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How much hidden sugar is in your pasta sauce?

By Marie-Antoinette Issa |


IQS: Hidden sugar Dolmio sauce
Photo by: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP

  • Dolmio pasta sauces packed with hidden sugar now come with a health warning – from the manufacturer.
  • One of the culprits has the same amount of sugar as a Mars bar
  • Savoury fast foods are also under scrutiny, with harmful chemicals used to make soap detected in people who regularly ate takeaway meals.

While people often think of sweet foods when they think of quitting sugar, some savoury foods can be just as bad for your health.

Yes, packaged pasta sauces and fast food, we’re looking at you!

Dolmio warns against eating its pasta sauces more than once a week.

Despite their savoury flavour, packaged sauces are often loaded with hidden sugars.

This week Mars Foods (manufacturer of many popular supermarket brands, such as Dolmio, KanTong and Uncle Ben’s) announced plans to introduce a new labelling system for a range of its non-confectionary products as part of a five-year global health initiative.

Under the new scheme, Mars will label sauces, pastes and other savoury foods with lower levels of salt, fat or sugar “everyday” products. Those high in salt, fat and sugar will be marked with a sticker advising “occasional consumption”, which Mars considers to be as little as once a week.

“Occasional” foods include Dolmio Lasagne Thick Tomato Pasta Sauce, which has close to seven teaspoons of sugar per jar, and Uncle Ben’s Cantonese Sauce, with almost as much sugar as two Krispy Kreme doughnuts per serve.

Mars has also pledged to reduce added sugar in products like Uncle Ben’s Rice Time Sweet & Sour Lunch Pots.

Surprised by the sugar content of these sauces? We’re all for providing consumers with guidance on some less-than-obvious sources, but we’re still not sure why the products need so much sugar in the first place.

And we’re still waiting for Mars to act on previous promises to support added sugar labelling.

Would you like your burger with a side of chemicals?

It may not be full of sugar, but few people would argue that a takeaway burger is a healthy lunch option. However, a new report in Environmental Health Perspectives  has highlighted just how damaging it might be.

Researchers at George Washington University analysed the urine sample of almost 9000 people and found that those who regularly ate highly processed fast food tended to have significantly higher levels of certain phthalates.

These potentially harmful chemicals, which are commonly used in products like soap and food packaging, have been linked to a number of health complications including higher rates of infertility.

Just JERF!

Although I Quit Sugar: 8-Week Program advocates a vegetable-based, fat-inclusive plan to eating, it’s no surprise that we don’t recommend sourcing these veggies and fat from packaged sauces or fast food.

Want to stick to JERFing? These homemade sauces and DIY burgers are a great place to start!

Are you ready to transform your life and quit sugar for good? 
Join us on our next 8-Week Program, starting soon!

Join now!

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