Friday, 10 August 2012

sugar in savoury products

Yesterday I was in a supermarket and I saw some tins of bouillabaisse soup. I have had this soup many times before and it's delicious. If you like seafood then you'll like bouillabaisse. I don't have it often because it's expensive. I've never had the authentic bouillabaisse from the south of France and I've no idea if the tinned stuff tastes anything like the real thing.

When I ate it I thought that it tasted as if there was sugar in it. So I looked on the label and sure enough sugar was on there. I was annoyed because I really don't have a sweet tooth and I don't like the taste. Also, they've turned what should be a healthy food into something different. I've been trying to avoid lots of fat, sugar and salt. I know that it has always contained 'modified starch' (whatever that is) but adding sugar is something recent.

A few weeks ago I started buying sushi from Sainsbury's. It was cheap and seemed quite healthy. Then I thought it tasted as if it had sugar in it and looking on the label I could see that it did. I have known for some time that cooked pasta in tomato and herb sauce from supermarkets often contains sugar. I know that chefs sometimes add a small amount of sugar to savoury dishes, often in surprising ways. Sugar can be used as a flavour enhancer to bring out flavours, but this is different. I really don't like the taste of soup, sushi or pasta with sugar in it. It's not in the original recipe and it doesn't improve the flavour.

It could be that the amount of sugar in these savoury foods is small. Or it could be a lot of sugar, people are surprised by the amount of sugar that goes into processed foods. Often there's lots of sugar in something but you can't taste it, it might not taste sweet or unbearably sweet. This seems to be a trend that has come from America. The problem is that as the population gets used to savoury foods tasting sweet then people will get a taste for it and manufacturers will add more and more over time. We should be having less and less sugar and instead we are having more and more, even if we want to avoid it. Obesity and tooth decay are big problems, especially in children, and the more this trend continues the more ill health we will have.

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