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Hot sauce is a great way to add tons of flavor to food – especially if you love spicy food like I do! I use hot sauce to add a kick to soup, tacos, grains, eggs – almost anything! Hot sauce can absolutely be a part of a healthy, low sodium diet. But, hot sauce can easily put you over your sodium budget for the day if you don’t pay attention to portion size and the type of hot sauce you use. Be sure to look for a low sodium hot sauce and pay attention to portions.
Hot Sauce for a Low Sodium Diet
How Much Sodium Should I Eat?
The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for sodium is 1,500-2,300mg per day.(1) This is how much salt is recommended for a general healthy diet. Most of us are eating much more sodium than we need. The average American eats about 3,400mg (and up to 8,000mg!) per day.(2)
Coincidentally, people with kidney disease or kidney stones should also limit sodium to 1,500-2,300mg per day! A low sodium diet can help control blood pressure to protect your kidneys and heart. Lower sodium intake is correlated with slower cyst growth in people with Polycystic Kidney Disease.(3)(4)
Can I Have Hot Sauce on a Low Sodium Diet?
Yes! Hot sauce can absolutely fit into a low sodium diet. Hot sauce packs a huge flavor punch. So, even though there is sodium in hot sauce, there is more flavor compared to the same amount of sodium in plain salt. Adding a little hot sauce can help cut down how much salt you add to your food.
It is important to pay attention to portion size. Dousing your food in hot sauce will likely add too much sodium. But, you can add a few drops for great flavor! Notice that the portion size for hot sauce is 1 teaspoon.
Low Sodium Hot Sauce Alternatives
Remember that there are many other ways to add spice to your food other than hot sauce. Most dried herbs and spices have almost no sodium in them. They are a great way to add a spicy flavor to your food. My favorite is crushed red pepper. Red pepper flakes are very spicy, and they get more spicy the longer they are cooked. Add just a little and work your way up to figure out the spice level you like.
Chili powder, cumin, curry powder and smoked paprika are also great essentially salt-free spices to add a kick.
Peppers are another great salt-free way to add quite a bit of spicy flavor. Peppers can range from sweet to painfully spicy. The heat level of peppers is measured in Scoville Heat Units (SHUs). SHU measures the concentration of capsaicinoids in a pepper. Capsaicinoids are the chemical compounds that gives peppers their spicy flavor. The higher the SHU, the more capsaicinoids it has and the spicier it is. Be careful to choose a pepper that matches your preferred spiciness level!
How Much Sodium is in Hot Sauce?
Not all hot sauces are created equal. The sodium content in common brands ranges quite a bit! The lowest sodium hot sauce on this list is Valentina*, with only 64mg per teaspoon. The highest sodium hot sauce was Louisiana hot sauce, which packs 200mg of sodium per teaspoon.
It is important to read the Nutrition Facts label for you favorite hot sauce to know exactly how much sodium you are getting.
|Amount of Sodium (mg)
|Crystal Hot Sauce
|Cayenne peppers, vinegar, salt
|Water, peppers, salt, vinegar, garlic powder, spices, xanthan gum
|Cholula: Green Pepper
|Jalapeno, water, sugar, salt, poblano pepper, acetic acid, garlic powder, jalapeno powder, xanthan gum, poblano pepper flavor, sodium benzoate, sodium metabisulfite
|El Yucateco: Green Chile Habanero
|Water, habanero, salt, acetic acid, spices, xanthan gum, citric acid, onion powder, sodium benzoate, yellow No 5, calcium disodium
|El Yucateco: Red Chile Habanero
|Water, habanero pepper, tomato, salt, spices, acetic acid, xanthan gum, citric acid, sodium benzoate, red no. 40, calcium disodium
|Frank's Red Hot
|Cayenne peppers, vinegar, water, salt, garlic powder
|Frank's Red Hot: Buffalo Wings Sauce
|Vinegar, cayenne peppers, salt, water, canola oil, paprika, xanthan gum, natural butter flavor, garlic powder
|Louisiana: The Perfect Hot Sauce
|peppers, vinegar, salt
|chili, salt, vinegar, potassium sorbate, sodium bisulfate, xanthan gum
|Chili peppers, water, sugar, garlic, salt, garlic powder, dextrose, potato extract, natural flavor, vinegar, citric acid, xanthan gum
|Water, red peppers, salt, spices, garlic, acetic acid, xanthan gum, sodium benzoate
|Tabasco: Green Jalapeno Sauce
|Vinegar, jalapeno pepper, water, salt, cornstarch, xanthan gum, ascorbic acid
|Tabasco: Chipotle Pepper Sauce
|Chipotle pepper, vinegar, water, salt, sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, spiced, pepper pulp (vinegar, red pepper, salt)
|Water, chili peppers, vinegar, salt, spices, sodium benzoate
Most hot sauce is made with some combination of dried hot peppers, vinegar and salt. However, the amounts, type of pepper and food additives are very different for different hot sauces. Some hot sauces have potassium food additives, which may be a concern for some people with kidney disease.
When you check out the nutrition label to check the sodium in hot sauce, look at the ingredients to better understand what you are eating.