Hidden Carbs

They lurk everywhere — here's how to win this game of hide and seek.

Lynn ProwittBy Lynn Prowitt

You're probably on high-carb alert when you're pouring honey and syrups or spreading jams and jellies. But what about the sauce on your chicken, the dressing on your salad, the spice packet you add to your pot?

Crazy Carby Condiments

Countless ready-made sauces, dressings, and mixes line the grocery store aisles. Most contain carbohydrates, and you probably don't even realize how many you consume in the course of a day. And those seemingly small portions can add up to a significant number of carb grams.

Take a look at how much carbohydrate is in 2 tablespoons of:

  • Ketchup: 8 grams 
  • Chili Sauce: 10 grams
  • Teriyaki Sauce: 6 grams
  • BBQ Sauce: 12 grams
  • Tartar Sauce: 7 grams
  • Steak Sauce: 10 grams

Stuffed with Starch

Starch is as ubiquitous as it is amazing. Have you ever made oobleck? This combination of corn starch and water makes for endless, fascinating fun in the kitchen. Starch in a slightly different form has for centuries been used to keep shirt collars standing up. But in modern times, starch became a darling of processed food makers because it is unmatched as a flavorless, inexpensive thickener, stabilizer, and emulsifier.

Virtually anything you buy in a packet, box, or jar may have starch in it, providing its smooth texture or making it hold together as it sits for months and months at room temperature. Check the ingredients list and look for corn starch, wheat starch, potato starch, tapioca starch, or modified food starch, among other varieties. Why do we need to worry about starch? It's pretty much pure carbohydrate. One-quarter cup of corn starch contains 30 grams of carbs.

A.K.A. Sugar

Our culture's collective sweet tooth is nearly insatiable. Food companies have learned that the way to our heart — and our wallet — is to add sweetness to anything and everything. You wouldn't think we needed sugar in our pasta sauce, our peanut butter, or our vinaigrette. Learn to find the hidden sugar carbs in products by reviewing this list of sugar's aliases on the next page.

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Last Modified Date: June 17, 2013

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