This makes ketchup look like candy.
To say that Americans have a sweet tooth is an understatement. According to a study of 54 countries published by World Population Review, American sugar consumption is the highest in the world at 126 grams per day. That’s the equivalent of drinking three cans of Coca-Cola every day.
In comparison, the average person in China consumes just 7 grams of sugar daily.
The tricky thing about the American diet is that a lot of foods that don’t necessarily taste sweet to us are saturated with sugar.
A recent tweet by Josiah Hughes received over 5 million views because it showed the shocking amount of sugar in the average bottle of Heinz ketchup. The image shows an empty bottle of Heinz ketchup that is about a third full of sugar. The image seemed like an exaggeration because ketchup isn’t overly sweet. It has a tangy, savory, acidic and smooth flavor with a hint of spice.
But this photo makes a bottle of ketchup look more like a candy bar.
“The powerful visual shows how much sugar is in 400ml of Heinz Ketchup. No wonder I feel sick when I consume a whole bottle,” Hughes joked in the tweet.
The tweet’s popularity inspired Snopes, one of the internet’s most popular fact-checking sites, to investigate the claim. Is a bottle of Heinz ketchup roughly a third sugar?
To fact-check the claim, Snopes purchased two 14-ounce bottles of Heinz ketchup and referenced the nutrition information on the product label. The math was pretty simple. The average bottle of Heinz ketchup contains 391 grams of ketchup, of which 92 grams of it are sugar. That means that the ketchup is roughly 24% sugar. Snopes ranked the claim true: “A viral tweet offers a roughly accurate visual representation of the amount of sugar in a bottle of Heinz ketchup.”
“The vast majority of the product's sugar content comes from both high fructose corn syrup and corn syrup, both of which are liquids,” the fact-check reads. A big reason why American foods are so saturated with high fructose corn syrup is that it is cheap because the government subsidizes it.
Many health complications can come with overconsuming high fructose corn syrup. A major problem is diabetes.
"Chronic overconsumption of high fructose corn syrup causes an increase in fat production and worsens insulin sensitivity," Jennifer Feda, Clinical Nutrition Manager at the Hospital of Central Connecticut in New Britain, tells Hartford Hospital. "Even a small change like not drinking regular soda is beneficial. Limiting processed foods, in general, will not only help you limit intake of high fructose corn syrup, but also your intake of unhealthy fats, which is a bonus."
Although the image of the sugar-filled ketchup bottle is shocking, it’s a wake-up call to many Americans about the dangers posed by the products we consume every day. The more transparent that companies and watchdogs can be about what’s really in our food, the better chance we all have to make healthier choices.