Q. Should condiments be considered when planning a diabetic diet or meal plan, or are they considered "free" foods?
Portion size should
be considered when using condiments.
Many condiments qualify as a "free" food in an individualized meal plan. Free foods have less than 5 grams of carbohydrate and less than 20 calories per serving. In small amounts, most condiments have no significant effect on blood glucose levels.
However, it is necessary to be aware of your portion size when it comes to condiments containing calories or carbohydrates. One serving may indeed be a free food; two servings may not be. For example, 1 tablespoon of catsup containing 4 grams of carbohydrate is free, but 3 to 4 tablespoons of catsup adds up to 12 to 16 grams of carbohydrate, which needs to be counted as 1 carbohydrate exchange.
The following chart shows how carbohydrate amounts on the labels of condiments translate to carbohydrate exchange amounts. Be sure to make note of the serving size on the label.
If you typically eat more or less than the serving, you'll have to adjust the carbohydrate amount accordingly. Be sure to check with your registered dietitian or certified diabetes educator to see if these amounts fit into your individualized meal plan:
|1 to 5g||Free
|6 to 10g||1/2 carbohydrate
|11 to 20g
|21 to 25g
|26 to 35g
Another nutrient to keep an eye on in condiments is sodium. One teaspoon of mustard with 120 milligrams of sodium may fit into your meal plan; three to four teaspoons -- with nearly 500 milligrams -- may not.
While most condiments are fat-free or nearly so, some are loaded with fat. Check the nutrient labels of dips, mayonnaise, guacamole, sour cream, and tartar sauce for fat gram information. Use light, low-fat, or fat-free versions instead.
And again, measure your portion sizes. One "free" serving at less than half a gram of fat adds up if you exceed the portion size or number of servings.
For more information about types of condiments, as well as condiment recipes, visit:
- Sweet & Hot Onion Relish
- Condiment Recipes
- Eating Healthy: Healthy Condiments and Seasonings
- Benefits of Horseradish
- Sodium In Diet