In the past two days, two things happened that really lit a fire under my butt.
The first-well, let me set the stage for you. I love vegetables. Really and truly, I’m a freak that way. I don’t like okra. Too slimy. Aside from that, I love me some veggies. I eat a lot of frozen vegetables in addition to a metric ton of salad greenery. The other day I pulled out a box of Sugar Snap peas from the freezer. For my frozen veggies I buy whatever is on sale/cheapest. Usually I buy the store brand, but Publix doesn’t have their own snap peas. (Why is that, Publix? Enlighten me.) So, I get whatever is on sale. This past week the Green Giant boxed veggies were on sale for $1 each.
I grabbed a bunch of the Sugar Snaps that I love so, after checking out the boxes and finding the “Simply Steam” snap peas.
It states on the box: “Picked at the peak of perfection. Simply Steam in the bag! No sauce, just enough liquid to cook.”
Sounds good, and off I go.
The time comes, and I toss a bag into the microwave. As it’s cooking I am reading the label as I always do. These are simply steam, no sauce, right? Right. But guess what is in the ingredients. There’s 2 ingredients. The first is, thankfully, sugar snap peas. Guess what the second is?
No, it’s not gluten, thank heavens.
What the *$(*#^@!!!
They went and added sugar to sugar snap peas!
Now I’m ticked. If I’m going to eat sugar, I want to be in control of when, and how much. And quite frankly, it’s going to be some sort of chocolate. It’s sure as anything not going to be in my SIMPLY STEAM veggies!! I ranted about this to my fiance, who smiled and nodded. He’s seen this enough over the past 7 years to know not to say anything when I get going.
I can’t for the life of me imagine why adding sugar would be necessary. I checked the bag of sugar snap peas that I had bought previously (the 365 brand from Whole Foods) and there was 1 ingredient. Sugar Snap Peas. So apparently adding sugar is not necessary for the freezing process, and I can’t imagine why it would be.
So there was that.
Would you like some spaghetti with your sugar?
Then, yesterday I stop at the store to pick up some spaghetti. Jeff had asked for spaghetti for dinner, and I don’t keep it in the house, so I stop to pick some up. (On the rare occasions when he asks for spaghetti I make spaghetti squash for myself) I’m feeling a bit strapped for time, so I start looking at the jarred marinara. Guess what’s in them-SUGAR!! A lot of sugar. Seriously.
I didn’t look at every single one, (although I was so ticked off I almost did) but for the ones I did check out, sugar was usually the third ingredient. A serving of spaghetti sauce contained about 13-14 grams of sugar. For reference, that’s approximately equivalent to 4 ounces of Coke. Regular, full on sugar Coke. How crazy is that?
I realize that a small amount of sweetness may be needed to cut the acidity of tomatoes. I learned from my Mom how to make tomato sauce from scratch, and I was taught to add a spoonful of sugar. Not several cups of sugar.
Always read the label
Here’s what I learned from these experiences. Always, always read your ingredients and labels. Not just for gluten, but everything. Cook from scratch whenever possible to control quality as well as quantity of ingredients. And if you must use jarred sauce, read the label. I’m sure that there are sauces that exist that are lower in sugar, we just have to look for them.
You read about the obesity epidemic, about soaring health care costs, about the evils of high fructose corn syrup, about this generation of kids dying before their parents. I like to think with a little awareness and education we can make a difference in these sobering statistics.
Is it the HFCS? Or is it simply the large portions of all sweeteners-in items where they are neither needed or expected?
Be aware. Read your labels. Be an educated consumer. If you feel so inclined, patronize manufacturers that do not practice random adding of sugar or various forms of sugar.
OK, stepping off my soapbox. For the moment.
What are your thoughts? Have you run into this before? Where have you seen sugar unexpectedly? Share ’em, peeps-shoot up a comment below!