Be careful how you season your food

See the explanation of how we can prevent the excessive intake of sugars, fats, and calories in the accompaniment of food.

Be careful how you season your food
Watch how you season your food. Diana Polekhina / Unsplash

Amid so many temptations offered by the food market, eating healthy is, without a doubt, an act that requires a little effort, but a lot of conscience. Our willingness and willpower can be fruitless when the lack of nutritional information makes a healthy dish unhealthy when we add ingredients that are not very beneficial for the organism.

Libertad Zamorano García, the researcher at the Coordination of Food Technology of Animal Origin of the Center for Research in Food and Development (CIAD), explains how we can prevent the excessive intake of sugars, fats, and calories in the accompaniment of food.


A salad can be a very healthy dish, but for each serving of dressing we add, without realizing it, we add saturated fats, vegetable oil, high fructose corn syrup, modified starches, colorants, and excess sodium, among others, which can transform a meal that is originally low in calories into a high-calorie meal; for example, a spoonful of dressing as commonly used as "thousand island dressing" can provide us with 30 to 60 calories, depending on the commercial brand.


When we think of sauces, those that provide spicy flavors come to mind, but there is a great variety used in food preparation: sweet, salty, acidified; for example, did you know that a single spoonful of soy sauce contains more than the recommended amount of sodium per day?

Likewise, packaged hot sauces are usually important sources of this mineral, which is associated as a risk factor for the appearance of cardiovascular diseases. Products such as "chamoy", which is very popular among infants and young people as an accompaniment to snacks, also contain a large number of sugars, starches, and colorants in addition to sodium. Tomato sauces have even been marketed that contain less tomato than tomato; in addition, ketchup is characterized by its high sugar content.


It is not advisable to add honey or artificial syrups on fruits or baked goods at the time of consumption. Fruits already contain enough sugars for our body to metabolize them without harming our health. Many of the flours prepared for desserts have a large number of sugars, which is greatly exceeded when the different mixtures of whipped creams and jams are added to the pastry.

If we are enthusiastic about sweet flavors, it is a better idea to complement hotcakes with chopped fruit on top than with butter, jams, or maple syrup. However, substituting sugar for honey in baking can be of great benefit.

The new nutrition labeling in Mexico offers warnings in the form of octagons on food products that exceed the number of sugars, saturated and trans fats, calories, and sodium, as well as the presence of caffeine and sweeteners. This is an excellent guide that can help us make decisions about our diet.

Finally, Zamorano García advised substituting commercial products at our table, opting for more natural complements, such as homemade sauces and dressings, which only need spices for their preparation, without adding sugar and taking care of the amount of salt.

"There is a large number of spices that we have not known how to exploit and that provide us with great flavor in food. Using ingredients that we have at home in moderate quantities, we can replace commercial sauces and dressings with more natural options and enjoy a delicious and healthy meal," he concluded.