High fructose corn syrup hides in many popular foods, even America’s favorite condiment — ketchup. And while processed brands, boast “natural” flavors, it’s hard to get past feeding your family an industrial sweetener that’s far from “natural.” So, why not make your own natural ketchup with healthy ingredients, ready to eat in only five minutes?
What’s up with high fructose corn syrup?
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is an industrial food product created in the mid-1970s to replace sucrose in commercial food processing. It is extracted from corn stalks through a process that is apparently extremely secretive, suggests Dr. Mark Hyman. But what we do know is that the sugars are extracted through a chemical enzymatic process, which results in HFCS. HFCS is sweeter and cheaper than cane sugar, making it a high-processed dream for food manufacturers.
Why HFCS is so bad for us
Here’s the problem with consuming foods that contain HFCS: Because of the chemistry involved in the manufacturing of HFCS, no digestion is required, so it rapidly absorbs into the bloodstream. Fructose goes right to the liver and triggers lipogenesis (the production of fats such as triglycerides and cholesterol). Lipogenesis is the major cause of liver damage in America, causing a condition called “fatty liver,” which affects about 70 million people suggests Dr. Hyman.
The fast absorbing glucose also spikes insulin (the body’s major fat storage hormone). That means that consuming HFCS may lead to increased appetite, weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia and more. So, why would you want to consume or feed your family something that could potentially cause that much damage to their wellbeing?
Nutritional benefits of homemade ketchup
- Lycopene: Tomatoes are the best natural source of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant often touted for its potential to prevent prostate cancer. In a report published in the journal Neurology, a team of Finnish researchers also linked lycopene levels in the blood to stroke protection, so stick to a diet that includes some lycopene-rich foods. One tablespoon of tomato paste has 4.6 milligrams of lycopene.
- Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar supports weight loss by contributing good bacteria to the gut microbiome and by stabilizing blood sugar. A number of studies performed on diabetic patients found that blood sugar levels showed less fluctuation when even a small amount of apple cider vinegar was consumed before a meal.
- Raw honey: Raw honey is another potent ingredient that can do so much for the body. Not only does it fight infection and reduce inflammation in the body, but it will also act as a natural food preservative, making it an excellent addition to homemade ketchup.
Healthy Homemade Ketchup
Who doesn’t love ketchup on French fries, burgers or even eggs? Making your own is simple and affordable. This is a “raw” no-cook ketchup recipe. However, if you prefer to cook your sauce on the stovetop, you can.
Makes 3 cups
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: none
- 3 cans organic no-salt tomato paste (no additives)
- 1/2 cup raw apple cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
- 2 tbsp raw honey
- 1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt
- 1 tsp onion powder (no fillers)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp allspice
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 1 cup filtered water
- Mason jar with lid (for storage)
1. Place all ingredients in a blender, except the water.
2. Slowly add the water and blend, until you reach desired thickness.
3. Pour into a mason jar and cover.
4. Keep refrigerated for up to one month.
Use your homemade ketchup anywhere that you would use regular store-bought ketchup, even in recipes such as homemade barbecue sauce for chicken and ribs.
— Katherine Marko