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Is Hot Sauce the Healthiest Condiment?

Written By: Amanda Oliver

Amanda Oliver has more than a decade of experience in commerce and media, specifically in product testing and service journalism in the lifestyle, health and wellness, and outdoor space. Amanda is currently the Executive Editor of Commerce at Field & Stream. She is also an RYT-200 yoga teacher and NASM CPT personal trainer.

Expert Reviewed By: Katherine Basbaum, RD

Katherine Basbaum, MS RD is a Food Data Curator at MyFitnessPal. She received her Masters in Nutrition Communication from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts University and completed her Dietetic Internship at UVA Health, where she also works as a nutrition counselor for cardiology patients.

Is Hot Sauce Healthy? | MyFitnessPal
In This Article

In connection with our recent collaboration with TABASCO® Brand, we wanted to ask a registered dietician how hot sauce, and TABASCO® Sauce in particular, compares to other condiments. 

Walk down the condiment aisle at any grocery store and there’s a good chance you’ll find a row of hot sauce bottles. Often made with three key ingredients—aged red peppers, salt, and distilled white vinegar—the first hot sauce was allegedly made by the Aztecs in 7000 B.C.!

But compared to other condiments, is hot sauce healthy? We asked registered dietitian Katherine Basbaum, MS, RD, whether or not all that spice is good for you, according to research.

The potential health benefits of hot sauce

“Many of the reported health benefits of hot sauce are linked specifically to the active component in chili peppers, called capsaicin,” Basbaum explains. Studies have found capsaicin may:

One caveat, according to Basbaum: While the research shows some association between hot sauce and positive health outcomes, many of the studies used a higher concentration of capsaicin than the average person consumes. Aka, you’re unlikely to see significant benefits in a standard serving of hot sauce. 

Hot sauce vs. other condiments

With 0 calories per 1-teaspoon serving, hot sauce is lower in calories than most other condiments. It also contains 0 grams of fat, making it a lower fat option than something like mayonnaise which has 11 grams of fat or ranch, which has 16. Plus, hot sauce has 0 grams of sugar or carbs.

And as for how hot sauces compare to one another, TABASCO® Sauce is one of the lowest in sodium—by far. “Some other brands of hot sauce with similar flavor profiles have up to five times more sodium per teaspoon than TABASCO® Sauce,” Basbaum points out.

Is hot sauce healthy?

The short answer: yes. 

The longer answer: “There is no doubt that hot sauce is an excellent way to help maintain a healthy diet since it adds a lot of flavor to foods with zero calories and a small amount of sodium,” Basbaum explains. 

She adds that it’s a satisfying alternative to other sauces and seasonings that are higher in fat, sugar, or calories.

How to incorporate hot sauce into your diet

When it comes to adding hot sauces into your daily menu, a few shakes of the bottle can add a lot of flavor to almost any food or meal. But some of our favorites include: 

Fun fact: You can explore and save over 2,000 healthy recipes in MyFitnessPal.

Basbaum generally cautions not to go overboard with any hot sauce, especially if you have a sensitive stomach. 

And if you’re curious about the sodium content, you can always track your intake with MyFitnessPal. That way you can enjoy your daily dose of hot sauce sans salt overload.

About the Authors

Meet the people behind the post

Written By: Amanda Oliver

Amanda Oliver has more than a decade of experience in commerce and media, specifically in product testing and service journalism in the lifestyle, health and wellness, and outdoor space. Amanda is currently the Executive Editor of Commerce at Field & Stream. She is also an RYT-200 yoga teacher and NASM CPT personal trainer.

Expert Reviewed By: Katherine Basbaum, RD

Katherine Basbaum, MS RD is a Food Data Curator at MyFitnessPal. She received her Masters in Nutrition Communication from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts University and completed her Dietetic Internship at UVA Health, where she also works as a nutrition counselor for cardiology patients.

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