If you live in Louisiana, it’s likely that hot sauce plays an important role in your kitchen pantry. From seafood to pizza or really anything else, this spicy condiment is an integral part of local cuisine. And with a recent study linking eating spicy foods with longer living, that’s a good thing!
However, one detail you may not be aware of is that hot sauce can range in more than just heat. Some brands contain up to 6 times more sodium than others, as well as artificial colors. Below are the results of our recent investigation into the healthiest and least healthy hot sauces, as highlighted in one of our recent “Love it, Like it, Hate it” segments on WGNO.
One of the most familiar hot sauce brands also arrives as one of the healthiest. The iconic Tabasco Pepper Sauce contains only 35 mg of sodium per teaspoon, as compared to the 200 mg packed in by other varieties. Switching over to Tabasco is one of the top changes we recommend to our Eat Fit NOLA restaurant partners when working to lower the sodium content in their dishes. Another great option is Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Magic Pepper Sauce, which at only 65 mg per teaspoon consists of simple ingredients like vinegar, peppers and a small bit of salt.
Two favorites, Crystal and Cholula Hot Sauce fall in our medium category. With about 135 mg per teaspoon for Crystal and 110 mg for Cholula, these brands carry about two to three times more sodium than their healthier counterparts.
While Cajun Chef Hot Sauce contains only 10 mg more sodium than Crystal (140 mg per tsp), it also lists artificial food dyes Yellow #6 and Red #40, which you probably wouldn’t think to look for in a hot sauce. Frank’s Red Hot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce creeps up to 190 mg, and Louisiana Hot Sauce tops out at 200 mg.
The major takeaway is that if you’re looking for small ways to shave sodium out of your diet, you can save a lot just by switching up your hot sauce brand!
For more details on this topic, watch Molly’s full “Love it, Like it, Hate it” segment on WGNO New Orleans.