Spices, condiments to watch out for

Spices, condiments to watch out for


Monday, December 09, 2019

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SPICES, sauces and other seasonings are the heart of food preparation for obvious reasons — they add the desired flavour. Unfortunately, nutritionist and wellness expert Donovan Grant said these items that are regularly used to enhance or complement your dishes may make your food taste like heaven, but may cause issues later.

“People often don't think about how these things can affect their bodies because generally their intake is small, so they brush it aside. But the ingredients can wreak havoc on the body over time and so it is important that you limit consumption of some of these, or explore alternatives such as making them from scratch. This way you are sure that they are free of harmful additives,” Grant said.

If you are not sure what you might want to start to exclude from your meals one spoon at a time, Grant has shared a list of five popular spices and condiments that may be silently wreaking havoc on your body.


We are fast approaching the Christmas season. One of the most popular spices used in preparing our favourite Christmas pastries, from puddings to pies and egg nog, is nutmeg. But it is what is described as a hallucinogenic, and may trigger a range of symptoms if consumed in large quantities such as visual distortions, nausea and heart palpitations. Grant said that a large amount for humans may be quantified as anything between two to three teaspoons.


Salt is necessary in our diets; however, when consumed in large amounts it can be deadly. “When we consume a lot of salt it can cause serious chemical imbalance in the body. With too much salt in the system there is pressure on your kidneys to dilute toxic amounts, and of course, high levels of salt in your body also raises your blood pressure, thereby putting pressure on your heart,” Grant said. And while a one-off instance might not cause significant long-term damage, if you continue to do it over time you may have to contend with serious health conditions such as kidney failure, stroke and heart disease.


It's a great additive to many bland foods — we like it on our burger, sandwiches and fries. And while most times we don't consume a lot of it, it adds up — the saturated fats, the MSG, and fructose corn syrup.

“Consumption, especially when done consistently over time, could increase the risk for cardiovascular disease, put pressure on the kidneys, and lead to diabetes and obesity. You would be better served if you make your own from scratch,” Grant explained.


Ketchup is the life of the party — for many people it's an automatic additive to many of our favourite dishes even when they already have sauces. We pipe it onto our fries, spray it all over our protein, and we apply it liberally to our burgers. But Grant said that you should rethink this habit, pointing out that you are simply downing several packs of sugar when you do this.

“Ketchup has a very high content of fructose corn syrup; it also contains MSG, high levels of sodium and other flavour-boosting chemicals,” Grant said. Consistent use of ketchup, even in small amounts at a time, may cause you to develop chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and may contribute to you becoming obese.

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