The amount of love and attention Sriracha gets these days almost makes you feel sorry for tomato sauce, its old, bland, has-been cousin. It’s now commonplace to find this iconic hot sauce in most restaurants, ready and waiting to be poured on everything from your breakfast eggs to sushi to hamburger and chips. Once you’ve experienced a meal tasting better with a dash of Sriracha it’s hard to go back to having it without, but could this mild addiction to a commercial chilli sauce be bad for your health?
What is Sriracha exactly?
Originating in Thailand, this sweet and spicy sauce comes in super basic packaging and is not advertised formally, yet pretty much everyone knows exactly what it is. In recent years its reached cult-like status, selling over 20 million bottles a year and even inspiring a documentary, Sriracha. Ingredients vary slightly between brands but essentially Sriracha is made up of chilies, sugar, salt and vinegar, as well as some preservatives and additives. It’s that flavour combo of sweet, salty and spicy that makes it so irresistible and more-ish.
Let’s talk nutritional value
In terms of nutrients, Sriracha isn’t doing much for you TBH. It’s purely adding flavour to your life and nothing more, although some would argue the flavour is life-changing. One teaspoon serving of Sriracha contains 1 gram of sugar and 125mg of sodium, and let’s be real most of us are using about two teaspoons per serving. That means you’re consuming 12% of your recommended daily allowance for sodium every time you add hot sauce. To give you some perspective, tomato sauce contains the same amount of sugar but half of the sodium.
This might not sound like a lot but it adds up, especially if you’re the type to grab the Sriracha bottle at every meal. Too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure, increased risk of heart attack and stroke and, even worse, mild bloating. Ugh.
So do I have to throw my Sriracha away now?!
Nah, just take it easy and be aware of how often you’re using the stuff. It’s always healthier to skip the processing part and get straight to the source of your food, so rather cook with actual chilis and spices to add flavour and kick to your meals when you can.
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