A mound of sugar… in your chili?!

food and nutrition, happy body

I’m usually really good about checking out the nutritional informaiton of food before I put it in my shopping cart, but every once in a while, I’m tricked by the evil corporate folks who put bad ingredients in “good” places.

Case in point: A small box of Stagg Beef Chili. High in fiber? Check. Lots of protein? Check. More sugar than a Krispy Kreme donut or half a Snickers bar? Eegads!

The supposed 2-serving (more like one moderately hungry serving) box contains *16 grams* of sugar. Let me tell you, you can taste it, and it’s not pleasant. It’s literally like someone took some mild-but-otherwise-decently-flavorful chili and poured several tablespoons of sugar on top, because… well, that’s about what you’re getting.

Given the sugar I’ve discovered in other foods not traditionally thought of as “sweet,” I should have known better. After all, ketchup has more sugar per gram than most ice creams. And lots of BBQ sauces are loaded with high fructose corn syrup, that practically-instant-fat-on-your-hips ingredient I’ve already complained about in another BLADAM entry.

The solution for avoiding this crap is as easy as it is annoying: Read the labels.

I also highly recommend subscribing to the Nutrition Action Healthletter, an ad-free monthly periodical that’s jam-packed with useful information about the foods we encounter at our local markets and in restaurants. Or if you’re a cheap bastard, you can read most (if not all) of the newsletter contents on their Web site.

It all boils down to the same thing: Eating right requires constant vigilance. “Healthy!” and “Now less fat!” and other breathless marketingspeak typically doesn’t mean squat :(.

2 comments… add one
  • Matt Hendrickson Jun 11, 2005

    I know that when I make chili, I put in a little sugar to cut down on the acidity of the tomatoes. But I don’t drop a whole donut’s worth in there!

  • Steve Voelker Jun 23, 2009

    Bravo!

    I can’t understand the need to put sugar (or worse- corn syrup!) in everything- seems to me you could subtract this ingredient and keep costs down in the final product.  I find it in Italian and Caesar dressing too, for Pete’s sake! 

    But chili??  If you come from the place where chili was invented, you’d say that wasn’t chili, at all, but some kind of “stew”.  Of course, beans and tomatoes were the first offense, anyway! 😀

    Stagg has been on my “no-buy” list ever since it came out.  You’re better off with more old-school brands like Dennison’s or Hormel (except for that excremental “chili master” stuff Hormel’s currently selling).  Not much better, but better all the same.

    People, a true bowl of “red” gets its color from chiles, not tomatoes, and there is NO sugar in it! 

    I’ll think about forgiving those of you outside the great State of Texas for including beans- there’s good fiber there! 😀

    I’ll stop ranting now…

What do you think?