, for those of you still eating mayonnaise, this is good food for thought. Vegan, even though it’s animal-product free, doesn’t always mean healthy for you; and label-reading is a healthy addition to your weight and health maintenance regimen.

As for me, I had my fill of mayonnaise sandwiches. I’ll leave mayonnaise – vegan and low fat – on the grocery store shelves. 🙂


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