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Why is There So Much Sugar in Some Savoury Foods?

Most people are aware (and concerned) about the high amount of added sugar found in sodas, but many of them don’t know that many savory foods are packed with sugar too. So, what’s the reason behind this practice?

Dolmio sauces produced by Mars Food caused a lot of controversies when Mars Food admitted that certain products should be taken no more than once per week due to the fact that they come with high amounts of fat, salt and sugar.

There are many cooking sauces available in the UK and in the US that come with significantly more sugar compared to biscuits and ice cream.

For instance, Tesco Finest, the popular ketchup brand, has about 38 grams of sugar per 100 grams. On the other hand, Tesco Belgian chocolate sauce has about 34 grams per 100 grams.

Tesco officials said that all their products have labels that clearly state the content and its nutritional value, so buyers know exactly what they are buying and eating.

In addition, they highlighted the fact that they have eliminated hundreds of tons of sugar, salt and fat content from their food products in the recent period and their unique sauces were not spared from these changes.

There are many people who point out that ketchup is usually used as a condiment and it is created for limited use.

According to the NHS (National Health Service), every product that has more than 22.5 grams of sugar per 100 grams is a product with high sugar content and products below 5 grams per 100 grams are low sugar content products.

So, this means that Heinz tomato Ketchup which has 23 grams per 100 grams and HP sauces with 32 grams per 100 grams are products with high sugar levels.

When it comes to cooking sauces, the situation is even worse in some cases. For instance, Sharwood’s Hoisin Sauce comes with about 34 grams of sugar per 100 grams and the advised serving is 72 grams (so, about 24 grams per one serving).

It is good to point out that the recommended daily amount of sugars (maximum amount) for an individual who is older than 11 is just 90 grams. In addition, the amount of added sugar should not be greater than 30 grams. Natural sugars include sugars found in milk, fruit and other natural foods.

However, an official from the Premier Foods, the parent company of Sharwood’s, claims that their hoisin Sauce is not created for daily use and that the level of sugar content is labeled properly. Only a small amount of this sauce is used in finished meals because this is a marinade not a regular sauce.

This company that also produces Loyd Grossman and Homepride products has paid special attention on cutting salt in their products in the last few years. In the last five years they’ve used 40 tons less salt. At the moment, they are looking at the options to cut sugar levels in sauces, but their main focus are products that are consumed on a daily basis.

There is another cooking sauce that belongs to the group of high sugar sauces and that’s Levi Roots Reggae sauce with about 26 grams per 100 grams. On the other hand, Dolmio products are not part of this group. Some of them are even close to the foods with low sugar content.

As we all know, different people use different quantity of sauces and some of them follow the advice of the manufacturers while other don’t (they consume more or less). However, there is one problematic situation that causes a lot of concerns – ready meals and eating a whole portion.

There are ready meals that have less sugar, but what’s the reason behind the presence of high levels of sugar in some main meals?

According to Barry Smith, the head of the Centre for the Study of the Senses which is part of the University of London, in many cases people take sugar but they don’t know its sugar because they senses mix it with some savory tastes.

It turns out that sugar has a role of a harmonizer to the sourness and bitterness of some other flavors like spices and salt. In other words the sweetness is not recognized but nevertheless it provides the impact of a sugar rush in the same way as chocolate and ice cream. This means that there are certain savory foods that have the same impact on the body just like sweet foods and lead the same or similar cravings, but the taste is different.

Smith says that the brain is urging you to take more of that food. The body is mechanically taking high amounts of sugar and you are not aware of that. You can’t say I’m full I don’t want more of that. Smith is stunned by the fact that many foods that don’t look like they have sugar are actually packed with sugar.

People must take special attention to the sizes of the portions they have. They should not focus on the percentages when they want to avoid taking too much sugar. They must control the amount of sauces that should be used on pasta and other similar foods.

However, most individuals don’t always choose the best options when it comes to dieting. In case people paid more attention to the nutrient intake, obesity would not be a global problem like it is says Per Moller, an expert focused on food science who works at the Copenhagen University.

The best way to reduce the intake of sugar when eating and preparing food at home is to spend some time analyzing the label.

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