Wendyl Wants To Know

Each week, Wendyl Nissen takes a packaged food item and decodes what the label tells you about its contents.

Wendyl wants to know: Too much sugar, so this one's staying on the shelf

By Wendyl Nissen

Sauce extreme case of low-fat item being over sweetened to add flavour.

I was alerted to sweet and sour meals by an article in the Sunday Times which found that a sweet and sour ready meal had more sugar in it than a chocolate bar and many others were extremely high in sugar.

A quick scan of frozen ready meals in my local supermarket did not reveal such shocking results but this jar did.

Water
This tells us that the biggest ingredient in this jar is actually water.

Vegetables (carrot, onion, capsicum, baby corn)
You can see quite clear chunks of these vegetables in the mix but there doesn't seem to be a lot of them.

Sugar
This is very heavy in sugar. Per 130g serving which is a quarter of the jar ( it serves four people) you will get 30g or just over 7 teaspoons of sugar. That means that in the whole jar there are 28.5 teaspoons of sugar. I understand that it's called "Sweet & Sour" so you do need a bit of sweet but this amount seems excessive, in my opinion.

White vinegar
This will be providing the sour component of the sauce.

Pineapple (5%)
At 5 per cent of the total jar this means there are 26g of pineapple in here, which isn't a great amount.

Thickener (maize starch 1422)
This is acetylated distarch adipate, which is a treated starch derived from corn.

Tomato paste
This will be in here for flavour.

Salt
You will get 690mg of salt per 130g serve, which is quite high.

Sherry
This will be in here for flavour.

Colour
(paprika extract)Nice to see a natural colour used.

Recommendations:
This is low in fat which is great. You will get just 0.4g of fat per 130g serve. But what it lacks in fat it makes up for in sugar - at just over 7 teaspoons of sugar per serve - and salt at 690mg. I often find that when a producer takes all the fat out of a product you will find salt and sugar in there to boost the flavour.

We are being advised to keep our sugar down to about 10 teaspoons a day for good health so one meal of this would take up a big portion of your daily allowance.

Instead scan labels for a simmer sauce which has less sugar and salt for your next easy to prepare meal.

- NZ Herald

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