Why doesn’t mayonnaise have protein?
In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “why doesn’t mayonnaise have protein,” and discuss is mayo a carb, lipid, or protein, and is mayo healthy for eating.
Why doesn’t mayonnaise have protein?
Mayonnaise doesn’t have protein because the main component of this food is oil; besides it contains egg, it’s made with just little amounts of the egg yolk (1).
What is the nutritional value of mayonnaise?
According to the records of USDA FoodData Central, 1 tbsp of mayonnaise (13.8 g) contains around 93 calories, 10.3 g fat, 0.132 g protein, and 0.007 g carbohydrates (2).
As you can see, it is almost all fat in the nutritional value of mayonnaise, and this is due to the ingredients used in this product.
The basic recipe for mayonnaise is as follows (1):
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- 300 ml oil
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
As you can see, mayonnaise is made with egg yolks, vegetable oil, lemon juice (or vinegar), salt, and pepper. However, egg yolk is high in proteins but also in fats, and it is used just as an emulsifier (it keeps water and oil homogeneous) (1).
So for mayonnaise to have protein, it would have to have the egg whites in it as well, or add more protein-rich ingredients like a protein powder (1).
You can make mayonnaise using a variety of ingredients, including the addition of other oils like olive oil, herbs, spices, or garlic to create different flavors (1).
Is mayo a carb, lipid, or protein?
Mayonnaise is mainly a lipid-based food. Unfortunately, it is not a protein-rich food, but it also does not contain high amounts of carbohydrates.
As mentioned before, mayonnaise is made primarily with oils, which are lipids, and some egg yolk, which are proteins and fats (1).
There is some chemical difference between fats and oils, but both belong to fats macronutrient (3).
Fat is a macronutrient that is solid at room temperature and it is found in meat, dairy, plants, and animal products. Oil is a fat in liquid state (at room temperature) substance that has low viscosity; the similarity between fats and oil is that both do not mix with water (3).
Therefore, by definition mayonnaise is both fat and oil, because it contains both animal-derived fats, and vegetable oils.
Is there any protein in mayo?
In short, there is some protein in mayonnaise, but not so much that it’s going to make a meaningful contribution to your protein intake (1).
Mayonnaise is made with eggs, which are a good source of protein, but the amount of egg used in mayonnaise isn’t particularly high (1).
Considering a standard serving size of 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise (which adds up to roughly 15g), you’ll be getting less than 1g of protein. And that’s before you consider all the other stuff usually added into mayonnaise, sugar, salt, and sometimes even extra oils (2,4).
What if you’re talking about vegan mayonnaise? Well, most vegan mayos are actually made with soybean oil and other vegetable oils, which contain no protein at all. So you’re out of luck on this one. (2,4)
It is the same case with reduced fat and low fat mayonnaise; these products are formulated with several additives like gums, thickening agents, emulsifiers, and stabilizers to use larger amounts of water, and reduce the fat content (5).
Hence, most reduced and low fat mayonnaise contains no proteins or below 0.5 g per 100 g of product (this will be approximately 0.075 g per tbsp) (4).
What are the factors affecting the protein content in mayonnaise?
The main factor affecting the protein content in mayonnaise is the formulation. If the manufacturers do not use protein-rich ingredients, the product will not have high protein content (1).
Some ingredients already being tested among the scientific community are whey proteins, legume proteins, and even marine-proteins like spirulina. Nevertheless, these are laboratory-based prototypes and it requires further research to launch these formulations to the market (6-9).
Moreover, the amount of protein added in will not make mayonnaise a protein-rich food, mayonnaise will still be a lipid-based food; in the case of reduced fat and low fat products, they will provide mostly water and oils (1).
Maybe you will look at a lot of new mayonnaise products with different types of oils like olive oil, avocado oil, canola oil, among others; it is important to note that changing the oil type will not affect the protein content (1).
What are alternatives for mayonnaise for protein consumption?
If you want to eat protein-rich dressings and sauces as an alternative to mayonnaise, you can opt for yogurt-based sauces. Kebab garlic sauce, herb spiced yogurt dip, and persian cucumber and yogurt dip are excellent examples of sauces with a better protein content (10).
Yogurt is a fermented dairy product that besides providing higher protein content and quality, it is a good source of probiotics. Probiotics are live bacteria (mainly) in your gastrointestinal system (10).
Probiotics can exert beneficial effects on your health, for example (10):
- They metabolize fiber and produce short chain fatty acids that prevent colon cancer.
- Probiotics also produce natural antibiotics known as bacteriocins which prevent gastrointestinal infections with pathogenic bacteria like Salmonella.
- They can activate different metabolic pathways that improve your immune system against respiratory and immunological diseases.
Moreover, dairy products like yogurt are a good source of calcium and vitamin D, micronutrients important for good bone health and prevention of osteoporosis (10).
Is mayo healthy for eating?
Well, it depends on who you are and what your dietary goals are. Mayo is a high-fat food, so if you’re trying to lose weight or reduce fat in your diet, eating mayo will be counterproductive to your goal (11).
Some reduced fat and low fat products are elaborated with partially hydrogenated oils to obtain a better texture; however, hydrogenated oils are a source of trans fatty acids (12).
Trans fatty acids are linked to health concerns like increased risk of obesity and cardiovascular diseases (12).
However, if you’re an athlete and trying to increase your fat intake for energy, mayonnaise can be a good way to do that without adding too many extra carbs (13).
Overall, all things being equal, if you prioritize eating whole, natural foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is generally healthier than a diet based on processed foods like mayonnaise (14).
Is mayonnaise good for muscle building?
No, mayonnaise is not a good source for muscle building (14).
Mayonnaise is a blend of eggs and oil, as well as other ingredients such as lemon juice and mustard. While it has been recommended to some athletes by their personal trainers or nutritionists, mayonnaise should not be considered a consistent source of muscle building nutrition (1,14).
Is regular mayonnaise keto-friendly?
Yes, regular mayonnaise is a keto-friendly food. It contains almost no carbohydrates and provides a significant amount of fat. Regular mayonnaise can be used to enhance the flavor of meat, vegetables, and other keto-friendly foods (15).
If you want to know more about Keto diet, please visit our article on the effectiveness of Keto Diet for weight loss.
Other FAQs about Mayonnaise that you may be interested in.
In this brief guide, we have addressed the question, “why doesn’t mayonnaise have protein,” and other questions related to the subject, such as is mayo a carb, lipid, or protein, and is mayo healthy for eating.
- Mirzanajafi-Zanjani M, Yousefi M, Ehsani A. Challenges and approaches for production of a healthy and functional mayonnaise sauce. Food Sci Nutr, 2019;7(8):2471–84.
- FoodData central [Internet]. Usda.gov. [cited 19 June 2023]. Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171009/nutrients
- FoodData central [Internet]. Usda.gov. [cited 19 June 2023]. Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/581172/nutrients
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- Su H-P, Lien C-P, Lee T-A, Ho J-H. Development of low-fat mayonnaise containing polysaccharide gums as functional ingredients: Low-fat mayonnaise by adding polysaccharide gums. J Sci Food Agric, 2010;90(5):806–12.
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- Sun C, Liu R, Liang B, Wu T, Sui W, Zhang M. Microparticulated whey protein-pectin complex: A texture-controllable gel for low-fat mayonnaise. Food Res Int, 2018;108:151–60.
- Ouraji M, Alimi M, Motamedzadegan A, Shokoohi S. Faba bean protein in reduced fat/cholesterol mayonnaise: extraction and physico-chemical modification process. J Food Sci Technol, 2020;57(5):1774–85.
- Metri-Ojeda J, Ramírez-Rodrigues M, Rosas-Ordoñez L, Baigts-Allende D. Development and characterization of a low-fat mayonnaise salad dressing based on Arthrospira platensis protein concentrate and sodium alginate. Appl Sci, 2022;12(15):7456.
- Chandan RC, Gandhi A, Shah NP. Yogurt. In: Shah NP, editor. Yogurt in Health and Disease Prevention. San Diego, CA, Estados Unidos de América: Elsevier; 2017. p. 3–29.
- Karupaiah T, Chuah K-A, Chinna K, Matsuoka R, Masuda Y, Sundram K, et al. Comparing effects of soybean oil- and palm olein-based mayonnaise consumption on the plasma lipid and lipoprotein profiles in human subjects: a double-blind randomized controlled trial with cross-over design. Lipids Health Dis, 2016;15(1):131.
- Islam MA, Amin MN, Siddiqui SA, Hossain MP, Sultana F, Kabir MR. Trans fatty acids and lipid profile: A serious risk factor to cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes. Diabetes Metab Syndr, 2019;13(2):1643–7.
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