Although hot sauces can be an acquired taste to include a tolerance handed down from generation to generation, it stands apart from other condiments in dietary needs. Most condiments include high fat contents and other products that may not be wanted or needed for your everyday individual diet. Hot sauce does not?

Is hot sauce bad for you?

Hot sauce does not have any serious health related consumption issues and when compared to other condiments often ranks on top as being healthier. The few ingredients it is made with can be naturally produced to create the ultimate condiment!

Gluten free

Half my family is gluten free and they do not eat anything unless it has the gluten free label on it. Obviously fresh fruits and vegetables do not have any wheat-based products in them. The typical ingredients in a traditional hot sauce of peppers and vinegar are not wheat based either.

However, manufacturers know there can be traces of wheat products on machinery used to produce their sauces making them non gluten free. Vinegar is gluten free unless the hot sauce uses a malt based vinegar, which contains gluten from wheat barley. Never assume a product is gluten free and always check the label. Texas Pete’s is a well known Louisiana style gluten free hot sauce. Buy a case here or just a single bottle here.

Of the five brands of hot sauce in my pantry 3 of them were labeled gluten free. Although generally speaking, most hot sauce are void of any wheat, consult the labels before consumption. Tabasco brand hot sauce is considered gluten free per FDA definition as well as popular brands such as Texas Pete’s, Franks RedHot and Great Value Louisiana (Walmart brand). Sylvia’s offers a great taste and is gluten free, vegan, yeast free and dairy free for under $3.00 a bottle.

Lactose free

Lactose means containing milk or dairy products, but you already knew that. Again, read the label but most traditional hot sauces will not contain milk products. I make my own hot sauce and there isn’t any milk or other dairy products in the recipe, therefore it is lactose free. It is not that easy for other brands of hot sauces, dairy products could be used in them for other reasons and there are many products on the market that you assume to be dairy free that contain lactose.

Typically sauces that lack the creaminess and white color in appearance will not have dairy products. It is actually very difficult to find a hot sauce that contains milk or dairy products and if they do it would some of the gourmet sauces.

Fat Free

I have an entire post dedicated to the calorie content of hot sauces. Most of them have 0 to few calories per serving (Buffalo Wild Wing sauces are an exception), based on the simple ingredients they are made of; peppers, vinegar, water and spices. Fat free is my term but I would read the labels of all products you are consuming.

Compared to other products such as mayonnaise and salad dressings hot sauce wins by a land slide in the fat free category. If some of these other condiments are labeled fat free or “light” they often lack in taste and flavor.

A product is labeled fat free if it has lowered than 0.5 grams of fat per serving. Although this is based on serving size suggestions there is often not large quantities of hot sauce needed to add flavor and spice to your meal.

Vegan

Generally speaking, most hot sauces will not contain animal products as they are made with hot peppers. Vegan can be a controversial topic in the area of hot sauces, and this depends solely on the source of vinegar used in the process of making sauce. Most types vinegar are vegan but there is not enough data to call a product vegan as some may use animal products in the production of vinegar.

Top brands of vegan hot sauce are Franks RedHot, Cholula, Tabasco, Sriracha and Tapatio, all the original blend but not specialty recipes like buffalo wing sauce.

Kosher

Tabaso brand sauce is considered kosher per the Jewish dietary laws (Kashrut). This is a very deep and complex topic to discuss and could differ from person to person. Franks RedHot ORIGINAL is also a kosher hot sauce, but their Buffalo Wing Sauce does not have OU on the label because it contains a dairy product. OU, the Orthodox Union is the most recognizable kosher certification agency. Although some sauces do not contain a label they are considered kosher.

Is hot sauce all natural?

An all-natural label on a food product is a FDA recommendation where the product needs contain nothing artificial or synthetic. The Food and Drug Administration does not have any requirements for foods that are to labeled “all natural”. The USDA however clarifies the definition to mean a product containing no artificial flavors and be processed with minimal processing methods.  It makes me wonder why more hot sauces are not labeled all natural.

Is hot sauce organic?

A traditional hot sauce is not organic unless the produce grown and the process to make it have been certified by the USDA National Organic Program.

All of these factors that make hot sauce the ultimate condiment can be misinterpreted or based on personal belief to include organic made sauce. So what makes a hot sauce organic? By definition organic means without the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. This would also include no sewage sludge and no growth hormones in animal-based products.

The certification process that farmers and companies handling the process include inspections from government approved inspectors. There is a specific process that a company would need to go through to certify as organic. I grow plenty of produce in the garden that I consider organic but have never had the process certified.

Organic products can cost more due to less federal subsidies available to farmers and the environmental clean ups that organic farmers need to adhere to. Some of the more popular brands that are organic are Yellow Bird and Hot Winter Hot Sauce.

Whether you choose hot sauce due to religious dietary need, your own personal beliefs or health related reasons this in expensive condiment is rapidly becoming a popular consumer choice. Always refere to product labels when you dietary needs could lead to allergic reactions. Based on the research that I have conducted most hot sauces are gluten free, vegan, fat free, lactose free and all natural, making it the ultimate condiment!

*Bonus

Heat Yourself Hard!

Read about the awesome benefits capsaicin has on your health!

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