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Marinara sauce vs. Tomato sauce — Health Impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Article author photo Elen Khachatrian by Elen Khachatrian | Last updated on July 27, 2023
Medically reviewed by Jack Yacoubian Article author photo Jack  Yacoubian
Marinara sauce
vs
Tomato sauce

Summary

The marinara sauce contains more Vitamin B3, Vitamin B6, Vitamin K, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, calcium, and magnesium than tomato sauce. On the other hand, tomato sauce provides more Vitamin C, iron, and copper.

Introduction

Marinara and tomato sauce are tomato-based sauces that are used worldwide.

In this article, we will compare them to one another according to their general differences, nutritional content, and health impacts.

 

What's The Actual Difference?

The marinara sauce is more complex when it comes to taste and preparation, containing tomatoes, herbs, spices, garlic, onions, and some optional ingredients such as capers and olives. It can be used for various purposes, from simple dips to pasta sauces. Marinara sauce is very aromatic. 

Tomato sauce can refer to various sauces made primarily of tomatoes that are typically served as part of a dish rather than as a condiment. Tomato sauces are commonly used with meat and vegetables, but they are perhaps best known as the foundation for sauces for Mexican salsas and Italian pasta dishes.

The main difference is that marinara is a simple sauce made with garlic, crushed red pepper, and basil that takes about an hour to prepare. In contrast, tomato sauce is thick, rich, and complex. It takes hours to make. Tomato sauce typically contains additional ingredients, such as vegetables and salt pork.

You can read about pizza sauce vs. marinara sauce in this article.

Nutrition

In this comparison, we will use low-sodium marinara sauce and no-salt tomato sauce.

It is important to note that each person can prepare these sauces in their own way when it comes to homemade sauces. Thus, the nutritional compositions can vary. Someone can add more olive oil or salt, and this will eventually affect their nutritional composition and, ultimately, their health impacts. 

Calories

The marinara sauce has two times more calories than tomato sauce.

The marinara sauce has 51 calories per 100 g, while tomato sauce has 24 calories per 100 g. However, they are low-calorie sauces. 

Minerals

The marinara sauce has more calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium than tomato sauce. However, it's not significantly higher, or high in general. 

On the other hand, tomato sauce contains more iron and copper.

Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
Contains more Calcium +92.9%
Contains more Magnesium +20%
Contains more Phosphorus +25.9%
Contains more Manganese +21.2%
Contains more Selenium +83.3%
Contains more Iron +23.1%
Contains less Sodium -63.3%
Contains more Copper +42%
Equal in Potassium - 297
Equal in Zinc - 0.22
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 9% 30% 13% 15% 29% 4% 6% 27% 18% 6%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 5% 36% 11% 12% 27% 2% 6% 39% 15% 4%
Contains more Calcium +92.9%
Contains more Magnesium +20%
Contains more Phosphorus +25.9%
Contains more Manganese +21.2%
Contains more Selenium +83.3%
Contains more Iron +23.1%
Contains less Sodium -63.3%
Contains more Copper +42%
Equal in Potassium - 297
Equal in Zinc - 0.22

Vitamins

The marinara sauce provides more Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin B3, and Vitamin B6 than tomato sauce.

On the other hand, tomato sauce contains more Vitamin C.

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
:
Contains more Vitamin A +49.4%
Contains more Vitamin E +66.7%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +295.3%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +76.5%
Contains more Folate +44.4%
Contains more Choline +38.4%
Contains more Vitamin K +396.4%
Contains more Vitamin C +250%
Equal in Vitamin B1 - 0.024
Equal in Vitamin B2 - 0.065
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 39% 48% 0% 7% 6% 15% 74% 0% 40% 10% 0% 8% 35%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 27% 29% 0% 24% 6% 15% 19% 19% 23% 7% 0% 6% 7%
Contains more Vitamin A +49.4%
Contains more Vitamin E +66.7%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +295.3%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +76.5%
Contains more Folate +44.4%
Contains more Choline +38.4%
Contains more Vitamin K +396.4%
Contains more Vitamin C +250%
Equal in Vitamin B1 - 0.024
Equal in Vitamin B2 - 0.065

Glycemic index

The glycemic index of tomato sauce is equal to 31, while the glycemic index of marinara sauce is not exactly pinpointed; however, it is a low glycemic index sauce.

Fats

Their fat content is negligible, but if we add olive oil, butter, or other types of fats, the fat content will vary significantly.

Carbs

The level of carbs in marinara is higher than in tomato sauce. It contains 8.06 g of carbs, whereas tomato sauce has 5.3g of carbs per 100g.

Health Impact

Since tomato and marinara sauces are used in preparing other foods, it is more important to consider their health implications in their applications.

Weight loss

Tomato and marinara sauce can be used for weight loss diets as they are low in calories. They won't be the reason for any extra calories, and the plus side of these sauces is the edge of flavor they provide. However, since tomato sauce contains fewer calories and fats than marinara, it is a better choice in low-calorie and low-fat diets.

Since these sauces have a moderate amount of net carbs, it is better to avoid them on Keto and Atkins Diet.

Vegans can eat both a marinara sauce and a tomato sauce [1,2].

Article author photo Elen Khachatrian
Education: Nutrition & Microbiology at YSU
Last updated: July 27, 2023
Medically reviewed by Jack Yacoubian

Infographic

Marinara sauce vs Tomato sauce infographic
Infographic link

Macronutrient Comparison

Macronutrient breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains more Protein +17.5%
Contains more Fats +393.3%
Contains more Carbs +51.8%
Contains more Other +15.1%
Equal in Water - 91.28
8% 87%
Protein: 1.41 g
Fats: 1.48 g
Carbs: 8.06 g
Water: 87.39 g
Other: 1.66 g
5% 91% 2%
Protein: 1.2 g
Fats: 0.3 g
Carbs: 5.31 g
Water: 91.28 g
Other: 1.91 g
Contains more Protein +17.5%
Contains more Fats +393.3%
Contains more Carbs +51.8%
Contains more Other +15.1%
Equal in Water - 91.28

Fat Type Comparison

Fat type breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +756.8%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +319.8%
Contains less Saturated Fat -75.9%
16% 36% 48%
Saturated Fat: 0.17 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.377 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.508 g
20% 21% 59%
Saturated Fat: 0.041 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.044 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.121 g
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +756.8%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +319.8%
Contains less Saturated Fat -75.9%

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the rightmost column. It displays the amounts side by side, giving a clearer understanding of the difference.
Marinara sauce Tomato sauce
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Cholesterol ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in Glycemic Index ok
Rich in minerals ok
Rich in vitamins ok
Lower in price Equal

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Marinara sauce Tomato sauce Opinion
Net carbs 6.26g 3.81g Marinara sauce
Protein 1.41g 1.2g Marinara sauce
Fats 1.48g 0.3g Marinara sauce
Carbs 8.06g 5.31g Marinara sauce
Calories 51kcal 24kcal Marinara sauce
Fructose 1.67g Tomato sauce
Sugar 5.5g 3.56g Tomato sauce
Fiber 1.8g 1.5g Marinara sauce
Calcium 27mg 14mg Marinara sauce
Iron 0.78mg 0.96mg Tomato sauce
Magnesium 18mg 15mg Marinara sauce
Phosphorus 34mg 27mg Marinara sauce
Potassium 319mg 297mg Marinara sauce
Sodium 30mg 11mg Tomato sauce
Zinc 0.2mg 0.22mg Tomato sauce
Copper 0.081mg 0.115mg Tomato sauce
Manganese 0.137mg 0.113mg Marinara sauce
Selenium 1.1µg 0.6µg Marinara sauce
Vitamin A 650IU 435IU Marinara sauce
Vitamin A RAE 33µg 22µg Marinara sauce
Vitamin E 2.4mg 1.44mg Marinara sauce
Vitamin C 2mg 7mg Tomato sauce
Vitamin B1 0.024mg 0.024mg
Vitamin B2 0.061mg 0.065mg Tomato sauce
Vitamin B3 3.917mg 0.991mg Marinara sauce
Vitamin B5 0.309mg Tomato sauce
Vitamin B6 0.173mg 0.098mg Marinara sauce
Folate 13µg 9µg Marinara sauce
Choline 13.7mg 9.9mg Marinara sauce
Vitamin K 13.9µg 2.8µg Marinara sauce
Tryptophan 0.009mg Tomato sauce
Threonine 0.037mg Tomato sauce
Isoleucine 0.025mg Tomato sauce
Leucine 0.034mg Tomato sauce
Lysine 0.037mg Tomato sauce
Methionine 0.008mg Tomato sauce
Phenylalanine 0.036mg Tomato sauce
Valine 0.025mg Tomato sauce
Histidine 0.02mg Tomato sauce
Cholesterol 2mg 0mg Tomato sauce
Saturated Fat 0.17g 0.041g Tomato sauce
Monounsaturated Fat 0.377g 0.044g Marinara sauce
Polyunsaturated fat 0.508g 0.121g Marinara sauce

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Marinara sauce Tomato sauce
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low Calories diet ok
Low Glycemic Index diet ok

People also compare

Vitamins & Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score

The summary scores indicate the extent to which this food can fulfill your daily vitamin and mineral requirements if you consume 3 servings, consisting of 100 grams of each (an approximation of 3 serving sizes).
Vitamins Daily Need Coverage Score
21%
Marinara sauce
14%
Tomato sauce
Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score
15%
Marinara sauce
15%
Tomato sauce

Comparison summary

Which food is lower in Sugar?
Tomato sauce
Tomato sauce is lower in Sugar (difference - 1.94g)
Which food contains less Sodium?
Tomato sauce
Tomato sauce contains less Sodium (difference - 19mg)
Which food is lower in Cholesterol?
Tomato sauce
Tomato sauce is lower in Cholesterol (difference - 2mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Tomato sauce
Tomato sauce is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.129g)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Marinara sauce
Marinara sauce is lower in glycemic index (difference - 31)
Which food is richer in minerals?
Marinara sauce
Marinara sauce is relatively richer in minerals
Which food is richer in vitamins?
Marinara sauce
Marinara sauce is relatively richer in vitamins
Which food is cheaper?
?
The foods are relatively equal in price ($)

References

All the values for which the sources are not specified explicitly are taken from FDA’s Food Central. The exact link to the food presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Marinara sauce - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171597/nutrients
  2. Tomato sauce - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169074/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000-calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.