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Too Sweet

After moving to the mid-west, Bloomington, In. and having grown up as an Air Force brat living mainly in Japan, Calif, Tex, Ga, and northern NY on the Canadian border I am finding food here too sweet. This is still the case after moving here (1 more degree dear, 18 mos. tops) from Plattsburgh, NY.

Tonight's dinner was less that satisfying. I bought Perino Manicotti, some Johnson. Bros. Chicken and Pork mild Italian sausage and most of it went into the waste basket. I should have read the label carefully. Not only were the manicotti full of a lot of chemicals I'd rather avoid but there were 6 grams of sugar per stuffed noodle. I somehow thought with the name it might be from the east coast. Nope made in Michigan. The sausage was also sweet, 3 g./sugar/ link. I just don't get the amount of sweetness and sugar in food that I get here. Yeah I can make my own Maniccoti. I often do and make my own pasta too. I just thought this might make a good easy supper on a busy night. Wrong, wrong, wrong etc.

I am wondering if producers make foods destined for the mid-west with more sweetening for this area of the country. I have found Hellman's mayo too sweet. I have been buying Kraft Homestyle with the brown cap. acceptable, it has a small amount of sugar. Usually I make my own or buy Dukes when I can. You'd think by now I would have adjusted, but no. I just don't want sugar in my food unless it is dessert. I rarely buy salad dressing prefering to make my own with the oh so wonderful Castellas olive oil made from Fruite Noir (fermented black oilves) from Provence. I do buy Marie's Bleu Cheese, can't have good "wings" with out it. Oh well the end of the tenure here is in sight. It will be good to escape the land of sugar everywhere.

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  1. A lot of prepared food in the US is too sweet. That's why we have an obesity epidemic.

    1. The amount of added sugar in processed food is astounding, but just the amount of sugar that is generally eaten each meal is over the top.

      Just look at "common" breakfast foods - cereal, breads, granola, honey, jam, bagels, donuts, oatmeal with brown sugar, yogurt with fruits, waffles, pancakes, syrups, fruits, juices, etc. it really is shocking if you take sugar gram counts.

      I think it is really gross.

      1. The sweetness thing seems to keep growing. I cannot eat many commercially produced breads because they are too sweet. There are very few prepared foods that I buy without scrutinizing the ingredients list. I have become so sensitive to "sweet" that I really avoid it. When I am cooking from a recipe I frequently cut back on the sugar that is called for. I have found in many recipes (Usually not in baking where it could be part of the formula, but in things like breads it can be eliminated) you can halve it or eliminate it all together.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Candy

          (Usually not in baking where it could be part of the formula, but in things like breads it can be eliminated)
          Don't be afraid to cut back on the sugar even in baked goods that are supposed to be sweet. You can easily reduce it by at least 1/4 without altering structure or texture, and some recipes can tolerate up to a 50% reduction. Using brown sugar or honey instead of white sugar also helps keep things moist.

        2. As for Hellman's use of sugar, it's listed after salt on the label so unless they're using heaps of salt, there's just a touch of sugar in there (certainly not enough to register any carb content on the label).

          1 Reply
          1. re: ferret


            Hellman's actually has slightly less carb per gram than Kraft real mayo and Trader Joes Organic mayo (H-.01g, K-.03, T-.03). There is far more vinegar and salt than sugar, and with the tiny amount of carb in egg there can't be more than a trace amount in a serving.

            Given every person has their own version of good. Perhaps Hellman's has too little lemon juice for some people's palates.

          2. I find a lot of things too sweet, and constantly read labels on the few pre-made foods that I buy, like bread and crackers looking at grams of sugar. I usually find desserts too sweet too.. When I bake, I normally cut back the sugar by a third.

            1. You shouldn't have to adapt. That much sugar is toxic. I find Hellman's mayonnaise horribly sweet.

              I usually buy European or artisanal Québec mayonnaise, or make my own. There are places I can find these for a reasonable price (here in Montréal, where you must have been if you lived in Plattsburg). Oh, we have overly-sugary foods too, but they are easier to avoid.

              2 Replies
              1. re: lagatta

                You may find it horribly sweet but it's not from sugar.

                1. re: ferret

                  Exactly. I try to avoid sugar, but the minute amount found in Hellman's is not troubling at all.
                  Other than home made, it's the only mayo I like...and I've tried quite a few (including the highly hyped Duke's, which I finally had the opportunity to try. I'm glad it was a very small jar.)

              2. I really don't have anything to add except to say that I find it sweetly ironic that "Candy" is asking this question!

                1 Reply
                1. re: ipsedixit

                  I noticed that as well and initially thought the thread was about candy until I realized that that is the OP's username.

                2. I am surprised that Mid westerners have sweeter foods.

                  1. A couple of weeks ago, I ordered an iced coffee at a Starbuck's across the street from the local city college. I took one sip and almost gagged from the sweetness - the server had automatically put in three shots of sweetener. I returned it and got just what I wanted, plain iced coffee, but was told "this is how we do it, you have to specify if you don't want it sweetened".

                    I've had iced coffee from at least two other Starbucks in our community, without automatic sweetening. I can only surmise that this is how college students want it.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: judybird

                      I am also an iced coffee fan UNSWEETENED. It still baffles my mind that sweetened is the standard unless you ask for something different. I always order, then double check then triple check when I get my drink because otherwise it's like black syrup.

                      1. re: judybird

                        I've always been asked if I want my iced coffee sweetened at Starbucks.

                        I made a couple of box cakes recently, for the first time in my life, just to see if they were as good as the scratch cakes I've always made. Well, I found out why so many people think "moist" is part of the default texture setting for cake. I could probably live with that. But the damned things were so sickeningly sweet, I'll never make one again.

                        1. re: Jay F

                          I can not stand sugar in my coffee!

                          I frequent SB and they have never sweetened my coffee, iced or hot. The sugar is over with the milk. They do have have flavored shots, agave nectar, honey etc behind the counter but you have to ask for it.

                          Wonder if it is a regional thing? Like here in NE at DD a "regular" coffee has milk and sugar. But when I was in Florida my friend ordered a regular and the person said "you mean not decaf?"

                          1. re: foodieX2

                            They ask me if I want it sweetened. I tried it once, but have since said "no, thanks." I prefer to eat my sugar.

                        2. re: judybird

                          Mine has never been sweetened automatically. Weird!

                          1. re: melpy

                            Melpy, I love your avatar. Too sweet!

                        3. This is not a Midwestern thing -- it's all across the country. There's currently a thread on the SF board about overly sweet Asian restaurant food. Hellman's/Best Foods is a national brand; they're not making hyper-sweet mayo solely for our market. Sugar in bread drives me crazy! The biggest culprit is HFCS, put into things that shouldn't be sweet, merely to extend shelf-life. And don't get me started on catsup, which has become as sweet as a dessert topping.

                          1. I agree 100% and this is the reason why I rarely eat out or buy pre-made or packaged foods. Most of our foods are minimally processed whole ingredients - meat, veggies, cheese, etc. because otherwise I am hit in the face not only with a bunch of sugar which is so sweet it ruins it for me or other ingredients which are just unnecessary. I don't know if they are harmful, but it's rather just unnecessary when it can be made at home with fewer ingredients and taste similar or better usually. It's frustrating to have to read labels constantly and to find shocking ingredients on many products.

                            1. There's nothing you can do about the amount of sugar added to virtually every product. My solution was to make my own salad dressings/mayo (LOVE 'old school' Japanese mayo)/ketchup etc. Fun/satisfying to know you've at least got something 'over on the man'. LOLO

                              1. I walked into a Filipino products store in Bangkok, and spoke with the two women that worked their. They mentioned that their compatriots REALLY enjoy putting condensed milk and/or brown sugar on their pasta.

                                Though my first experience with "sweet" East Asian pasta was in Kanazawa, Japan. The eatery served it with a ketchup-y sauce, thus giving me a reason to eat elsewhere thereafter.

                                Though, I don't mind some wafu pasta combos. Mentaiko and nori, sure.


                                1. Candy, there has been a change for the worse. I grew up just 60 or so miles north of your town, and while I knew people who liked sweeter food than my family did it wasn't that pervasive among the cans and jars in the grocery stores. Lunch meat was not sweet, mayonnaise was not sweet (which was why I preferred it to Miracle Whip), bread and peanut butter were not sweet. "Sweet" corn was a little sweet, but nothing like the jaw-wrenching sugariness of the currently available varieties. I did have a sweet tooth, as my dad's parents did - Grandpa Owen's breakfast every day was molasses poured over bread and butter, and sweetened coffee - but after breakfast and until dessert the sweetest thing on the table was probably the ketchup on the meatloaf, and that had horseradish mixed into it. The one exception I can think of is that our cornbread was always made with Jiffy mix, and so it was sweet; I thought that was "cornbread" until I moved to Nashville, where the tea is sweet and the cornbread is not.