Did you know Tomato Passata is packed with sugar?

What if I told you that the ‘healthy’ Spaghetti Bolognese or ‘healthy’ Chilli Con Carne you cooked could be the reason you are not losing weight or could increase the risk of type 2 diabetes? I am sure a lot of you will raise your eyebrows at this statement. If you have read my previous blogs you will know that my sugar content had to be reduced as much as possible in my diet so that my bad bacteria in my gut did not grow the parasite in my gut any further (parasites feed off sugar and yeast). Therefore I vetted everything that I had previously eaten within my diet, including passata and tinned tomatoes to see what needed to stay and what needed to go.

Whilst growing up my mum always cooked meals from scratch that were nutritious and well balanced. But there was one ingredient that she frequently used; passata. A great base for a lot of home-cooked meals such as curries and pasta sauces but did you know they are packed with sugar? As a family, we didn’t know until I underwent my research.

Sugar has been in the headlines for the last few years particularly in light of the rise in type 2 diabetes and obesity. The NHS healthcare organisation in Britain state an adult should not have more than 30 grams of sugar a day and a child should not have more than 24 grams of sugar a day (aged 7-10) and 19 grams of sugar a day (aged between 4-6).


For this example, I am going to use an average carton of passata (500grams). Half a carton (250grams of passata) contains on average between 7.4 - 10.8 grams of sugar. This is averaged between three well-known brands from three popular British supermarkets. That means an average of 14.8- 21.6 grams of sugar in ONE 500gram carton of passata. When cooking with passata you do not tend to use just one carton either, you use two, to three to get the quantity needed. Considering we are only meant to be eating 30 grams of sugar a day, your whole daily consumption is either met or exceeded in eating passata. Shocking is an understatement.

I have analysed this and one of the reasons could be is that tomato is generally a high sugar vegetable out of a lot of vegetables on the market. All vegetables have an element of sugar in them, and that is fine, but being aware of what you are eating and your sugar intake is key to a balanced diet. An average tomato has 4 grams of sugar within it, so this could be the reason why passata is so full of sugar. In my own opinion, I have questioned why passata always has a long sell by date such as 2-3 years, and we all know fresh tomatoes do not last years, more like days. So surely there must be added sugar put into passata for it to have a long shelf life? Many of the ingredients within the passata cartons I have read do not have added sugar, but I have seen advertised ‘passata with no added sugar’ so this makes me question whether sugar is added into the normal passata cartons but it is not being stated, something for us all to consider and think about.

Like anything in life, it is all about moderation and my health has improved since cutting it predominantly out of my diet. I do eat passata occasionally in my gluten-free pasta or on top of my gluten-free pizza but I do not eat it as frequently as I used to (two-three times a week previously). I feel very passionately about people being made aware of what they are eating and sugar is something that a lot of people eat sometimes without even realising it as it is hidden in so many places. This is a perfect example of how it is hidden and food for thought indeed.

What are your thoughts on passata? Please sign up for an account to Gut Chat and let me know what your thoughts are or anything you have discovered. I would love to hear your feedback!

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