Supermarket Swap – Apple Sauce

Kid-favorite, BRAT-diet staple, portable snack. Apple sauce is simple right? Just smashed up apples and maybe a little cinnamon. Do we really need to look at the label? You may be surprised about some of the ingredients I found while snooping around as a label detective today (and the weird girl at the grocery store taking pictures of apple sauce).

First of all, I found a huge difference in sugar content between the healthy or unsweetened versions and the original and fruit-flavored varieties.

Mott’s Natural (unsweetened) and Healthy Harvest varieties all came in at 11 grams of sugar per serving. In contrast, their Original, Cinnamon, Chunky, Homestyle, and original fruit-flavored versions came in at 17-27 grams of sugar per serving. The other brands I checked out seemed to have similar sugar profiles with the lowest being Musselman’s unsweetened version at 8 grams sugar per serving.

Looking at the ingredient lists showed major disparity as well. For example, Mott’s Natural (unsweetened) has three ingredients: apples, water and ascorbic acid (vitamin C to prevent browning). The Healthy Harvest varieties include vegetable juices and fruit purees for color and flavor with no artificial colors or sweeteners. After that, you get into many questionable ingredients.

Mott's® Original apple sauce

Listed below are ingredients you will find in one or more of the following apple sauce varieties: Chunky, Cinnamon, Granny Smith, Strawberry, Original, Mixed Berry.
-High Fructose Corn Syrup
-Enriched Bleached Wheat Flour
-Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
-Yellow 6
-Red 40
-Blue 1

Mott's® Fruit-flavored apple sauce

Bottom line? Stick with the natural, unsweetened applesauce and add your own cinnamon sprinkle. If you prefer fruit-flavored apple sauce, pick the version that uses natural colors and flavorings (like Mott’s Healthy Harvest).  Keep an eye on the sugar content. You should be able to stick to 11 grams per serving or less with no problem. 

Let’s keep a healthy food healthy.
  • Stephanie October 28, 2010 at 6:51 am

    Excellent synopsis.

    We always buy the natural, unsweetened variety…and eat it just like that. 🙂

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