The Difference Between Regular And Light Mayo

Because mayonnaise doesn't have the best reputation health-wise, many believe opting for the light variety will help offset any negative impact. But is it true that light mayo is a healthier alternative? Is there enough difference between the two to matter?

Traditionally, mayonnaise is made with egg yolks, oil, and some sort of acid, usually vinegar. The type of oil used is determined by the type of mayonnaise being made; vegetable oils are commonly found in regular mayo, while light mayo usually requires soybean or canola oil. Both derived from plants, vegetable oil and canola oil have different nutritional profiles. Canola oil is a good source of Omega-3s, and it contains less saturated fat than vegetable oil. This translates when comparing regular and light mayo, as light mayo is subsequently lower in saturated fat and calories than its counterpart.

However, light mayo is loaded with more ingredients than regular mayo. To compensate for the lower fat content, light mayonnaise contains a slew of additives that sometimes includes sugar, food starch, and citric acid. If you're looking to cut carbs, it's important to look out for added sugars or starches. But if you're simply trying to reduce your calorie intake, light mayonnaise might be a better option for you. No matter which you choose, it's recommended to exercise proper portion controls if you're a health-conscious eater. But if that isn't your concern, there are a few other differences you'll want to note.

The taste and texture may differ

For some people, choosing between the two mayonnaise types has nothing to do with calories, and all to do with preference. Two of the things that can determine this are taste and texture. Due to the lower fat content in light mayonnaise, it has a milder taste and a thinner texture than traditional mayonnaise. This, in turn, means the regular variety is bolder, thicker, and creamier.

However, not everyone can tell the difference. For instance, many consumers who reviewed Hellmann's Light Mayonnaise online claimed they couldn't tell the difference between the brand's light and regular options. "The flavor is great and even though it is low calorie it tastes the same," wrote one reviewer. Several of those who did note a variance thought the light version was better for a variety of reasons. 

Meanwhile, other consumers on Reddit believe light mayonnaise may be healthier but doesn't taste as good. For instance, one person wrote, "I don't like the taste as much as regular Mayo." However, if you're trying to swap from regular to light for health reasons, why not just abandon mayo altogether? A few consumers said they substituted mayonnaise for avocado or mustard on their sandwiches and have never looked back.