Spicy food lovers rejoice! Your favorite condiment, hot sauce, can likely be enjoyed guilt-free even on low-carb and keto diets. With minimal carbohydrates per serving, hot sauce can give your food a fiery kick without kicking you out of ketosis.
But not all hot sauces are created equal when it comes to carbs. The ingredients and nutrition can vary by brand and type of sauce. In this article, we’ll break down the carb content in different popular hot sauces, plus give tips for choosing the best low-carb options. We’ll also cover whether hot sauce fits into stricter diets like carnivore.
Armed with the facts, you’ll be able to enjoy your wings, tacos, and chili with hot sauce to your heart’s (and tongue’s) content. Our guide details how to continue using this versatile and spicy staple while sticking to your diet goals. So keep reading to learn how to add heat the low-carb way!
Hot Sauce Nutrition Facts
Here is the typical carb content for some popular hot sauces:
- Louisiana Hot Sauce – 0g carbs (0g net carbs) per 5mL serving
- Cholula Hot Sauce – 0g carbs (0g net carbs) per 1 tsp serving
- Valentina Hot Sauce – 0g carbs (0g net carbs) per 1 tsp serving
- Frank’s Redhot Sauce – 0g carbs (0g net carbs) per 1 tsp serving
- Texas Pete Hot Sauce – 0g carbs (0g net carbs) per 1 tsp serving
As you can see, most standard American hot sauces contain 0 grams of carbohydrates per serving. This makes them perfectly keto and low-carb friendly!
What Gives Hot Sauce Its Low-Carb Status?
Hot sauces are able to contain minimal carbs because they primarily contain:
- Chili peppers – Contain capsaicin, which provides spicy heat. Very low in carbs.
- Vinegar – Adds tangy flavor. Vinegar is carb-free.
- Salt – Provides seasoning. No carbs in salt.
- Garlic or other seasonings – Extra flavors. Herbs and spices are very low-carb.
So the core hot sauce ingredients – peppers, vinegar, and salt – make most brands low-carb by nature. Now let’s look at exceptions.
Avoiding High-Carb Hot Sauce Ingredients
Some hot sauces do contain higher amounts of carbs from ingredients like:
- Sugar – Often added to balance heat. Choose sauces without added sugar.
- Fruit purees – Pineapple, mango, etc add sweetness and carbs.
- Starch thickeners – Cornstarch, flour, or xanthan gum thicken sauce.
- Oils – Vegetable or seed-based oils add carbs.
When choosing a hot sauce, scan the ingredients list and nutrition label to watch out for these potential carb-boosters.
Tips for Choosing Low-Carb Hot Sauce
Follow these tips to pick a carb-friendly hot sauce:
- Check label for 0g carbs per serving
- Avoid sauces with added sugar
- Select brands with short, simple ingredients
- Vinegar-based is best
- Calculate net carbs (total carbs – fiber)
- Look for keto-friendly claims on label
This guides you to the best low-carb options. Now let’s talk about enjoying hot sauce on stricter diets.
Using Hot Sauce on a Carnivore Diet
The carnivore diet involves eating only animal products. Since hot sauces are plant-based, they are not recommended on a strict carnivore diet. However, some possibilities include:
- Meat-based hot sauces – Exist but hard to find.
- Use sparingly – Under 5g carbs a day may work for some.
- Avoid completely – Most follow strict no plant rules.
Unless you can find a meat-based sauce, most carnivore adherents avoid hot sauces due to ingredients like peppers, vinegar, garlic, etc.
Adding Heat on a Keto Diet
Hot sauce is generally keto-approved thanks to zero carbs in most brands. But here are some tips:
- Verify 0g net carbs per serving
- Watch sugar content
- Sparingly on clean keto; more liberally on “dirty” keto
- Count it if making homemade sauce
- Beware sneaky carbs when dining out
So be diligent reading labels, but hot sauce can be used moderately on keto without worrying about carb counts.
Put Your Low-Carb Hot Sauce Knowledge to Use
Adding hot sauce to your low-carb or keto diet is unlikely to kick you out of ketosis. By understanding nutrition labels and ingredient lists, you can safely enjoy the spicy flavor.
Here are some ideas for putting your hot sauce knowledge into practice:
- Find a new favorite zero-carb hot sauce brand.
- Make your own custom keto hot sauce recipe.
- Use it to give keto-friendly wings, eggs, or chicken a kick.
- Spice up a keto-approved chili recipe.
- Bring hot sauce when dining out to liven up meat entrées.
- Research meat-based sauces if pursuing carnivore.
So put your new understanding of hot sauce carbs to work! A spicy boost can make keto-compliant foods more delicious. Just opt for low-carb brands and don’t overdo it.
FAQs About Carbs in Hot Sauce
Q1: What hot sauces are lowest in carbs?
Louisiana, Cholula, Valentina, Frank’s Redhot, and Texas Pete are all zero-carb options with no sugar added.
Q2: Do all hot sauces have zero carbs?
No, some specialty sauces contain added sugars, starches, and fruit purees that add higher carbs. Always check the label.
Q3: Can I use hot sauce on keto?
Yes, zero-carb hot sauces are generally keto-approved. But verify no added sugars and use moderately.
Q4: Is hot sauce allowed on the carnivore diet?
No, as carnivore involves only eating meat. The vegetables and vinegar in hot sauce make it non-compliant.
Q5: Should I count carbs when adding hot sauce?
Only count carbs if a sauce has significant grams per serving. Most have zero carbs so you likely don’t need to track it.