Sugar in salty food – piquant flavour or dastardly mix?

Sugar in salty food – piquant flavour or dastardly mix?

Sugar in salty food – piquant flavour or dastardly mix?

Most of us know that a pinch of sugar in a savoury meal gives it a piquant or pleasantly sharp taste. But 13 grams of sugar (3 teaspoons) in two tablespoons of barbecue sauce? That's a shocker!

Barbecue sauce not your thing – then what about Chinese food? We can get 19 grams of sugar in one of these sauces. That's more sugar than you will find in a lot of chocolate bars!

These days we find sugar in nearly all savoury sauces and preserved vegetables:

  • Pasta sauce 20g/7cubes of sugar per portion
  • Piquant salads 16g/5.5 cubes per 200g portion (sausage, egg or herring salad)
  • Gherkin 12g/4 cubes per 100g jar
  • Pickles 20g/7 cubes per100g

That’s no longer a piquant ingredient – this is a big portion of hidden sugar!

Take a soda with your meal and get an extra 29g of sugar – that’s 10 cubes of sugar! If you put this much sugar in a glass of water and tried to drink it, it would not be possible because it is much too sweet.

Or a Coca Cola? One can comes with 35g of sugar and here you get some salt as well.

Yes, one of the coca cola ingredients is salt! Even though you cannot taste the salt because the drink is so sweet, you get the body experience – you become thirsty after drinking it.

We think we decide how much sugar we eat when we take one piece of cake or a chocolate bar, but we are unaware of the extra sugar we consume through the savoury foods we eat and almost every drink we have. And we serve this to our children!

Why is there so much sugar in savoury foods?

The light-minded answer is because it’s a flavour enhancer, it thickens sauces AND sugar is cheap! But Sugar is not to be underestimated – sugar is addictive! If you eat and drink foods full of hidden sugar you will find yourself craving for more, and more, and more . . . without knowing it you get supported in a habit-forming drug that has been identified to be as hard to kick as morphine, cocaine and nicotine[*].

Added to this we have the addictive nature of salt (sodium chloride), which also stimulates us and causes cravings. As a flavour enhancer, you are much more likely to want to over-eat (think potato crisps to the end of the packet!) It is also often hidden in sweet foods and cereals. It is a leading cause of hypertension – increased blood pressure – thereby greatly increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.

So, to answer the question at the beginning of this article:

Sugar in savoury foods is a dastardly and dangerous

– if not a deadly – mix!

  • [*]

    American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (

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SugarAddictionFood industry

  • By Sandra Schneider, Licensed Therapist, Counsellor, Field Agent & Natural Cosmetic Store Manager

    I love to express (dance, write, cook, sing, organise) under the purpose of joy and playfulness. While I am focusing to keep simple I do not hold back, but go for the depth of truth and call you in your potential.