Ketchup / Catsup

ORAC Value:
μ mol TE/100g.

The antioxidant value of Ketchup / Catsup described in ORAC units is: 578 μ mol TE/100g.


Is catsup the same thing as ketchup? Yes, they're two spellings of the same word. But whether it be Heinz, Hunt's, generic or organic, is ketchup bad for your health?

The Achilles heel of ketchup is its high sodium content - added salt to give it extra taste. If you're squirting a teaspoon or two it's nothing to worry about, but those who have hypertension (high blood pressure) or pre-hypertension, really it's ideal for them to not have any added salts anywhere in their diet. Even for them though, in extreme moderation is likely harmless, but it's hard to consume just a teaspoon with a burger and fries, right? The other drawback is that unless you specifically buy unsweetened ketchup, the one you're using has added sugar (either cane sugar or high fructose corn syrup). Obviously refined sugars are not the best for us so seek out the brands which offer it wit no added sugar - they taste great.

On a more positive note, aside from the sodium and sugar, there is nothing bad or unhealthy about this condiment. In fact, since ketchup is made with tomatoes it contains lycopene, an antioxidant associated with numerous health benefits (1). But given how little ketchup in a serving we eat (or are supposed to eat) one would be far more likely to obtain it from other tomato-based products, like spaghetti or tomato sauce.

ORAC Source

USDA Database for the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) of Selected Foods, Release 2 - Prepared by Nutrient Data Laboratory, Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center (BHNRC), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - May 2010