Dieting fads come and go but one that has stuck around the mainstream health community the past several years is the keto diet. As equally as popular in food consumption and mainstream culture is the use of hot sauce as a condiment and an additive to many entrees. Combine your love of hot sauce with your dedication to your keto diet and the question will arise: Is hot sauce OK on a keto diet?
Hot sauce is OK on a keto diet
Most traditional hot sauces will be ok on a keto diet because they do not have any carbs or any unwanted fats. Traditional hot sauces with simple ingredients of hot peppers and vinegar will have the fewest carbs, therefore, making them the best sauces for keto diets. Gourmet and artisan sauces will often contain exotic ingredients and sugars that will raise the level of carbohydrates and shouldn’t be consumed if you want to follow a keto diet.
What is a keto diet?
Similar to other diets in recent history the keto diet involves drastically reducing foods that are high in carbs and replacing them with foods high in fat. While many hot sauces are low in carbohydrates due to their ingredients, they are usually not high in fats and if they do contain the necessary fats they are usually not in large quantities. You probably wouldn’t consume hot sauce solely as providing what is needed for the diet but understand that most of them are OK.
Just because a hot sauce advertises or is labeled that it is keto-friendly does not mean that you NEED it in your diet. A condiment is an added sauce or dressing to compliment the main meal. Consult your dietitian before consuming a hot sauce and have them help you pick one out that is right for you.
Also, a standard keto diet would meet goals of 70% fat, 20% protein and 10% carbohydrates. Finding a sauce that meets these aspirations on the nutritional label would make it the ultimate keto condiment. However, generally speaking, most hot sauce will get pretty close to proving some protein and carbs but lack the “healthy” fats needed and this is what makes hot sauce become just shy of the ultimate keto condiment.
Hot sauce…the ultimate condiment!
Hot sauce stands out among other condiments and is rapidly gaining popularity due to its low carb, zero calories and bold flavors. Compared to other condiments hot sauce is usually considered healthier and is ok for many other diet types.
One example of a traditional or classic hot sauce would be Tabasco® brand hot sauce. With just a few ingredients listed on the nutritional label, Tabasco® doesn’t have any carbohydrates. Unfortunately, it also doesn’t have any protein or fats that would contribute to a keto diet. There are many simple hot sauces similar to Tabasco® that are also keto-friendly but many of them also do not provide any fats or proteins.
Many varieties of hot sauces are not high in the healthy fats like avocado, nuts, seeds or eggs needed for a keto diet. Because keto diets eliminate carbs and replace them with fat, hot sauces high in these fats would be ideal for keto but are difficult to find. Even some hot sauces with high calories still have few grams of fat. Some hot sauces contain these ingredients although they are in minimal amounts.
Healthy fats found in hot sauce
A keto diet eliminating carbohydrates and consisting of protein would predominantly also need healthy fats but are rarely found in hot sauces. You can consume a hot sauce without the necessity of these fats but they are needed on a keto diet and could be consumed from another source.
I love nuts but they are rarely used in a hot sauce. When they are the sauce is usually higher in fiber, protein and fat but also high in calories. Several sauces use peanuts and this is a great source of protein, vitamins and minerals. However many of these same sauces contain peanut oil and this should be avoided on a keto diet.
Like the other keto diet fats listed, butter is usually not found in a hot sauce and if it is it’s a buffalo wing sauce. These sauces will likely have a natural butter flavoring to them and not the butter itself. Lengthy shelf life is difficult to achieve for a hot sauce that has butter. Making your own buffalo sauce with hot sauce, butter and garlic powder (also keto-friendly) is a great option. See the buffalo sauce recipe below or try Ass Kickin Chicken Wing Sauce.
Cheese can be found in a few varieties of hot sauces from Tahiti Joe’s but typically manufacturers do not like to use cheese due to its limited shelf life. A classic hot sauce of hot peppers and vinegar has an extended shelf life and adding cheese would require different packaging requirements.
Eggs are a great source on a keto diet and are usually found in dressings and mayonnaise but not a hot sauce. The reason being that eggs are not needed for flavoring or binding and they will decrease the shelf life, most hot sauces are known for extended shelf life.
Are ALL hot sauces OK on a keto diet?
Traditional or classic hot sauces that only use a few ingredients such as hot peppers and vinegar such as Tabasco® as was previously mentioned will be low or no-carb sauces and will be OK to consume on a keto diet. Additional hot sauces comparable to Tabasco® are Franks RedHot, Texas Pete’s, Louisiana (the original) and Cholula*. However, more hot sauces are being introduced to the market that have exotic ingredients that only in recent years have been used in hot sauces. Some of them are OK and even great for a keto diet. (*uses Amazon links)
Manufacturers are combining gourmet ingredients to expand their product market to the demographics that consume hot sauce without concern for a sauce that can be classified as “acceptable” or “approved” for certain diets. These sometimes decadent sauces are produced solely to make a great-tasting hot sauce using less popular ingredients.
Typical keto foods
Seafood, meat, poultry, cheese and low-carb vegies are all recommended on a keto diet. Of these foods regularly consumed on a keto diet only of few of them are included as ingredients in hot sauce. Specifically, there is a shortlist of low-carb veggies that are included in some top-selling sauces.
Low carb vegetables
Many vegetables combine well with hot peppers for a tasty and unique hot sauce. There is quite a long list of low-carb vegetables recommended for a keto diet but only a few of them are used in hot sauces and this is due to how well they blend with hot peppers.
Garlic, bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes and onions
Garlic, bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes and onions are all common keto low carb vegetables and some of them are used frequently in hot sauces. Again, the amount of ingredients used in a hot sauce are probably minimal and if you follow the serving size (who does) a hot sauce that combines low carb vegetables won’t contribute much to the keto diet. The good news is that these sauces will most likely be keto-friendly.
Garlic is one of the most common ingredients used in a hot sauce and many, many varieties combine it with other ingredients. Of the few ingredients in a traditional hot sauce…garlic in some form or another is usually one of them.
Although not as commonly found as some of the other vegetables on this list, cucumber is used in some hot sauces. Made From Scotch by Spice of Life. This is a great hot sauce on a keto diet because it doesn’t have any carbs or sugar and has about 20% vegetables that include bell peppers, onions and cucumbers, all great low-carb vegetables.
Tomato is more commonly found in salsa, which can be very hot and spicy but is also used in hot sauces. El Yucateco Salsa Picante is another hot sauce with a keto low carb vegetable, tomato, high on the ingredient list.
Another ingredient not as common as others on this list but is a good low-carb vegetable with lots of flavors is opinions. Mad Dog 357 Gold Edition has a very high heat level. Although it has only one carb it could still be considered a good sauce on a keto diet.
Bell peppers do not have any heat to them but are used in hot sauces to provide additional vitamins and minerals but can also reduce the heat of a concentrated amount of sauce. Humble House Foods uses a pickled bell pepper for its guajillo and red jalapeno sauce. Kumana also includes green bell peppers and avocado oil, also on the list of ok oils to eat on a keto diet.
What is in the hot sauce that could be against a keto diet?
High carb hot sauce
The hot sauces that have the most carbs are usually the sweeter sauces that contain sugar, a high carb ingredient. So avoid these types of sauces on a keto diet. Sugar and sweeteners are common hot sauce ingredients for a variety of reasons so there can be many sauces that contain sugar that you were unaware of.
Typical hot sauce ingredients high in carbs
Sugar is a common ingredient in recent years in the use of hot sauces exploring different flavors. It can be used to thicken a sauce, cut the heat down and compliment the fruity notes of some pepper varieties. However, when it is used it can increase the carbs and therefore work against a keto diet.
Other hot sauce ingredients OK on a keto diet
Some types of hot sauces use oil as one of the major ingredients. Not all oils are conducive to a keto diet but they are probably used minimally in a hot sauce. Avocado oil, coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil are OK on a keto diet and some of these are found in hot sauce. Hot sauces containing corn oil, sunflower oil or soybean oil should be avoided on a keto diet.
Kumana Avocado Jalapeno Hot Sauce contains avocado oil, as well as other ingredients and is approved by Dr. Axe’s Keto Diet. This sauce is also low in sodium compared to many other hot sauces. Only 1 gram of carbs and 1 gram of fat.
Mocojambe Caribbean Coconut Hot Sauce. Expect a strong coconut flavoring with this hot sauce. From Western Australia, this sauce is also gluten-free. Don’t eat it just for the coconut oil, verify your dietitian agrees its OK for a keto diet.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Pain is Good Harissa Hot Sauce is one of few hot sauces that uses extra virgin olive oil. Harissa is a hot sauce that originated out of Africa and this sauce replicates it well. Also includes tomato paste, another low-carb vegetable great for a keto diet.
Keto hot sauce recipe
If you don’t like some of the low-carb sauces listed then make your own keto-friendly hot sauce. By making your own you can control what ingredients it contains and the amount of heat. Keep the recipe simple and don’t use too many ingredients that you are unfamiliar with. Remember, hot sauce can pack a lot of flavors.
No need to list steps, procedures or kitchen equipment needed for this recipe. Simply mix everything together in a blender and enjoy. However, the ingredients will mix slightly easier if you melt the butter first.
¼ cup avocado oil
¼ cup coconut oil
¼ cup unsalted melted butter
½ cup Franks RedHot
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 ¼ tsp keto-friendly sweetener (stevia, sucralose, monk fruit sweetener)
Stay on your diet and enjoy some tasty hot sauce. Consult your health provider further if you have concerns with eating hot sauce on your keto diet. Don’t avoid such a tasty condiment because you haven’t found the right one…keep looking…there are hundreds of them.