Whenever we have family barbecues in the summer, one of the most unusual things relatives ask for is mayonnaise. They like using it as a dip for my avocado fries and as a condiment on their hamburgers. I’ve never personally been a big fan of mayonnaise itself, but when you transform it into a garlic aioli it’s pure bliss! Although it may not be my can of beans (or jar of mayo), I like being an accommodating host for my guests. But one of the last things I’ll EVER hand my guests is a jar of store-bought mayonnaise!
What’s the Problem with Store-Bought Mayonnaise?
America’s most popular mayonnaise, Hellmann’s has the words “REAL” in bold letters on the jar but their mayonnaise is anything but. Many of the ingredients used in store-bought mayonnaise are made from GMO crops. Of the GMO ingredients in Hellmann’s mayo, the most concerning is the oils they use. Depending on what country you’re in, the primary ingredient in their mayo is either soybean oil (in the U.S) and canola oil (used in the Canadian formula). Neither is better than the other!
Unhealthy Fats: Canola and Soybean
When looking at ingredient labels, the first ingredient is the most plentiful one. In the case of mayonnaise, the first ingredient is fat. The problem with the fats used in mayonnaise is that they’re unhealthy sources of fats. Although, the marketing of canola and soybean oils might have you thinking otherwise!
About 94 percent of soybean crops in the U.S. are herbicide-tolerant GMOs. Eek! That’s almost a near guarantee that the soybean oil you find in mayonnaise contains toxic pesticides.
Similarly, more than 90% of canola oil is made from GMO crops. Even more striking is the fact that canola oil is one of the key ingredients in “non-chemical” pesticides… You read that right, they don’t just spray rapeseed (the source of canola) with pesticide, they make canola oil INTO pesticide. I’m sure that speaks volumes as to why you shouldn’t be ingesting this oil.
Canola oil and soybean oil are also both hydrogenated oils. Hydrogenated oils are unnaturally processed and treated. The process involves bleaching, deodorizing and heating the oils to a high temperature. Hydrogenation alters the composition of fats and increases their shelf life, but it’s far from healthy. If you’ve ever heard that margarine is technically one molecule away from being plastic, you heard right! One study found that the intake of harmful trans fatty acids from hydrogenated oils leads to inflammation and a higher risk of heart problems. Another study linked trans fatty acids from hydrogenated vegetable oils to cancer.
Both canola oil and soybean oil are neutral-tasting vegetable oils. While one of the world’s healthiest oils, olive oil, is technically a vegetable oil it does not contain the harmful ratio of omega-6 fat that soybean and canola oils have. When it comes to balancing omega-6 fats and omega-3 fats, you want to keep your consumption ratio near equal. The problem is, the average person consumes more omega-6 fats than they should! An excess of omega-6 fats has been linked to cancer, heart disease, asthma, and blindness.
Perhaps Hellmann’s “Real” Mayonnaise was real at one point in time, but as it is now I’d avoid it. Try this homemade paleo mayo recipe which uses healthy fats instead!
Coconut Oil Paleo Mayo
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon mustard (optional)
- 3 teaspoons lemon juice
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ cup coconut oil
- Mix the egg yolks, mustard, and 1 teaspoon of the lemon juice in a blender or in a medium-sized bowl with a hand mixer.
- Continue to blend this mixture as you add the oil slowly. Adding a bit at a time is key to forming the mayonnaise. If you add too much oil at once, the oil will not mix well. When the mayonnaise starts to thicken, you can add the oil to the mixture quicker.
- Add in the remaining lemon juice. You may season your mayonnaise with salt and pepper to taste.
For our vegan friends, you can substitute the egg yolks with one flax egg. The result will have flecks of flaxseed as well as an appearance more like mustard but otherwise, the texture and flavor come out great!