Are Your Favourite Pasta Sauces Saintly or Sinful Sugar Bombs?


In part of our secret sugar series, I decided to check out the amount of sugar in pasta sauces. While we all know that there's sugar in fizzy drinks etc, it's when it's in the products we don't expect like breakfast cereals, health bars and yoghurt that we start to get worried. I decided to check out pasta sauces this week as it's something many people rely on for a quick meal, and I wanted to see how good or bad our favourites were.


While there were some offenders on the list, two of them weren't bad at all. Tomatoes are naturally sweet and don't really need any added sugar, but a lot of the big food companies pump in extra sugar. However, all these measurements are based on per 100g. In reality people will eat 150g to 200g per serving. So bear that in mind. The guideline daily amounts of sugar consumption are 85g for a child, 90g for a woman and 120g for a man. Now for the details...

  • I was delighted to see that Bunalun, an Irish organic food company, was the healthiest that I could find on the supermarket shelves. It contained only 28 calories per 100g which was the lowest of the lot and 3.5g sugar. These were all naturally occurring sugars, so nothing to be too worried about. It's packed with good stuff, so this definitely seems to be the best of the bunch.
  • Ragu was the worst offender with 8.1g sugar per 100g. Ragu contains added sugar, so much so that it is the second ingredient in the sauce which is always a pretty bad sign as ingredients on food labels are listed in order of quantity. Calories and fat were pretty low, which you would expect in a plain tomato sauce.
  • Dolmio was also pretty bad with 6.4g sugar per 100g, this also included added sugar and sugar was the fourth ingredient on the list. Again considering how most people will consume a lot more than 100g, that's a lot of sugar.
  • Jamie Oliver's pasta sauce didn't contain any added sugar, just as well because I love the stuff and don't want to feel guilty about it. Jamie's contained 3.7g per 100g which is average enough.
  • Lloyd Grossman tomato and smoked bacon sauce contains 5.1g sugar per 100g which is pretty high but definitely not the worst offender.
  • Sacla do yummy pestos but I've never actually had their pasta sauces, theirs also had a good whack of sugar with 5.7g per 100g. They have added sugar into their sauce but it's one of the last ingredients so a lot of the sugars must be naturally occurring from the sweet roasted vegetables. Still very high though.

Jamie Oliver - Tomato, Olive & Garlic Pasta Sauce (per 100g):

Calories: 56

Fat: 2.2g

Sugar: 3.7g

Dolmio - Original Bolognese Sauce (per 100g):

Calories: 40

Fat: 0.7g

Sugar: 6.4g

Lloyd Grossman- Tomato & Smoked Bacon (per 100g):

Calories: 81

Fat: 4.8g

Sugar: 5.1g

Sacla - Tomato and Roasted Vegetables Pasta Sauce (per 100g):

Calories: 94

Fat: 6.7g

Sugar: 5.7g

Ragu - Tomato & Basil Pasta Sauce (per 100g):

Calories: 48

Fat: 0.1g

Sugar: 8.1g

Bunalun Organic Sweet Red Pepper Sauce (per 100g):

Calories: 28

Fat: 0.2g

Sugar: 3.5g


If you liked this article then you should check out some of our previous ones on the amount of sugar in yoghurts, cereal and pizza.

Written By

Emma Kenneally

Obsessed with all things food related, Emma is either thinking about food, talking about food, cooking food or eating food.