You may have seen recent television and magazine advertisements for Best Foods “real” olive oil mayonnaise, claiming its health benefits due to its Omega 3 content. Best Foods has started by changing the labeling on their mayonnaise to read “Real”, along with the assertion in their ads that their mayonnaise is made with “real” food. It sounds convincing, but when you look at the ingredients, you can immediately discern otherwise:
Water, oils (soybean oil, extra virgin olive oil), vinegar, whole eggs and egg yolks, modified corn starch, sugar, salt, lemon juice, (sorbic acid*, calcium disodium EDTA) used to protect quality, xantham gum*, citric acid*, natural flavors, oleoresin paprika, beta carotene* (color). Gluten free.
*Ingredient not in mayonnaise
There is a list of words in fine print at the bottom of the page found on their web site with this information which reads the following:
*Contains 650mg ALA per serving which is 50% Daily Value for Omega 3 ALA (1300mg).
For anyone acquainted with natural sources, it is pretty obvious that none of the ingredients listed have anything containing Omega 3 essential fatty acids. Soybean oil is a processed, rancid oil that is extremely high in Omega 6 content. Too many Omega 6s in the diet cause inflammation, which contributes to degenerative disease.
Olive oil is a healthy oil only if it is high quality (Best Foods uses Bertolli) and is contained properly (in a dark bottle). Olive oil can go rancid easily, and sitting in a jar of mayonnaise with a clear glass container is a good place for that to occur. Olive oil is not an Omega 3 essential fatty acid, it is actually an Omega 9.
Here is the ingredient list for Best Foods standard mayonnaise:
Soybean oil, whole eggs, vinegar, water, egg yolks, salt, sugar, lemon juice, natural flavors, calcium disodium EDTA (used to protect quality)
Of course, Best Foods are still touting the usual trendy statement to which many food companies lay claim, which is that their products contain “no trans fats”. Au contrare, but they do! Like many other commercial mayonnaises, this brand contains soybean oil, which is always rancid by the time it gets to your sandwich or salad (a trans fat by any other name).
They even put butter and lard in the same category as partially-hydrogenated oils. Shame on them for misleading the consumer!
The ingredient calcium disodium EDTA is a neurotoxin and is dangerous to consume. Read about this here.
According to Hellman’s and Best Foods:
What is real mayonnaise?
Mayonnaise, as defined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Standard of Identity, must contain at least 65% oil by weight, vinegar, and egg or egg yolks. It may contain spices and natural seasonings except turmeric and saffron, whose yellow color might suggest added egg yolk. Preservatives such as calcium disodium EDTA are acceptable and approved for use in mayonnaise.
On another topic of relevance, we know that many store-bought products contain ingredients with GMOs (genetically-modifed organisms). Mayonnaise is no exception. Here is an interesting blog post I found from a person who contacted Best Foods/Unilever Foods asking about the presence of GMO’s in their mayonnaise, and here is their response:
Thanks for writing!
It is our policy that any of our products which may contain ingredients created through the use of biotechnology, be proven that their safety to consumers and the environment is fully established.
Biotechnology has the potential to help meet the demands of people for everyday products that are more environmentally friendly; that involve less processing; that are more functional; that taste better; that last longer; that provide added nutritional benefits; that are customized to an individual’s lifestyle; and that are currently available. Biotechnology is important to Unilever (Lipton etc,) because it helps our mission as one of the world’s largest consumer goods companies to continue to deliver innovative products that our consumers tell us they want. Products resulting from biotechnology have been used successfully and safely for many years – for example: in the pharmaceutical industry.
We are also committed to the provision of the best possible information to the consumer. The FDA has had a sound labeling system in place for biotech foods since 1992. Under that system, biotech foods must be labeled if they are found to be significantly different from their conventional counterparts, or if they contain allergens. This is the same basic program that safeguards the conventional food supply in the United States.
Since there is no difference between plants or foods derived from biotechnology and those not derived, there is no clear reason to label either respectively. All of our products are labeled in accordance with the rules and regulations of the federal government.
It is our responsibility at Unilever – and a responsibility we take very seriously – to make certain all of our ingredients are safe. We believe biotechnology is already significant and that its development will continue to bring major benefits to society as a whole.
Thank you for your interest,
Your friends at Unilever Foods
Basically, what I believe the company is telling the consumer in this letter is that you should not worry about anything created synthetically, and that any of those items are just as safe to consume as anything grown in nature. I’m also hearing that because the government has set forth laws and regulations, and Best Foods adheres to those standards, we should just blindly trust their judgment about what is healthy to consume (we know they’ve been wrong before!). It is unbelievable that companies are allowed to sell foods like this, present untruthful information, and then use government laws and regulations to back up their claims.
To recap what we’ve discussed here:
- Best Foods Mayonnaise does not contain Omega 3 essential fatty acids. It does in fact, contain Omega 6s (from rancid soybean oil) and Omega 9s from olive oil of which we don’t know a great lot of detail about its source. We already mentioned that too many Omega 6s lead to disease. Too many Omega 6s are common in the Western diet (particularly in the United States).
- This brand includes additives in their product such as calcium disodium EDTA and “natural flavors” (for preservative and taste qualities) that have been shown to cause health issues. For more reading on these subjects, check out Hard to Swallow: The Truth About Food Additives by Karen Evans and Doris Sarjent and Excitoxins: The Taste that Kills By Dr. Russell Blaylock, M.D.
- Best Foods also admits to using GMOs in their ingredients, and claims these substances are not harmful to human health (soybean oil is usually from a GMO source unless otherwise labeled, and Best Foods claims in their letter above not only to use GMOs but also believes they are safe to consume). To learn more about the dangers of GMOs, visit the Safe Food web site.
- Finally, the other ingredients used in their mayonnaise are most likely from factory farm and industrial sources – eggs, vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, and water. Industrial eggs are wrought with chemicals, hormones, antibiotics, and contain low levels of nutrients – especially the all-important Omega 3s and conjugated linoleic acid.
There may be some question as to whether or not other brands are as nutritionally-deficient as Best Foods, and the answer is most definitely, yes. Just read the labels to find out; become a health sleuth. Many brands will claim that vegetable oils such as canola oil are “heart healthy”. Canola oil is another high content Omega 6, usually genetically-modified, and rancid on the shelf. This oil is commonly found in many brands of mayonnaise. Most brands on the market will have either canola, soybean, sunflower, safflower, or cottonseed oil in them – all are unhealthy vegetable oils that are not organic, unless labeled, are rancid, and genetically-modified.
Alternatives? Make your own mayonnaise. Here are some good recipes:
Passionate Homemaking – coconut oil mayonnaise!
This post is listed on Kelly The Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesdays Carnival. Check out the other great real food posts there.