Mayonnaise – the real, the low-fat and the non-fat

I love mayonnaise.  From my first toasted tomato and bacon sandwich, I have savoured the creamy something-something  it adds.  On potato salad, or as the basis for a delightful aioli, mayonnaise is versatile and a must-have in my kitchen.

Made primarily of egg yolks and oil, it’s a high-fat condiment and for some recipes, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  In my fridge is always a jar of full-fat mayonnaise. Besides its excellent taste, I like it  is because it has real ingredients: oil, egg, lemon, salt.

Depending the brand, low-fat and non-fat mayonnaise have other additives such as gelatin and starch to give it substance, and flavours and sugar to enhance the taste.  Non-fat mayonnaise should be avoided.  It comes back to balanced eating, that a couple of teaspoons per serving now and then isn’t a significant issue.  It’s always better your calories come from real versus processed ingredients.


The other drawback of non-fat mayonnaise (non-fat anything, really), is that it has been processed and altered to appear like real mayonnaise, but in actual use, especially when subjected to heat, will usually break down and lose its consistency.  Flavour can also diminish.

Another question someone asked me is if mayonnaise made with olive oil is better.  If it’s homemade and you are controlling which oil is being use, absolutely.

Commercial mayonnaise, however, is made with very little olive oil.  My observation is that it’s a clever marketing scheme to charge more for essentially the same product.  The ingredient lists canola or vegetable oil as the primary ingredient, with an olive oil blend.  The health benefits from the small amount of olive oil added will not be significant, so save the extra dollar or two and stick with regular mayonnaise.  If you like, whisk in a bit of extra-virgin olive oil yourself when you get home.

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