Store-bought pasta sauce is a staple item in my kitchen because it’s the base of some of my favorite quick and easy weeknight recipes, like homemade pizza, pasta, and eggplant parmesan sandwiches. I used to stock up on whatever was on sale until I realized that many store-bought tomato sauces are loaded in sugar.
One of my favorite Ragu chunky tomato sauces contains 12 grams of sugar per 1/2 cup serving. That’s 3 teaspoons of sugar per 1/2 cup (!!!) and I almost always eat more than that.
I finally took the time to peruse the grocery store shelves in search of a pasta sauce with very little or no added sugar that tastes good and isn’t too expensive. My first stop was the organic section assuming that was my best bet, but I was startled to find that Brad’s Organic Fat-Free Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce contains 12 grams of sugar per serving. Newman’s Own Organic Marinara is better with 7 grams of sugar per serving, but that’s still almost 2 teaspoons of sugar.
I ventured from the organic aisle to the Italian section at Fairway Market where I found a current favorite, The Silver Palate Marinara Whole Tomato Pasta Sauce made with a blend of imported San Marzano and California tomatoes. My husband is a sauce enthusiast and even he approves of this new find. One half cup contains just 3 grams of sugar, most of it from the tomatoes with just a tad from pear juice concentrate. I bought a 25 oz jar on sale for just $4. Other well-known brands of tomato sauce, such as Rao’s and Mario Batali, can be found with no added sugar but a 25 oz jar will often run you close to $10 in NYC.
Recall from previous posts that consuming too much added sugar can lead to elevated blood sugar, insulin resistance, obesity, fatty liver, chronic inflammation, dysbiosis, fatigue, lightheadedness, and digestive upset, particularly nausea, diarrhea, gas, and bloating.
If you, like me, are an avid consumer of store-bought tomato sauce then I highly encourage you to find a product that includes 4 grams (1 teaspoon) or less of sugar per 1/2 cup serving. And, when tomatoes are freshest, perhaps consider making your own sauce. Here’s this week’s recipe for a relatively quick and fresh homemade tomato sauce.