A case study: the « real » mayonnaise
Yesterday, during Memorial day, we had lunch at my family’s place. Homemade quinoa salad, lots of fruits. That was good. We also had hamburgers. And I had a look at the mayonnaise tube. Someone told me: « Look, it’s good, it’s made with real mayonnaise… » So I began to read more on the package and want to share my thoughts with you about food package reading and translating.
The first thing I saw on the front was this claim:
And there is this little asterisk that send the reader not to far away. Just beneath is this phrase: « contains at least 50% of cage free eggs. » Being French and romantic, I asked the USDA website what it means:
Question: What is the difference between Free Range and Cage Free eggs?
Answer: Eggs packed in USDA grademarked consumer packages labeled as free range must be produced by hens housed in a building, room, or area that allows for unlimited access to food, water, and continuous access to the outdoors during their laying cycle. The outdoor area may be fenced and/or covered with netting-like material.
Eggs packed in USDA grademarked consumer packages labeled as cage free must be produced by hens housed in a building, room, or enclosed area that allows for unlimited access to food, water, and provides the freedom to roam within the area during the laying cycle.
What they don’t tell you on this page is what a battery egg is, the ones that make the other 50%. A battery egg is produced by hens in cages, where they don’t have the space to even spread their wings. Animals don’t have the space for any of their natural behavior and are very stressed.
Being cage free let them have some space, to roam, to lay eggs in a nest, to have constant access to food and water. It’s not perfect, but it’s already better.
Going back to the package claim, « at least 50% of cage free eggs » also means « more often only 50% of cage free eggs, completed by battery eggs ».
The « real » ingredients
Claiming a real mayonnaise, I wanted to look at the « real » ingredients.
Number 1 is soybean oil. Soybean oil is discussed on a health point of view due to his production process that makes one carcinogen substance, the N‐Nitrosodi-n-butylamine. I’m not sure that my grandma used to know this kind of oil. Its content is also very high in saturated fat and the ratio omega 6 / omega 3 is very high, at 7. But we’ll speak about that in the last paragraph.
Number 2 is water, a real ingredient that gives plenty of flavors (nope, I’m not ironic at all!!!!)
Number 3 are eggs and we spoke about them already.
Then I fast forward to the sugar (do we really need sugar in a mayonnaise?) and EDTA. I know EDTA as a blood thinner agent used in laboratory for some blood test. When I read « used to protect quality » after the ingredient, my brain automatically translates « preservative ». Well… My grandma never used this one neather…
And last but not least: « natural flavors. » These words are used to mask their secret recipe of chemical components, from natural origin… What is of natural origin can be good, but can also be a poison. Some plants aren’t edible at all.
The omega 3 claim
The package of my real mayonnaise claims that it’s rich in omega 3. And tells you that one serving is 40% o the daily value. One serving size here is one table spoon (you can see it on top of the ingredient list). Which I think is a lot on my hamburger.
Omega 3 are goods for the brain and nerves as they are an important part of the fatty sheath that is around our nerves. They are important for mood disorders, for pregnant woman (who are building a new brain and nervous system)… But what is rarely said is that Omega 3 are in competition with omega 6 for their effects. That means that if you eat a ton of omega 3, but still eat 15 tons of omega 6 (and this is the usual ratio in our standard Western diet), the omega 6 will still win the competition 15 against 1 to produce their effects. And you’ll get all the adverse effects of the omega 6 on the cardiovascular system, the inflammation in your body… Depending on the disease you’re looking at, you need a ratio omega 6/omega 3 lower than 5/1 to get the benefits of the omega 3.
Remember our soybean oil? the ratio is 7/1… Too much already to get the claimed benefits of the omega 3…
In conclusion, don’t trust the package!
My family thought they were buying « Real Mayonnaise, » good for your health with the omega 3, with at least 50% of cage free eggs and I ironically guessed with « real ingredients ».
The only thing you should trust is the Nutrition Fact and particularly the ingredient list. You discover all what’s in it. And it’s an apprenticeship to know the ingredients and their known effects.. And this I can teach you!
Did I put some Mayonnaise on my hamburger? Nope… I basically don’t like it so much. I also think it’s too much work to do myself, though some think it’s easy. Basically, you wheap one yalk that you add with your oil of choice. And you wheap enough until it becomes mayonnaise. A bit of salt and pepper, the rest is « for decoration ».
Well, still to much work for how little I like that. In my dressings, I will prefer just a dash of olive oil. This is also something I can help you with: teach you to make your own decision about what you want to eat already made, what you want to make yourself, and what you want to simplify to make it healthy, but without too much work.
Do you want to know how I can help you? Let’s meet during a free discovery session.
- About eggs production: http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/confinement_farm/facts/cage-free_vs_battery-cage.html
- About Soybean oil: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soybean_oil
- About EDTA: http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-1032-edta.aspx?activeingredientid=1032&
- About omega 3 and omega 6: http://www.berkeleywellness.com/healthy-eating/nutrition/article/balancing-omega-3-and-omega-6-fats