March 31, 2008

Wolf In Sheep's Clothing: Pasta Sauce

There you are on a weekday night, prepping what appears to be a very healthy -- and quick -- dinner: whole wheat fussili topped with half a cup of marinara sauce and a medley of steamed broccoli, spinach, and sauteed onions and peppers.

Fiber? Check.

Protein? Check.

Lycopene? Check.

Vitamin C? Check.

Four teaspoons of sugar? Check.

A third of a day's maximum sodium recommendation? Check.

(Insert sound of record coming to a screeching halt here).

Tomato-based pasta sauces are, in theory, nutritionally superior to cream-based ones.

Unfortunately, many popular brands provide as much sugar as half a can of Coke -- and as much salt as four strips of bacon -- in a mere half cup serving.

Some of the worst offenders are listed below (remember, these values are for just a half cup)!

Ragu Old World Style Marinara Sauce: 780 milligrams of sodium
Ragu Old World Style Traditional sauce: 780 milligrams of sodium

Prego "With meat" Sauce: 12 grams (1 tablespoon) of added sugar

Ragu Chunky Garden Style sauce: 13 grams (1 tablespoon) of added sugar

Prego Traditional Sauce: 15 grams (1.3 tablespoons) of added sugar

Did I mention they all contain high fructose corn syrup?

To make sure your healthy pasta dishes aren't tainted by sauces, take a look at the label.

Choose ones offering no more than 4 grams of sugar and 350 milligrams of sodium per half cup serving.

Some recommendations? Colavita, Rao's, and Muir Glen Organic.


lifeisagrandslam said...

Even better, get thee to Trader Joe's & buy the "no salt added" marinara. $2.29 a jar, practically sodium free, and OH so yummy!

Anto said...


I know these. are hard to come by, but I would LOVE to see you make more recs. like this:

"Choose ones offering no more than 4 grams of sugar and 350 milligrams of sodium per half cup serving."

Any way to persuade you to do that? I will withhold my vote at "blogged" and use it as a bargaining chip in my push for handy one-sentence tips! :)