Health warning issued over popular pasta sauce brands

Many of us have been fooled into believing that a jar of tomato pasta sauce is a relatively health choice

Many of us have been fooled into believing that a jar of tomato pasta sauce is a relatively health choice to make at the supermarket.

However, popular brands Dolmio and Uncle Ben’s are set the begin labelling many of their sauces and meals as ‘once a week’ foods after revelations they contain a similar amount of sugar, salt and fat as a standard chocolate bar.

A 500g jar of Dolmio bolognaise sauce contains more than six cubes of sugar – the same as a Mars bar, while ready-made tomato soup is on par with a bottle of cider, which contains five cubes.

Uncle Ben’s ready-made rice meals are also getting an overhaul with the company saying they will introduce whole grains and legumes as part of the push to increase the health factor and cut out the bad stuff.

Going one step further, Dolmio says all lasagne meal kits, lasagne sauces, oven bake kits (including macaroni and cheese, carbonara, creamy tomato) and Dolmio pesto will be labelled as ‘occasional’ foods only due to their unhealthy ingredients.

The news has come as a surprise to many people who thought that tomato-based sauces and other ready-made products like these were a healthy choice.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends no more 50g or 10 cubes a of sugar a day, but many of us are unwittingly eating a whole lot more than that thanks to ‘hidden’ sugars in foods like pasta sauce.

Mars, who owns Dolmio, says they are making the changes in a bid to support healthier lifestyles for its customers.

“Our nutrition criteria sets a very high standard for our products, and we also want to help our consumers understand the difference between “everyday” and “occasional” products within a balanced diet,” said Fiona Dawson, global president of Mars food, drinks, and multisales.

Take a look at the breakdown of the fat, sugar and salt levels in each product.

Dolmio Pesto Classic Basil 180g jar
Per 100g
52g fat
3.3g sugar
1.4g salt

Dolmio Original Lasagne Kit 2 Person 525g Serves 2
Per 100g
3.5g fat
4.4g sugar
0.5g salt

Dolmio Original Lasagne Kit Serves 4 807g
Per 100g
3.5g fat
4.2g sugar
0.5g salt

Dolmio Sauce for Lasagne Original Cheesy 470g
Per 100g
8.1g fat
2.3g sugar
0.8g salt

Dolmio Sauce for Lasagne Original Tomato 500g
Per 100g
0.2g fat
6.4g sugar
0.8g salt

Dolmio Oven Bake Kit Macaroni & Cheese 550g
Per 100g
0.7g fat
1.3g sugar
0.2g salt

Dolmio Oven Bake Kit Creamy Tomato 551g
Per 100g
0.9g fat
2.2g sugar
0.2g salt

Dolmio Oven Bake Kit Carbonara 555g
Per 100g
Fat 0.9g
Sugars 1.4g
Salt 0.3g

Do you buy Dolmio pasta sauce or Uncle Ben’s products? Are you surprised by how unhealthy they really are?

  1. clifford  

    I have spag Bol once or twice a week ..and use this product .it’s relatively cheap, tastes good ….and what are the options ……create your own sauce add salt and sugar as required for taste ……..!! its only $2,00 per jar !! and a litter bit of ” Sweet ” beats the crap out of a whole load of sour !! Bon appetite !! I see no point in throwing a very healthy body …into a crematorium …Mine will have truly reach its “use by date ” in another 50 yrs as I’m only 67 …LOL

  2. Linda Butler  

    I am a Diabetic Type 2 for the last 16 years.and I am not surprised at this , as I read every label on everything I buy and it is alarming how much sugar is added to so many so many so called healthy products. It is so easy to make one’s own vegetarian sauce, with healthy no added sugar organic tin tomatoes, fresh green and red peppers and Courgettes/Zuccini cut up fine and added basil, black pepper. if one does not like red meat ie beef mince as I do not, then strips of chicken added to this mixture is delicious on pasta too. This sauce can be made in large batches and frozen.
    I do believe there is an organic ready made sauce perhaps with less sugar and healthier ingredients but then that is far more costly.

  3. Brenda ross  

    One person eats a Mars Bar a jar of sauce will give me at least four serves more if I add some veggies to it. It’s ok with me.

  4. Robyn Jefferson  

    I think you will find that all processed foods are the same or worse. One jar will feed an entire family.

  5. Deanna  

    pasta sauce is the easiest sauce to make in the world, why would you buy? Tomatoes ,onions ,herbs salt and pepper, for you basic tomato sauce

    • Chris  

      I buy it bc every now and then I cannot cook so the job falls to hubby. He can get a bowl of spaghetti Bol on the table in 20 minutes. We call it “cheater sauce” and use it if needed.

  6. Ato ato paste maybe better option there’s something in those sauces that make my daughter very sick

  7. Christine Banks  

    All in moderation. Too much pasta will also raise blood sugar levels

  8. ” We put the good things in so you wear the Dolmio Grin”… You fact sheet above is kind.. Dolmio Classic Tomato with Basil..10 .1 g of sugar and 497mg of sodium the highest of all. Raguletto Classic Tomato is similar. The average rest on the shelf varies from 3g to 5 g of sugar with less sodium. Once a week won’t hurt however when combined with the rest of the junk with lawyer drawn labeling anywonder we have an obesity and diabetes problem with our youth. Support Australian made everyday however with just a bit of a clean up would be great. I would shudder to think what sauces land on our shelves from SE Asia and China.

    • Linda Toshner  

      Unfortunately there’s a lot of salt in premade Asian-style sauces and curry mix sauces too.

  9. Pamela  

    The problem with the obese is that they will eat the small portion of pasta sauce AND the Mars Bar!

    • Susan Bell  

      Wow Pamela, typecasting, cruel, not accurate, smug, you achieved so much in so few words.

  10. joanna galea  

    Anything we buy in jars or cans is packed with salt and sugar and we all know it now. Every thing we eat nowadays seems to be bad for us. Even fresh fruit and vegies are full of pesticides .Red meat is getting too expensive we have to feel sorry for the chickens that are in cages and the free range too expensive, What are we to do? My husband has told me to stop reading all this cr….p because it is driving me crazy and getting really worried about what to cook and eat. I think I will have to stop eating………….No cannot do that either.

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