A common misconception is that a renal diet means giving up all of your favorite foods. But this couldn’t be further from the truth! There are many low sodium hot sauce options available to those on a renal diet, it’s just a matter of where to look for them. In this article, we list out dietitian-approved low sodium hot sauce options and where to find them.
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Sodium in the Diet
The general healthy eating guidelines for sodium are less than 2,400 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day.
While this may sound like a lot, most people get 3,400 milligrams of sodium per day.
The recommended sodium intake for those on a renal diet is between 1,500-2,400 mg of sodium per day. Working with a dietitian will provide guidance on individual needs.
Why is too much sodium bad?
Eating too much sodium can lead to health complications including;
- high blood pressure
- heart disease
- cardiovascular disease
- heart attack
High blood pressure is the second highest cause of chronic kidney disease.
Defining Sodium Labels
Let’s quickly define some of those labels you’ll come across when looking for hot sauce and other foods.
Low sodium is 140 milligrams of sodium or less per serving, or under 5% DV (daily value).
Very low sodium is 35 milligrams or less per serving.
Sodium-free is less than 5 milligrams per serving.
Reduced sodium is 25% less sodium than the original product. That means it may not actually be a low sodium option!
Light in sodium or lightly salted means there’s at least 50% less sodium compared to the original product. The same goes for this one; it doesn’t mean low sodium!
No salt added or unsalted means there was no salt added to the product. However, it may still contain natural sodium.
Sodium in Hot Sauce
Generally, most hot sauces have around 124 mg of sodium per teaspoon. Some are over 200 mg per teaspoon, which means a tablespoon can be more than a meals’ worth of sodium.
Sriracha has slightly more than standard hot sauces; around 138 mg of sodium.
And for those on a renal diet, there are plenty of low sodium hot sauce options that have much less sodium.
Types of Hot Sauce
It can seem overwhelming when looking at hot sauce options in the grocery store. That’s because there are not only so many but different types! Here’s a breakdown of the types of hot sauce and common ways to use them.
Sriracha is made using red chiles, vinegar, sugar, and garlic. It is often used in Asian dishes like stir fry or pho.
Picante sauce recipes include tomatoes, chiles, spices, vinegar, and garlic. It can be used in Tex-Mex style foods like quesadillas or fajitas.
Louisiana-style hot sauce is made with red jalapeños, cayenne peppers, vinegar, and salt. It can be used in dishes like gumbo or jambalaya.
Chili garlic sauce ingredients include red chiles, garlic, vinegar, sugar, and cornstarch. It is often used in Chinese and Indian cuisine. It’s similar to sriracha, but with a thicker texture.
Harissa is made with dry red chilies, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and spices. It can be used in North African dishes like couscous or tagine.
It also makes for a great spicy spread on a charcuterie board or with some crusty bread. Harissa is available as a jarred sauce or spice mix.
Chili (Green or Red)
Green and red chili sauces are made with – you guessed it – green or red chiles. It also includes tomato paste, vinegar, garlic, sweetener, and other spices.
They can be used in Tex-Mex style dishes like enchiladas or burritos, as well as chili con carne.
Gochujang is a Korean chili paste. It’s made with red chili pepper flakes, rice flour, fermented soybeans, and salt. Its thicker texture is great to spice up stews, soups, and marinades.
However, it’s typically high in sodium. Limit the amount used to stick to a low sodium diet.
Low Sodium Hot Sauce List (140mg or less)
There are many different brands of low-sodium hot sauce available on the market. Here are plenty of options.
- Truff Hot Sauce, Hotter Sauce, or White Truffle Hot Sauce (each 40mg/tsp)
- Dave’s Hurtin’ Habanero (45mg/tsp)
- Siete Traditional (45mg/tsp)
- Siete Habanero (50mg/tsp)
- Gringo Bandito Green Sauce (50mg/tsp)
- Dave’s Creamy Garlic Red Pepper Hot Sauce (50mg/tsp)
- Small Axe Red Hot Sauce (50mg/tsp)
- Torchbearer Garlic Reaper Sauce (50mg/tsp)
- Trader Joe’s Tunisian Harissa (50mg/tsp)
- Gringo Bandito Super Hot Sauce or Spicy Yellow (each 60mg/tsp)
- Dave’s Creamy Ginger Citrus (60mg/tsp)
- Red Clay Carolina Hot Sauce (65mg/tsp)
- Dave’s Creamy Roasted Jalapeno Sauce (70mg/tsp)
- Trader Joe’s Green Dragon (70mg/tsp)
- Orange Crush Habanero (70mg/tsp)
- Melinda’s Original Habanero, Habanero Extra Hot, or Jalapeno (each 80mg/tsp)
- Trader Joe’s Sriracha (80mg/tsp)
- Dave’s Roasted Garlic (90mg/tsp)
- Kumana Avocado Hot Sauce (95mg/tsp)
- Tiger Sauce (95mg/tsp)
- Melinda’s Black Truffle, Pepper Sauce, or Scotch Bonnet (each 100mg/tsp)
- Hank’s Cilanktro Hot Sauce (100mg/tsp)
- Tiger Habanero Lime Sauce (105mg/tsp)
- Hank’s Heat Hot Sauce or Herb-Infused Sauce (each 105mg/tsp)
- Hank Camouflage Sauce (110mg/tsp)
- Cholula (110mg/tsp)
- Cholula Chili Lime (110mg/tsp)
- Trader Joe’s Sweet Chili Sauce (115mg/tsp)
- Melinda’s Ghost Pepper (125mg/tsp)
- Tabasco Habanero (130mg/tsp)
Very Low Sodium Hot Sauce List (35mg or less)
Next is a list of hot sauces that qualifies as being very low sodium. These can be better options than the low sodium since they may have just 10% or less compared to the low sodium hot sauce choices.
- Dave’s Original Insanity Sauce or Temporary Insanity (each 10mg/tsp)
- Dave’s Crazy Caribbean Hot Sauce or Hurtin’ Jalapeno Sauce (each 15mg/tsp)
- Brother Bru Bru’s African Hot Sauce (20mg/tsp)
- TorchBearer Scorpion Pepper (20mg/tsp)
- Mina Spicy Harissa (22 mg/tsp)
- Sinai Original Hot Sauce (24mg/tsp)
- Gringo Bandito Red (25mg/tsp)
- Chelsea Fire Wicked Hot Sauce (25mg/tsp)
- Bravado Ghost Pepper and Blueberry (30mg/tsp)
- Angry Goat Cool Hippo (33mg/tsp)
- Tabasco Original (35 mg/tsp)
- Simple Girl (35mg/tsp)
Salt-Free Hot Sauce List (Less than 5 mg)
Lastly, there are some sodium-free hot sauce options available! These are a great option for those that mind having no salt in their hot sauce.
- Dave’s Ultimate Insanity Hot Sauce, Ginger Peach Hot Sauce or Total Insanity Sauce
- Doc’s Original Salt Free Hot Sauce
- Mr. Spice Tangy Bang Hot Sauce
- The Spicy Shark
- Punch Drunk Chocolate Habanero
- Pain 100%
- Crazy Jerry’s Brain Damage Hot Sauce
- Zombie Apocalypse Ghost Chili Sauce
Hot Sauce on a Renal Diet
While hot sauce can be a condiment for a healthy renal diet, there are a couple of other things to consider besides sodium.
Many low sodium foods will use potassium chloride as a salt substitute. Check the label and proceed with caution if you need to follow a low potassium diet.
It’s not common for hot sauces to have phosphorus. However, check the ingredients list for phosphate additives and avoid these as much as possible.
The hot sauce options above did not have phosphates listed at the time of publication. However, companies can change their product formula without notice or warning. Check the labels to be safe.
There are a lot of low sodium hot sauce options, despite many on the market being too high in sodium. Low sodium means less than 140 milligrams of sodium per serving.
Additionally, there are also very low sodium (under 35 mg) and sodium-free (under 5 mg) hot sauces available, which can be a better choice.
Stick to the serving size to keep your hot sauce low sodium. Eating more than that may take it out of the low sodium range.
Look for phosphorus and potassium additives in a hot sauce ingredients list. These are important to limit or avoid if you have kidney health issues.
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Jen Hernandez is a registered dietitian and board-certified specialist in renal nutrition. She has nearly a decade of experience with kidney disease patients in all stages - from stage 1 through kidney transplant. Jen writes on the blog of Plant-Powered Kidneys to help reach and teach more kidney patients about how they can enjoy more foods in a plant-based diet while protecting kidney health.