If you know me at all, you know I am a total hot sauce addict! As far as I’m concerned, the hotter, the better! It’s almost become a problem, because I find most regular food to be quite bland now that I’m used to the kick! For years I used a variety of different sauces, just based on taste, and never really paid attention to what was in them.
When you quickly look at a hot sauce nutrition label, you may think…woohoo, free for all! Zero Calories, zero fat, zero carbs, zero sugar, zero everything 😉 except, then you see the sodium. They range anywhere from about 35 mg to 200 mg for a teaspoon. While that may not seem like a lot, when you’re using it a few meals per day, it adds up. Keep in mind, the American Heart Association recommends no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day, but I think that’s even too high.
Unfortunately, the sodium is not the only problem. When you start to examine the ingredient lists, you may come across some words a third-grader can’t pronounce and/or those your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize (remember two of the famous Michael Pollan rules!). Some of these include xanthan gum, sodium benzoate, citric acid, modified food starch, potassium sorbate, sodium bisulfate etc.
Sadly for me (and I know for many of you), our beloved Sriracha is one of the biggest offenders. But, rather than nitpick the bad ones, over here at LivLight, we like to focus on the good.
So, what’s a hot sauce addict to do?!?! First off, fresh peppers (i.e. jalapenos, habaneros, etc.) and dried peppers (i.e. crushed red pepper) are a great way to add spice without any sodium or chemicals, as are many bottled spices (i.e. curry, cayenne, etc.). Just be sure to check the ingredient list on store-bought spice jars to make sure they are just the spice or combo of spices without additives or salt.
You can also certainly make your own homemade sauce, if you have extra time (like never!) or try my picks. Here are my top four, which are all pretty easy to find and all #LivLightApproved (I’ve included ingredients and sodium content)! Hope you’ll give them a shot and let me know what you think!