Shelf-stable condiments sure do make life a little easier -- we won't argue that. We're talking about those condiments that are kept at room temperature -- single-serving packets or tubes of dips, self-serve pumps of your favorite sauce, bottles of ketchup and other sauces and salad dressings that sit out on the table at your local diner, and even those little prepackaged creamers for your coffee. Convenient, yes, but at what price?
There's a reason these foods can skip the refrigeration, and it's not because they're dried or fermented as shelf-stable foods of the past were; these condiments have been engineered not to deteriorate -- and that means preservatives and additives such as food coloring, sweeteners, salt, bad fats (such as trans fats, which are linked to premature heart disease) and chemical agents such as dimethylpolysiloxane for texture. (That example, dimethylpolysiloxane, is used as an anti-foaming agent in ketchup and many processed and fast foods -- think about that: Should ketchup foam?) Any fiber, good fats and nutrients are stripped out in the process.