Supermarket ready meals contain up to TEN TEASPOONS of sugar - Sainsbury's worst offender with more than half a day's allowance in just one sweet and sour chicken dinner

  • Ready meals sold by supermarkets contain up to ten teaspoons of sugar
  • Many contain more sugar per portion than a Dairy Milk bar or Coca-Cola can
  • Worst offender was Sainsbury's Sweet & Sour Chicken with Rice with 50.7g
  • The recommended daily allowance for adults is ten teaspoons of sugar (50g)

Ready meals sold by major supermarket chains contain up to ten heaped teaspoons of sugar per portion - more than double the amount found in bar of Dairy Milk chocolate.

An investigation by consumer group Which? showed some supermarket convenience meals contained the equivalent of what experts say is the safe amount of sugar to consume per day.

According to the Sunday Mirror, the worst offender was the Sainsbury's sweet & sour chicken with rice, which was found to have 50.7g of sugar in one dish - more than a can of Coca Cola and double that of a six-piece Dairy Milk. 

Some supermarket ready meals contain as much sugar as recommended per day for an adult. The worst offender was Sainsbury's sweet & sour chicken with rice, which was found to have 50.7g of sugar per portion

Under government guidelines, the recommended daily sugar intake for adults is around ten teaspoons of sugar.

But the World Health Organisation recently suggested adults should have no more than five teaspoons - which is around 25g - in 24 hours.

Doctors say this rule is key to avoiding obesity, heart disease and other serious illnesses because they fear sugar is as dangerous as tobacco.

But the consumer group has found that several of the ready meals made by supermarkets serve up more than that in just one portion of their product.

The dishes found to contain the most sugar were sweet and sour recipes, including Tesco Everyday Value sweet & sour chicken with rice which was found to have 48.4g of sugar - just less than ten teaspoons - per serving.

Sainsbury's crispy sweet & sour chicken with rice came with 37.3g of sugar, while Waitrose's sweet and sour chicken with rice had 38.9g.

The survey, carried out by consumer group Which?, found the Tesco Everyday Value sweet & sour chicken with rice contained 48.4g of sugar. Under government guidelines, the recommended daily allowance is 50g - around ten teaspoons of sugar

The chicken pad thai from Tesco and the sweet and sour chicken with rice from Waitrose also contained high levels of sugar. The World Health Organisation recently recommended adults reduce their daily intake to five teaspoons of sugar, which is around 25g

The crispy sweet & sour chicken had 37.3g of sugar per pack. Sainsbury's, Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, Morrisons and Asda were all found to sell ready meals with high sugar content

Meanwhile, the Tesco chicken pad thai rice noodles were found to have 37.8g of sugar per portion.

Which? released the results after looking at 17 supermarket ready meals sold by Asda, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Sanisbury's, Tesco and Waitrose.

The worst offenders had more sugar than a can of Coca Cola, which contains around nine teaspoons of sugar

Executive director Richard Lloyd told the paper: 'With rising obesity rates, it is shocking to find that ready meals contain more sugar than a chocolate bar.

'We want the government to set clear targets for calories reductions as a priority as part of the responsibility deal.'

The debate over the danger of sugar is raging.

Adults have been told they should halve their average intake - slashed dramatically amid fears that sugar poses the same threat to health as tobacco.

Experts blame it for millions of premature deaths across the world every year.

Graham MacGregor, a London cardiologist and health campaigner, said: ‘Added sugar is a completely unnecessary part of our diets, contributing to obesity, type II diabetes and tooth decay.

‘We have known about the health risks of sugar for years and yet nothing substantial has been done.

‘The new recommendations will be a wakeup call to the Department of Health and the Government to take action by forcing the food industry to slowly reduce the huge amount of sugar added across the board.’

Chief medical officer Sally Davies has already said a tax may be put on calorie-laden food and drink to curb soaring levels of obesity.

The number of obese British adults is expected to double from one in four to one in two by 2050 – at a cost to the economy of £50billion a year.


Some supermarket brands of sauce contain up to 38 per cent more sugar and 52 per cent more salt than advertised on the label, an investigation has found.

The Sunday Times found that sauces which are branded as being 'low salt' or 'low sugar' actually had higher salt or sugar levels than declared.

The paper commissioned 26 tests on a range of products and found nearly two-thirds fitted that bill.

Despite this, all but one of the tests fell within European Commission guidelines that give acceptable margins of error, the paper said.

Tesco's reduced sugar and salt ketchup was found to contain 14.8g sugar per 100g, compared with the 10.7g per 100g put on the label.

Asda's reduced sugar and salt baked beans contained 23 per cent more sugar while Morrisons' reduced salt and sugar ketchup contained 17 per cent more sugar than stated.

Heinz's reduced salt and sugar HP sauce contained 10 per cent more sugar and 7 per cent more salt than advertised.

A spokesman for Tesco said it would be carrying out its own checks.

Morrisons and Sainsbury's both said they were carrying out work to reduce sugar and salt in products.

Heinz said all the nutritional information met official food labelling requirements.