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Get Your Lycopene From Ketchup?

The general assumption is that most people regularly eat three plant foods: French fries, ketchup and iceberg lettuce, none of which has much, if any, nutritional value. All three are a part of a dangerous junk food chain that has jump-started a worldwide obesity epidemic.

Still, I was a little surprised to read about a study that found organic varieties of ketchup contain three times as much of lycopene as non-organic brands. Scientists studied tested lycopene levels and antioxidant activity in 13 brands of ketchup, including three organic varieties.

One brand of organic ketchup contained 183 micrograms of lycopene per gram, about five times as much per weight as a tomato. Non-organic brands averaged 100 micrograms per gram, with one fast-food sample containing just 60 micrograms per gram. Different colors of ketchup (purple and green) had a similar lycopene content to their plain red counterparts. To get the highest lycopene levels, researchers advise picking the darkest red ketchup.

Because ketchup is a processed food that contains little to no nutritional value and exposes you to methyleugenol, a common food flavoring that may cause cancer, however, I recommend staying away from it. Follow this link to a healthier list of whole foods and their estimated lycopene content.

New Scientist January 10, 2005

Food Navigator.com January 10, 2005

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