Tuesday, January 29, 2008


The first food additive I'm going to complain about is Sugar.

Sugar in itself isn't such a bad thing. I like sweets, I like candy bars and I like a bit of sugar in my tea every morning. What I don't like is sugar being added to the food I eat in a sneaky manner.

I used to go to the supermarket and buy name brand spaghetti sauce in jars. I thought it was pretty decent, and that having spaghetti was a pretty healthy way to eat. After all, it's just a bit of garlic and herbs, perhaps some olive oil, and a bunch of tomatoes, right? Well, I started to read the ingredient list and saw sugar in the list. Why add sugar? Simply said, the tomatoes used in sauce might not be ripe enough, so they add sugar to counteract the under-ripe tomatoes they are using. A name brand italian sauce I used started to add sugar after they were purchased by a large conglomerate and introduced it with banners saying "new better recipe"! Yeah, right. Sugar is also useful as a preservative, so the sauce will last longer on the shelf. Better ways of adding a bit of sweetness would be to add caramelized garlic, onions and/or carrots (thought I'm not a big fan of carrots myself in pasta sauce).

Sugar is also often added to bread. Sometimes this is to kick off the yeast, though I find in experience that I don't really need to do this. Often it is added as a preservative to keep the bread on the shelves longer. While still living in America, I noticed, strangely, that most bread had High-Fructose Corn Syrup added to it. The sweetness really doesn't make the bread taste that much better, it's just so that the bread can sit on the shelves for a couple of weeks and still be 'fresh'.

I'm not so much against sugar itself, I just don't like it being sneaked to my food. I'll just stick to having sugar in my tea..


Mark Reynolds said...

I'm no food purist, but this drives me nuts too: in things like bread or pasta sauce I can often taste the extra sugar, and I don't like it. Let me correct for under-ripe tomatoes myself!

Greg said...

Sometimes it's great to have a nice under-ripe tomato sauce for things like Gnocchi. The potatoes are usually a bit sweet and need a bit of sourness to offset them.

I've pretty much just gone to buying some decent italian chopped tomatoes and then caramelizing a bit of garlic to go with them to make a tasty sauce. Not much effort and it just takes about an hour to simmer. The recipe is one of my first posts on this blog.

The Big Finn said...

I just saw a documentary on ITV that covered the very topic you're writing about. One of the things that stuck with me was that Kellogg's Special K now has TWO TIMES the sugar it had something like ten years ago. They've pretty much just done this under the radar.
Is it any wonder that people keep getting fatter and that Type 2 diabetes is on the rise?

Greg said...

TBF: I was just discussing this with a friend of mine. It's this under the radar thing that's just disgusting. It's all about the profit.

Carla said...

Sugar really isn't a necessary preservative when something is canned. Basically companies are using it as a filler and because people have become so addicted to it. Apparently McDonalds even adds it to their fries. Best to make your own sauce.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.