Eli5: why do people say Mayo is unhealthy?

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Hey everyone.. maybe this is a dumb question, but recently I’ve been wondering why people hate Mayo and say it’s so unhealthy!

Like isn’t it just.. eggs, oil, and seasoning?

Those are all things that to their own extents aren’t considered unhealthy when being looked individually, so why is it that when put together to create Mayo, they suddenly create something unhealthy?

I know Mayo is considered a fat, but I didn’t think it was THAT bad? And aren’t there healthy fats as well?

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36 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments


Anonymous 0 Comments

For several decades, eggs and oils were believed to be a strong cause of heart disease. They were individually things we were told to minimize or avoid (and that extended to foods like butter, for which we were told to substitute margarine). So mayonnaise was also considered an unhealthy condiment.

Even today [an article on the Mayo Clinic website](https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/is-it-healthy-to-eat-eggs-every-day) says that “healthy people may be able to eat up to seven eggs a week without affecting their heart health.”

(Edited to add: my point is that seems surprisingly restrictive for a major medical center to say, considering what is now understood, mostly, to be a misunderstanding about dietary cholesterol.)

Anonymous 0 Comments

People say a lot of things are unhealthy when they aren’t – or at least not more than everything else. Doctors used to claim eggs were unhealthy, same with oil. I think the ‘unhealthy’ label from back then just stuck with mayo.

Anonymous 0 Comments

When part of a balanced healthy diet, mayonnaise isn’t going to be the thing that kills you via heart attack or CHF.

But when it’s consumed as part of a diet high in processed sugars, unhealthy fats, and processed meats, it’s adding cholesterol and fat. Which has an additive effect on the long term negative health outcomes.

TLDR; on its own, it’s not bad for you. When it’s added to an unhealthy diet in excess, it has the potential to make those outcomes worse.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Mayo is really bad for you because it’s packed with calories, and is easily consumed without noticing a major difference.

Just a single tablespoon of mayonnaise is 100kcal, the same as a single apple, a banana or two oranges.

In comparison to other condiments, 1 tbsp of ketchup is 15kcal and 1tbsp of mustard is 10kcal.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Oil is just extremely dense in calories. A single tablespoon of canola oil is over 100 calories. Well put it on a sandwich, dip your fries in it or use it in a dressing, and you can easily have a few tablespoons. Before you know it, you’re consuming a few hundred calories of just Mayo.

It’s not inherently unhealthy. However it’s one of those things that you can easily miscalculate and accidentally add a ton of calories a day if you’re not careful.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Mayo is roughly 80% fat. Fat is very good at storing calories, which makes it easy to consume a lot of calories without you really noticing it. If you consume more calories than you use up you could end up overweight.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Mostly because people use too much of it, it’s not inherently bad but it has a lot of fat an when people use a lot of mayo they’re essentially eating a lot of fat which is not good. It’s easier to blame the food than acknowledging your own bad habita

Anonymous 0 Comments

Like many things, its unhealthy just cause its easy to eat a lot of it without noticing. If you just put a teaspoon of mayo on a sandwich then its not unhealthy, it just adds a little extra calories, but if you add a bunch of mayo into a dressing then you can see the calories start to go up fast.

Anonymous 0 Comments

They’re confusing “unhealthy” with “calorically dense” or “high fat.” The latter is a misconception that’s starting to go out of fashion, but the former unfortunately isn’t.

Mayonnaise is not unhealthy. But eating high calorie, high fat foods in large amounts could have negative health impacts. You could say the same about eating a *lot* of foods in large amounts. If you eat a reasonable amount of mayonnaise (like the amount you might spread on a sandwich), no problem. If you habitually eat mayonnaise with a spoon like yogurt, probably not so great.

As for why people don’t *like* mayonnaise, that has nothing to do with it being perceived as unhealthy. In my anecdotal opinion, most people who don’t like mayonnaise are extremely accustomed to mayo = big gloopy sloppy glops of mayo (for some reason, hardcore mayo lovers just pour it on), and actually don’t particularly dislike it in reasonable quantities. Though some people happen to not like the taste, or are just finicky about brand.