Is Worcestershire sauce bad for you? (Complete analysis)

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Is Worcestershire sauce bad for you? We will discuss the health risks of consuming Worcestershire sauce on a daily basis and analyze the level of sugar, sodium, and colorants in this English sauce. 

Is Worcestershire sauce bad for you?

Worcestershire sauce is bad for you if consumed in excess. A complex bouquet of ingredients allows Worcestershire sauce to blend perfectly with a variety of foods. The seasoning is most often used for ready-made meat dishes: pork and chicken cutlets, beef tenderloin, kebab, pork chop. 

However, Worcestershire sauce is very high in sodium and sugar, so make sure you consume it in moderation. 

Worcestershire sauce – how healthy is it?

To establish how (un)healthy Worcestershire sauce is, let’s learn more about its nutritional values:

Sugars:

For every 100 milliliters (ml) it contains 15.8 grams (g) of carbohydrates, of which 15.5 g are sugars, that is, almost 16% of the product is sugar.

For a 6 ml serving, 1 g is sugar. However, it contains 3 different types of sweeteners. Although it is fair to mention that 2 of them are of natural origin (normal sugar and brown sugar).

To be a suggested seasoning in savory preparations, the amount of sugar is high.

The portion most frequently used by consumers exceeds 6 ml. It can range from 3 to 5 servings (ranging from 18 ml to 30 ml) depending on the tastes of each consumer.

Sodium:

For every 100 ml, it contains 1,200 milligrams (mg) of sodium. For every 6 ml, a serving contains 80 mg of sodium.

It should be remembered that high sodium intakes have been associated with conditions such as high blood pressure or hypertension.

The consumption of this product in high quantities can become common and therefore represent a high sodium intake.

Colorants:

Contains caramel coloring IV, which has been classified as carcinogenic in the state of California, United States.

Ingredients:

Water, vinegar, applesauce, brown sugar, sugar, iodized salt, tamarind pulp, class III caramel coloring, hydrolyzed soy and corn protein, condiments, artificial flavors, maltodextrin, class IV caramel color, monosodium glutamate.

It contains 13 ingredients in total, of which 3 deserve special attention: class III caramel, class IV caramel, and monosodium glutamate.

Class III caramel is made only with sulfides, it does not have the same toxicological character as class IV candy, but it is aggressive.

The IV caramel is made with sulfides and ammonia, which when heated produce by-products called 2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazole (2-MI and 4-MI), which have been shown to be associated with different types of cancer. 

In the state of California, USA, this dye was classified as a carcinogenic dye because of the type of processing it is subjected to. The studies are so strong that if a product exceeds 29 micrograms, it must contain a precautionary legend that establishes its risk of cancer.

In the case of monosodium glutamate, it has been seen to have associations with cytotoxic effects (cell death, lymphomas, neurodegenerative changes, among others) negatively impacting different organs.

Labeling:

The labeling is simple and sober, orange, black, and light brown. In the middle, there is a black oval with the name of the product in the center. The rest of the labeling is brownish orange.

On the front side, there is no nutritional information except the calorie information.

The nutritional information should be on the front as indicated by the corresponding official standard. This is important, particularly in a high sodium product as is the case. This information is on the back. However, it is extremely difficult to distinguish, even to read, because the letters are small.

Before the nutritional information, the following paragraph is observed: “this sauce has been prepared and matured with special care, carefully selecting each of the ingredients and based on our original recipe, in order to refine the flavor of your appetizers, soups, salads, meats, stews, sauces, fish, shellfish, pizzas, and cocktails ”.

We have to mention that this English type sauce is one of the “classics” since this brand was one of the first to emerge.

The legend on the subsequent labeling is primarily false. This is because Caramel IV is part of the original recipe; They are also not carefully selected ingredients, but rather common ingredients in processed consumer products. 

For consumers, it may be of greater interest due to the daily and frequent use of this type of ingredients in the different products, which generates at the end of the day considerable amounts of chemical elements that end up being incorporated into the body.

Final thoughts

English-type sauces, particularly Worcestershire sauce, are widely used in different preparations: family roast meat, roast chicken, pasta, soups, salads, sauces, seafood, cocktails, even “michelada” type drinks (a drink preparation to which Add lemon and salt, and/or soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, lemon chili powder).

Consumers have incorporated the use of this type of sauces in a wide variety of dishes, trusting in their “original recipe”. There are preparations that are even offered as part of the family meal to infants and young children.

Our opinion about the Worcestershire sauce is that it is not suitable for daily consumption or for children or pregnant women because it contains an ingredient that has been called carcinogenic.

Due to its sodium content, it is not recommended in people with hypertension.

We would suggest using seasoning with natural ingredients or season with garlic, onion, and herbs.

If you have any comments or questions on the content please let us know. 

References

Michelle Rivera, Jose R. Salcedo, Worcestershire Sauce-Induced Hematuria, Journal of Urology, 10.1016/S0022-5347(17)53910-5, 127, 3, (554-554), (1982).

WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE AND THE KIDNEY, The Lancet, 10.1016/S0140-6736(71)92515-3, 298, 7730, (913-914), (1971).

Yuanhan Yin, Osamu Wada, Shigeo Manabe, Exposure level monitor of a carcinogenic glutamic acid pyrolysis product in rabbits, Mutation Research/Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis, 10.1016/0027-5107(89)90223-6, 215, 1, (107-113), (1989).

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Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.

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