Ketchup Benefits + Side Effects

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 03/03/22 •  10 min read
ketchup benefits and side effects

HEALTH

Energy: ketchup is bad for / increases the risk of blood sugar spikes, metabolic syndrome

Longevity: ketchup is bad for / increases the risk of diabetes, fatty liver disease, heart disease, hyperglycemia, inflammation, insulin resistance, reduced life expectancy, type 2 diabetes

Appearance: ketchup is bad for / increases the risk of obesity, tooth decay, weight gain

Ketchup is typically…

a kids book about plant based eating
Teach Kids Where Our Food Comes From. Look Inside!

ENVIRONMENT

Water footprint: low, 534 liters of water used to produce 1 kilogram of tomato ketchup / 64 gallons of water used to produce 1 pound of tomato ketchup

Carbon footprint: moderate, 2.25kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of ketchup, a car driving equivalent of 5.25 miles or 8.5 kilometers

Destruction: low-high, ketchup production is relatively destructive if sugar is added, the cultivation and processing of sugar, a commonly added ingredient in ketchup, produce environmental impacts through the loss of natural habitats, intensive use of water, heavy use of agro-chemicals, discharge and runoff of polluted effluent and air pollution, which leads to the degradation of wildlife, soil, air and water where sugar is produced and of downstream ecosystems

Ketchup is…

ANIMALS

Kills: none, ketchup production does not require any animals to be killed

Harms: none, ketchup production does not require any animals to be used

Indirectly kills or harms: none, no animals are indirectly killed or harmed from ketchup production as long as toxic chemicals have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as pesticides harm and kill wildlife and ecosystems by contaminating soil, water, air and plants that animals eat

Ketchup (without white sugar) is typically…

LABORERS

Health and safety: hazardous, workers may experience physical abuse, exposure to toxic chemicals and pesticides without protection

Living conditions: poor, high rates of human trafficking, specifically in Immokalee, Florida, in the USA a third of all tomatoes are from Florida and during winter 90%, workers are in the heat and sun for 10-12 hours per day, must share living quarters with many others, sometimes 20 people

Wages: low, reports say workers earn less than 2 cents per pound of tomatoes, workers from Mexico and Guatemala are promised jobs in the USA, they are illegally trafficked and once in Florida must work on tomato farms to repay their debts to their transporters, they must additionally pay over $200 in rent every month 

Ketchup…

Where does most ketchup come from?

The world’s top ketchup exporter is USA, followed by Italy, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Poland, Canada, Portugal, UK and Costa Rica.

Is ketchup nutritious?

Ketchup contains vitamins A and C but is typically high in sugar, sodium and may contain undesirable ingredients like msg, high fructose corn syrup and corn syrup.

ketchup is acidic.

acidic foods and alkaline diet benefits that improve ph levels

Is ketchup alkaline or acidic? Ketchup is acidic. What is the pH level of ketchup? Ketchup has a 5.5 pH level once digested. All processed foods are acidic.

When you eat food, it breaks down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.

Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List

ketchup may contain gluten.

glutinous foods have side effects but a gluten free diet can help

Is ketchup gluten free? Ketchup and other condiments may contain gluten.

While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…

Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:

There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.

Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List

ketchup may contain a common food allergen: wheat.

side effects of common food allergens like milk, wheat, soy, fish, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs and crustaceans

Is ketchup a common food allergen? Ketchup may contain a common food allergen: wheat.

A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:

These foods account for about 90% of all food allergies in the United States.

Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. 

Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.

Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List

ketchup has a low water footprint.

water footprints of food and products

Does ketchup have a high or low water footprint? Ketchup has a relatively low water footprint compared to other foods.

What is the water footprint of ketchup? It takes 534 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of ketchup / 64 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of ketchup.

Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource?

We must do what we can to conserve fresh water and a major way to reduce needless water consumption is to change the way we eat. That’s not to say we need to reduce our water intake….quite the opposite. It’s important for our health to drink lots of water and eat foods that hydrate. The kind of water conservation we’re talking about here is behind the scenes.

How much water does it take to produce an apple? A serving of rice? A steak dinner?

We need to be aware of “water footprints”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.

Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

ketchup has a moderate carbon footprint.

carbon footprints of food and food emissions

Does ketchup have a high or low carbon footprint? Ketchup has a relatively moderate carbon footprint compared to other foods.

What is the carbon footprint of ketchup? It takes around 2.25 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of ketchup, a car driving equivalent of 5.25 miles or 8.5 kilometers.

Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Since carbon measurements are a bit more difficult to comprehend, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance which a car drives in miles or kilometers.

When calculating carbon emissions, some factors may include…

There are a number of steps we can take to reduce energy output. According to Oxford Martin School researchers, if the world went vegan, eliminating animal-derived products, it could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two thirds and avoid climate damages of $1.5 trillion.

But that’s not all!

It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:

Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

ketchup (without added sugar) is sustainable. ketchup (with added sugar) is unsustainable.

sustainable shopping, for eco friendly brands and products good for the environment

Overall, is ketchup eco friendly? Is ketchup sustainable?

Ketchup production is ketchup (without added sugar) is sustainable. ketchup (with added sugar) is unsustainable.

A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.

Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.

A 2010 United Nations report said that a global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world the worst impacts of climate change.

ketchup (without white sugar) is typically vegan.

benefits of vegan food to eat on a vegan diet which helps save animals

Is ketchup vegan? Yes, ketchup are vegan. Ketchup is a tomato condiment and not an animal product or byproduct, therefore making it a vegan food. However, ketchups with white sugar are not vegan.

According to Sentient Media, “more than 200 million land animals are killed for food around the world every day. Including wild-caught and farmed fishes, we get a total closer to 3 billion animals killed daily.”

Animals of factory farms and the livestock industry are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. They’re also injected with growth hormones to become fatter faster and live short lives, being slaughtered as soon as they finish growing and are killed prematurely, well before their natural lifespan.

Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.

Go vegan for animals!

It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.

Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non-Vegan Foods List

ketchup has labor issues and human rights concerns.

benefits of buying fair trade, labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

Is ketchup a product with laborer concerns?

Yes. At this time there are human rights concerns with tomato production.

It’s important to stay aware of human rights concerns and worker exploitation that may come with specific brands.

Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized. 

Sadly, many labor concerns exist around the world in both developed and developing countries. We must be vigilant to ensure what we buy is not contributing to industries that are unfair to their valuable workers. Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even experience harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death! 

Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. 

Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards. 

We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade. 

Sources:

Boredom therapy: why doctors are saying you should stop eating ketchup immediately

ketchup – FoodData Central

Adriane Marie

As an educator, author and conscious consumer advocate, I study and organize ethical info for you to quickly see how our purchases impact animals, people and the planet. I hope you find this HEALabel knowledge useful and can apply it to your life for personal and societal improvement and empowerment.