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Understanding the Sugar Content in Condiments

We get it. Finding low sugar sauce or sugar free condiments is tough. They are irresistible as they add a splash of delicious flavors to any culinary classic—ketchup on french fries, barbecue on smoked ribs, or even something as simple as honey mustard on a club sandwich. 

But hidden beneath all those mouthwatering flavors are added sugars

Most of us don't always measure out our favorite dipping sauces or sandwich spreads. I mean…when was the last time you measured out a tablespoon of Queso dip before dipping in your tortilla chips? Not likely, right?

As this is not a common practice among hungry restaurant patrons, it certainly makes sense why we tend to over-indulge and consume more sugar than necessary. And since condiments are meant to merely complement the main course of the meal, we often overlook their impact on our diets.

In this article, we want you to know that you can still enjoy tasty flavors that add a bit of spice, sweetness, or tartness to your next dish—without worrying about overdoing the sugar.

5 Low-Sugar Condiments

Below we've compiled a list of a few popular—and oh so tasty—condiment options that are traditionally low in sugar.

1.) Hot Sauce

If you like to kick up the heat, the majority of hot sauces contain as little as 0 grams of sugar. Just keep an eye on the sodium, as this may jump up quickly per serving. 

2.) Yellow Mustard

Always a staple for backyard barbecues and outdoor celebrations, Yellow Mustard is also carrying 0 grams of sugar per serving!

3.) Coconut Aminos

This option is a great substitute for regular soy sauce (which also contains less than 1 grams of sugar). Many low-carb enthusiasts spring for this condiment because it contains natural sugar and far less sodium per serving than traditional soy sauce.

4.) Salsa

Salsa really brings home the flavor, and with so many options, you can choose hot and spicy or mild and sweet. As many brands blend fresh herbs and veggies to create authentic flavors, you can enjoy this type of condiment on eggs, chicken, fish, and other protein-rich dishes. 

Of course, be careful when you grab a jar off the store shelf. Some brands like to add in extra sugar (more on this below). For a homemade, delicious salsa that brings the heat but contains only 2 grams of sugar, check out this recipe from A Spicy Perspective.

5.) Worcestershire Sauce

You might not always be able to pronounce it correctly, but this popular condiment can make a juicy steak taste even better and only contains 1 gram of total sugars per serving.

Great! You now have your list of low-sugar condiments that won't sacrifice taste. That means you can start enjoying these sauces on your favorite meals. Well…not quite!

Sauce Nutrition 101

If you follow our blog, then you're familiar with us saying that although certain foods can look nutritious on the surface, unless you read the labels and ingredients on its packaging, you could be missing out on better options!

Although condiments like hot sauce, mustard, and salsa are traditionally low in sugar, some packaged versions may include added sugar to enhance the flavor.​​

Let's review an example.

To answer the question: "does mustard have sugar?" you can't really give a solid yes or no. Why? 

Yellow mustard, on its own, contains a low proportion of calories, total fat, cholesterol, carbohydrates, and sugar (0 grams) per one teaspoon serving. But as you already know, there are many different types of mustards out there: 

  • Honey mustard
  • Spicy mustard
  • Brown mustard
  • Bavarian mustard
  • Etc.

All delicious, yes, but also higher in added sugars than the original. On the other side of this argument, although ketchup is notorious for containing added sugars, in recent years, many brand like Heinz now offer options that contain no added sugars. 

That means if you're interested in cutting down on sugar, you don't always need to avoid your favorite condiments, as many of them contain low-sugar alternatives.

At the end of the day, the best thing you can do is check the food label and look for the total number of sugar and ingredients. While there, be sure to also check out calories, fat, sodium, and all macro and micronutrients.

Why is all this important? 

Let's go back to the example of mustard. Yes, it's low in sugar and sodium, but it's low in nutrients, too. That means you can't really expect to get any type of nutritional value from these types of options. It's better to look at the entire picture of what you can expect. That means not just in flavors but also in nutrition benefits.

This might be why we're seeing a big push on more unconventional condiment options, such as avocado spreads, almond butters, and alternatives for ketchup, brown mustard, and even tomato sauces. It seems that more people want their food choices to be both delicious and nutritious! 

And if you ask us, it's not a bad idea!

Stay Connected

We hope you found this article helpful. Be sure to check out our own recipes for ideas that combine the flavors you crave while staying true to your lifestyle. Don't forget about our nut butter bars and crisps for all you nutrient dense snacking cravings!