If there is one sauce or condiment that should be a staple in every household, my vote goes to sriracha. Sriracha goes well on just about everything, but that's just my opinion. You may be wondering, is sriracha hot sauce keto-friendly? After all, who doesn't want some of that spicy goodness in their lives?
In small amounts, sriracha may be used as a condiment while following a keto diet. While there is a small amount of sugar, a one teaspoon serving of sriracha has only one net carb, which can quickly add up if using too much, leading to a disruption in ketosis.
In this article, I'll cover why you may or may not want to include sriracha in your ketogenic diet, how many carbs it has, what it's made of, and some alternatives you may want to consider.
Can I Have Sriracha On Keto?
If you're mindful of your net carbs for the day and can use sriracha in moderation, you can have sriracha while following a ketogenic diet.
While there may be some carbohydrates, sugar even, in sriracha hot chili sauce, if you're mindful of your carb intake for the day, a little sriracha is perfectly acceptable.
What matters most when it comes to getting and staying in ketosis is your total carb count for the day, regardless of where those carbs come from (to a certain extent).
And what matters most when it comes to weight loss, is that you're in a caloric deficit.
Meaning, as long as you expend more calories than you eat, you should experience weight loss.
How Many Carbs Are In Sriracha Sauce?One teaspoon (5g) serving of sriracha hot chili sauce has only one net carb.
Most individuals following a ketogenic diet average between 20 and 50 grams of net carbs per day.
If you're mindful of your net carb intake, you may enjoy a few teaspoons of sriracha without affecting your ability to get in or stay in a metabolic state of ketosis.
Is there sugar in sriracha? Yes, there is sugar in sriracha.
However, while sugar is listed in the ingredients-list of sriracha, the amount is negligible in the big scheme of things.
The most crucial aspect when it comes to achieving and maintaining a state of ketosis is your total carbohydrates, less-so where they come from.
While you should be getting most of your carbohydrates from nutrient-dense sources like vegetables, having some of them come from condiments or sauces like sriracha is perfectly acceptable.
What Is Sriracha Made Of?
Sriracha consists of 5 key ingredients, and those are:
- Distilled Vinegar
There is no added water or artificial colors used in the making of sriracha. The red color comes naturally from the red jalapeño chili peppers that are the primary ingredient of the famous sriracha hot chili sauce.
Is Sriracha Healthy?
Most of the health benefits of sriracha come from the red jalapeño chili peppers that form the base. In particular, chilis are abundant in a compound called capsaicin, similar to hot sauces, which are also keto friendly.Capsaicin is the compound in peppers that gives them their spicy hotness but also has medicinal use.
Capsaicin has been studied and used as a treatment option for a variety of purposes.
1. May assist in weight loss
Capsaicin has been studied for its potential benefits in helping boost metabolism, increase satiety, and limit fat accumulation. 1 2
When it comes to weight loss, the longer you diet, the higher the chance you'll increase a decrease in metabolism due to decreased energy, decreased body mass, and a decrease in food.
Capsaicin may have the potential to help boost your metabolism by up to 8%
Additionally, a significant component that causes individuals to give up on their weight-loss diets is increased hunger. Capsaicin, which is found in sriracha, may be a useful tool to help suppress your appetite.
2. Improves your mood
Capsaicin helps to increase the serotonin and dopamine levels in the body.
Dopamine and serotonin are neurotransmitters that regulate mood and play a vital role in the brain's pleasure and reward systems. 3
3. Improves heart health
Capsaicin and garlic are both substances that can help improve heart health. They may help your body combat or avoid inflammation and dissolve blood clots. 4
4. Provide antioxidants
Chili peppers are rich in both Vitamin A and C, 5 both of which act as potent antioxidants that help prevent or slow damage to cells caused by free radicals. 6
5. Help control blood sugar
Chili peppers, such as the ones found in sriracha, may help to control your blood sugar levels and lower the risk of high insulin levels in your blood. 7
6. Provide arthritic pain relief
People who have arthritis suffer from a dysfunction of their pain receptors, leading to prolonged symptoms of pain.
Capsaicin cream is effective for reducing pain as a result of various types of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and fibromyalgia.
6. Reduce muscle pain
Capsaicin cream has been used for the treatment of muscle pain resulting from sprains and strains.
Capsaicin has anti-inflammatory properties. One study, in particular, states that capsaicin may be comparable to the anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac. 8 9
8. May lower risk for cancer and tumors
A 2016 study in the Anticancer Research Journal stated, “capsaicin targets multiple signaling pathways, oncogenes and tumor-suppressor genes in various types of cancer models.” http://ar.iiarjournals.org/content/36/3/837.full
9. Help reduce nasal congestion
Capsaicin may help clear mucus from the nose and has antibacterial properties that may help prevent chronic sinus infections. 10 11
The Dark Side Of Sriracha: Side Effects
While there may be some health benefits to sriracha, with the good comes the bad.
Garlic and chilis, two primary ingredients in sriracha, could trigger heartburn for some individuals. If you notice a sudden onset of heartburn on keto after ingesting peppers of any kind, it may be best to refrain.
Uses Of Sriracha On Your Keto Diet
There are a variety of ways you can implement a bit of spice into your ketogenic diet, these are my favorite ways.
Use sriracha to add a little flavor to some of your dishes; I like to use it as a dipping sauce for steak and chicken.
You can also use it to add a little spice to other condiments like sour cream or mayonnaise. I'll even do a one-two punch of wasabi and sriracha added to some dishes.
Sriracha makes a great condiment alongside eggs. If you're the type of person who would typically use ketchup, then sriracha can be a spicier and lower sugar replacement.
In broth or soup
One of my favorite ways to use sriracha was to in a Vietnamese soup called pho. Try adding it to soups, bean'less chili, or even pho broth for a keto-friendly spicy treat.
If you're a fan of the occasional sushi on keto, mixing some ahi or bluefin tuna with a bit of mayo and sriracha is quite the treat. Pair it with some cauliflower rice and wrap it in seaweed to make your own spicy tuna rolls.
Keto Friendly Sugar-Free Sriracha Recipes
Want to make your own sriracha? Need some other recipes you can incorporate sriracha into your keto lifestyle?
I got you.
What's great about making your sriracha is that you have full control of how spicy you want it.
Sugar-free fermented sriracha
The great thing about fermenting your sriracha is that it adds depth and flavor to your sriracha. Besides, fermentation helps to reduce the carbohydrates further since the sugars are converted.
Photo and recipe courtesy of Keto Diet App
“Honey” sriracha wings
Whether you just want to munch on some chicken wings or catching a football game, there's nothing that compares to some good wings.
This recipe and photo comes courtesy of Dr. Davinah's Eats
If there's one thing that sriracha goes well with, it's seafood, especially shrimp.
Using a bit of lime, garlic, and sriracha in this recipe yields you a delicious seafood meal in less than 15 minutes.
Recipe courtesy of Skinnyfitlicious
Sweet and spicy baked sriracha chicken thighs
In this recipe, skin-on chicken thighs are brushed with a delicious sweet and spicy sriracha sauce then baked. For a nice crispy thin, feel free to finish it off under the broiler and brush on some more sauce afterward.
Recipe courtesy of Kalyn's Kitchen
To change it up a bit, this recipe makes for a great side dish (or snack) and uses only three ingredients.
The recipe calls for an air-fryer, but you can easily toss these in the oven instead if you don't have access to one.
Recipe courtesy of 730 Sage Street
With only 1 gram of net carbs per serving, sriracha may be enjoyed on a ketogenic diet in moderation. Just remember, one serving of sriracha is equal to one teaspoon or (5g).
Sriracha is a versatile ingredient that you can add to your keto pantry. It can act as a dipping sauce, used in marinades, or added to other condiments and sauces to add flavor and heat.
To have full control of the level of heat and/or have your sriracha sauce with less sugar, try making your own.