barbecue sauceTrying to have a lean, mean, healthy grilled meal? You've gone through the trouble of choosing a skinless piece of chicken breast or fish. You're grilling, which is supposed to cut down on fat, too, because you're not using any cooking oils. And you're using a fat-free barbecue sauce. Score!

But wait -- that barbecue sauce may be fat-free or low-fat. They pretty much all are. But is it loaded with empty calories in the form of sweeteners? Better check those labels. You may be unwittingly pouring on the pounds in the form of barbecue sauce. Keep reading to discover the angels and devils of BBQ sauces.

I took a survey of the barbecue sauces sold at my local grocery store to see how they all compared with each other. 

Like I said, when it comes to barbecue sauces, it's the sugar you need to watch -- and the portion control. A "serving" of sauce is 2 tablespoons, about half the amount that usually ends up on people's spare ribs. Of course, a sugary barbecue sauce may not be as unhealthy as, say, a big tumbler of soda. But considering the average woman should limit her sugar intake to 29-37 grams, some of these sauces are going to make you re-think dessert. 

Sugar Overload Sauces

Hunt's Hickory & Brown Sugar: 70 calories, 15g sugar*

Kraft Thick 'n Spicy: 70 calories, 13g sugar

Kraft Original: 60 calories, 13g sugar

KC Masterpiece: 60 calories, 12g sugar

Hunt's Original Barbecue Sauce: 60 calories, 11g sugar

Better Choices

Naturally Delicious Honey: 45 calories, 11g sugar

Jack Daniels Spicy Original: 45 calories, 9g sugar

Bone Suckin' Sauce: 40 calories, 8g sugar

Naturally Delicious Original: 40 calories, 8g sugar

Best of Class

Stubb's Original: 30 calories, 4g sugar

I'd never thought to examine the sugar and calorie counts in barbecue sauces, and I'm surprised at the point spread here. No surprise, though, to see that "honey" and "brown sugar" flavored sauces tip the scales a bit more. Now you know! By the way, Stubb's is named after Austin music veteran Christopher B. "Stubb" Stubblefield, who also owns a barbecue joint and music venue also called Stubb's.

Happy low-calorie grilling. And, uh, I'll let you know how the Stubb's tastes after I sample it this weekend.

*Calorie and sugar counts are all per 2-tablespoon serving.

 

Image via adactio/Flickr