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How Your Obsession With Hot Sauce Is A Good Thing

by | Aug 20, 2015 | Nutrition

If you’re among the guys who like it hot — and by “it,” we mean food, of course — then you already know spicy sauces add flavour to all manner of dishes, from nachos and omelets to soups and curries.   

But there’s more to these condiments than deliciousness. Dozens of different hot pepper varieties are used to make hot sauces that are low in fat, sodium and carbohydrates, and are healthier than many of the packaged sauces and dips out there. Which peppers go into which sauce? Read on to find out:

Cayenne Peppers


Best-known sauces: Louisiana Hot Sauce, Frank’s RedHot


On the Scoville scale, which measures the spiciness of foods, the original Louisiana Hot Sauce delivers as many as 5,000 Scoville heat units (SHU). Frank’s RedHot, meanwhile, comes in at a relatively mild 450 SHU.

For comparison purposes: The world’s hottest pepper, the infamous “Carolina Reaper,” maxes out at more than 2 million SHU, which pretty much answers the question, “How hot is too hot?”

Food pairings: 

The formers Cajun roots make it ideal to drizzle on jambalaya and gumbo, but it also pairs well with everyday foods like scrambled eggs and potato salad.

Best known as a Buffalo chicken wing glaze, Frank’s RedHot is as much an ingredient as a condiment, with mac & cheese and fish tacos among the more popular recipes.


Tabasco Peppers 


Best-known sauce: Tabasco


Again, as high as 5,000 SHU, because both the Tabasco and cayenne pepper are varieties of chilli pepper.

Food pairings: 

Where to begin? Mexican food, barbecue, soup, pizza — Tabasco can be drizzled on just about any food that needs kicking up a notch. There’s even Tabasco ice cream!


Jalapeno Peppers


Best-known sauce: Arizona Gunslinger


2,000 SHU, or a good option for guys who like it hot, but not too hot.

Food pairings: 

Shake some into your chilli and other sauces to add fiery flavour. It’s also a popular condiment on chicken and fish dishes. Another option: Skip the sauce altogether and toss fresh sliced jalapenos on your sandwich or tacos!


Remember hot sauces are a great replacement for sugary or creamy sauces but tend to be high in sodium (e.g. one teaspoon of Frank’s hot sauce has almost 200 mg of sodium). Therefore you should watch your sodium intake which should be between 1500-2300 mg/day.


What’s your favourite hot sauce? Share your spicy secrets in the comments below.


Adam Bisby
Adam Bisby

Adam Bisby is a Toronto-based freelance journalist and father of two who has been covering men’s health for more than 20 years. As well as researching and blogging for Don’t Change Much since 2015, Adam’s award-winning work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and National Post newspapers, in magazines such as Explore, Reader’s Digest and Canadian Family, and on websites including MSN and Toronto.com. Visit Adam’s website for more information on what he does.

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