Many people find hot sauce for health-conscious people to add low-calorie flavor to their favorite foods. However, there’s more to health than just low calorie options; many folks today are in need of gluten-free, low-sodium, or vegan products as well. I gathered some info for you to help you find sauce options that will satisfy a variety of health requirements.
Gluten-Free Hot Sauce & BBQ Sauces
Generally, most hot sauces do not contain gluten. However, some may be produced in facilities that suffer cross-contamination with other products that do contain gluten, so it is important to verify with the producer whether they can attest that their sauce is gluten-free or not. This year, we created a gluten-free product category in order to make it easier to find that information. We checked labels and contacted the producers to try to provide you with the most accurate information possible. If there’s any question on whether a particular hot sauce, BBQ sauce, salsa, snack, etc. is gluten-free or not, then we didn’t add it to the gluten-free category.
One sauce producer that I had contacted back when I started my research mentioned that he was wary of labeling his sauces as gluten-free because of the blend of spices that they use. He has family members who are extremely gluten sensitive, and, although they had never had any issues with his sauces, they pointed out that they had to be extra careful with products that contain spices. This is because spices could be grown in fields near wheat fields where traces of wheat could have cross-contaminated the spices. Those who are extremely sensitive to gluten, or have wheat allergies, must be mindful of where the spices were grown. This could also account for why some sensitive individuals can have so-called unexplained allergic reactions after eating something that they were sure did not contain wheat.
Barbecue sauces, teriyaki sauces, and others types of sauces are more likely to contain gluten than hot sauces because they often contain soy sauce, which is typically NOT gluten-free unless otherwise specified. In most cases, the basic ingredients of soy sauce are soybeans and wheat, but there are wheat-free soy sauces available.
It’s a bit more difficult to find sauces that are low in sodium than gluten-free. One customer recently reached out to me because his doctor advised him to go on a strict low-sodium diet and he was concerned about giving up his favorite pepper sauces and salsas. I started researching sauces that contained fewer than 35mg of sodium per serving because let’s face it, most people use more than a single serving of hot sauce on their foods! The brand that I found to be consistently lower in sodium was Dave’s Gourmet, which wasn’t a huge surprise considering their extended product line focuses on mostly organic and heart-healthy condiments. I found that the following Dave’s sauces contain 35mg (or less) sodium per serving:
• Dave’s Insanity Sauce
• Dave’s Ultimate Insanity Sauce
• Dave’s Temporary Insanity Sauce
• Dave’s Hurtin Habanero Sauce
• Dave’s Hurtin Jalapeno Sauce
• Dave’s Cool Cayenne Sauce
• Dave’s Crazy Caribbean Sauce
• Dave’s Ginger Peach Hot Sauce
And don’t forget the Original Jump Up and Kiss Me doesn’t even contain any sodium at all!
Vegan Sauces and Xanthan Gum
Most hot sauces are vegetarian, but if you’re trying to figure out if a sauce is vegan, the ingredient to watch for is xanthan gum. Although some types of xanthan gum are vegan and derived from plants, some xanthan gum is derived from dairy such as milk. So you could have two different hot sauces that each list xanthan gum as an ingredient, but one is vegan and one is not because of the type of xanthan gum that was used.
There are some producers that specifically note that their products are vegan, and I’ve listed some of those below. Elijah’s Xtreme, Heartbreaking Dawns and Sweet Heat Gourmet have confirmed that several of their sauces are vegan.
• Elijah’s Xtreme Ghost Pepper Sauce
• Heartbreaking Dawns 1542 Southwestern Habanero Sauce
• Heartbreaking Dawns Jalapeno Pineapple
• Heartbreaking Dawns Mango Habanero
• Heartbreaking Dawns The Green Verde Style
• Sweet Heat Gourmet Apple Bourbon BBQ Sauce
• Sweet Heat Gourmet Pineapple & Ghost Pepper Sauce
• Sweet Heat Gourmet Key Lime Pear
• Sweet Heat Gourmet Roasted Jalapeno
• Sweet Heat Gourmet Habanero Peach
• Sweet Heat Gourmet Sinclair's Fatalii
• Sweet Heat Gourmet Moruga Scorpion Hot Sauce