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Tomato, barbecue, chilli, mustard, horseradish. We all love a slurp of sauce and it’s so easy with store-bought brands as you just squeeeeeeze or plop it on your food. Sauces add that appetising mix of tangy and sweet to steaks, sausages, ribs and heaps of other savoury foods. What we often don’t realise is that they contain a fair whack of added sugar. Do you know how much hidden sugar there is in your favourite sauce?
Here’s how much hidden sugar is in your tomato, barbecue and sweet chilli sauces
We did an inventory of three popular sauces – tomato, barbecue and sweet chilli – for their added sugar and sodium, a measure of salt (salt is sodium chloride).
|Sauce||Sugar position in Ingredient List||% sugars||Sodium - mg/ 100mL|
|Range||16 - 29||110- 1350|
|Fountain Tomato Sauce 2L||2nd||22||846|
|MasterFoods Squeezy Tomato Sauce||2nd||21||744|
|Rosella Squeezy Tomato Sauce 500mL||2nd||16||1180|
|Fountain Tomato Sauce Glass Bottle 600mL||2nd||28||930|
|MasterFoods Squeezy Salt Reduced Tomato Sauce 500mL||2nd||18||547|
|Heinz Tomato Ketchup 1L||2nd||26||1350|
|Dick Smith Squeezy Tomato Sauce 500mL||2nd||24||626|
|Outback Spirit Tomato Sauce 245mL||3rd||19||936|
|Three Threes Tomato Sauce 275mL||3rd||23||1205|
|MasterFoods Squeezy Australian Grown Tomato Sauce 500mL||2nd||29||844|
|Pops Tomato Sauce Dispenser Pack 600mL||2nd||20||110|
|Heinz Organic Tomato Ketchup 500mL||2nd||25||1220|
|Range||23 - 54||473 - 1102|
|MasterFoods Squeezy BBQ Sauce 500mL||2nd||54||1051|
|Outback Spirit BBQ Sauce 245mL||2nd||23||473|
|MasterFoods Squeezy Smokey BBQ Sauce 500mL||2nd||43||836|
|ETA Original BBQ Sauce 375mL||2nd||46||1102|
|MasterFoods Squeezy Reduced Salt BBQ Sauce||2nd||38||683|
|McCormick Grill Mates Vintage Smokehouse BBQ Sauce 500mL||2nd||28||868|
|McCormick Grill Mates Brown Sugar Bourbon BBQ Sauce 500mL||2nd||29||950|
|Sweet chiili sauces|
|Range||42 - 69||183 - 1930|
|Fountain Sweet Chilli Sauce 250mL||1st||42||1085|
|Trident Sweet Chilli Sauce 285mL||1st||69||1650|
|Trident Thai Sweet Chilli Sauce 730mL||1st||69||1650|
|Ramasa Thai Sweet Chilli Sauce 250mL||1st||43||183|
|Mae Ploy Sweet Chilli Sauce 730mL||1st||61||1930|
|Ayam Sweet Chilli Sauce 435mL||1st||61||715|
Footnote: tomato and BBQ sauces contain both natural sugars from tomatoes as well as added sugar so the % sugars figure is the total. However the added sugar is much more than the naturally-occurring in these sauces.
Don’t be fooled by Health Haloes
Many sauces carry fat-free, gluten-free, MSG free, preservative free and other health halo claims. This doesn’t mean they’re healthy. Many are still high in sugar and salt. Take Heinz’s Organic Tomato Ketchup! Yes, all the ingredients are ‘organic’ including the added sugar BUT sugars make up 25 per cent of the sauce and it has a hefty 1220mg of sodium per 100mL.
So what does it all mean?
Sweet chilli sauce is, hands-down, the sauce with the highest sugar content. For many brands like Master Foods’ range of chilli sauces, sugar is the second ingredient after water! For Ayam, Mae Ploy, Trident, Coles, and Fountain Sweet Chilli Sauces and for the Ramasa Thai Sweet Chilli sauce and the Outback Spirit,Kakadu Plum Chilli Sauce, sugar or sugar syrup is the number one ingredient!
Some manufacturers are addressing the problem of added sugar and high sodium levels in their sauces. So when you buy your next bottle of sauce try some of these instead:
Fountain 'No added Sugar' Tomato and Barbecue sauces
- No added sugar
- 25% less added salt*
- With Natvia Natural Sweetener
Ayam Thai Sweet Chilli Sauce Light
This has no sugar and uses the sweeteners 951(Aspartame) and 950 instead (Acesulphame Potassium Acesulphame K). However, it’s salt level is still relatively high at 1555mg per 100g.
The bottom line
Again I’m going to repeat my two nutrition mantras – moderation in all things and read the label! A little chilli, barbecue or tomato sauce occasionally won’t kill you but consuming them in large quantities will rack up the kilojoules/Calories and increase your sodium (salt) load. Choose the lowest salt and sugar levels you can find and then enjoy!
Credit: Thank you to student dietitian Marthury Jeyalingam for help in compiling the sauce figures.
Images: courtesy of shutterstock.com