Eating sriracha sauce could have various effects on your body. Here are 4 surprising side effects of eating this spicy sauce.
If you need a little something to spice up, well, just about anything—sriracha is the obvious answer. From eggs, dips, meat, toast, vegetables, salads, and even ice cream (yes, this is a thing), sriracha can take literally any dish from boring to zingy and flavorful.
But, while you’re busy treating your tastebuds by slathering the red stuff on your avocado toast and egg salads, sriracha could be affecting your body in surprising ways.
Sriracha stands apart from other hot sauces because of its thickness and sweet garlic-y taste. The ingredient list is short with just chili peppers, sugar, garlic, vinegar, and salt (as well as preservatives and thickeners in some brands). And, nutritionally, there’s not much there.
But, if sriracha is your main flavor enhancer or if you’re planning to eat a dish that has a lot of the red stuff in it, here are four side effects of eating sriracha.
1. Sriracha Nutrition Facts
Sriracha is a spicy sauce that adds a punch of flavor and heat to many dishes. Originating from Thailand and Vietnam, sriracha is a popular condiment worldwide. Its main ingredients include chili peppers, sugar, distilled vinegar, garlic, and salt.
It is typically consumed in small quantities as a condiment and is a low-calorie option for adding a lot of flavor to dishes like stir fry, eggs, rice bowls, soups, and burgers. Sriracha is somewhat high in sodium but also contains vitamins and minerals such as iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E.
You can find sriracha in most grocery stores. The most popular brand is the original by Huy Fung Foods, commonly called rooster sauce, but a few other brands now produce the sauce as well.
One teaspoon (6.5g) serving of sriracha provides 6 calories, 0.1g of protein, 1.3g of carbohydrates, and 0g of fat. Approximately 83% of the sriracha calories are from carbs. The following nutrition information is from the USDA.
Vitamin C: 1.75mg
Vitamin A: 8.38mcg
Sriracha calories are mostly carbohydrates with 1.3g per 2 teaspoon serving. There is almost 1g of sugar and 0.1g of fiber, so the carbohydrates in sriracha mostly come from sugar. However, when compared to one carb count or 15 grams of carbohydrate this is a low carb food source.
However, because sriracha is consumed in such small amounts, the sugar content is relatively small as well, with a serving accounting for 2% of your daily recommended intake based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet.
Fats: Sriracha contains virtually no fat with 0.1g per serving. The fat that is present is unsaturated.
Protein: There is 0.1g of protein in a serving of sriracha, making it a very low source of protein.
Vitamins and Minerals: Because sriracha is consumed in small amounts, it does not contribute greatly to your overall nutrient intake. But, there are vitamins and minerals present. Sriracha contains 1.75mg of vitamin C, 0.1mg of iron, 8.4mg of vitamin A, and 0.7mg of vitamin K.
Calories: Sriracha is a low-calorie condiment. One teaspoon (6.5g) serving of sriracha provides 6 calories, 83% of which come from carbs, 9% from protein, and 9% from fat.
2. Surprising side effects of eating sriracha
You could lose weight
Topping your meal with sriracha could give your metabolism a boost.
“One of the main ingredients in sriracha sauce is chili peppers, which contain capsaicin,” says Elysia Cartlidge, MAN, RD, registered dietitian and founder of Haute & Healthy Living. “Capsaicin not only gives the sauce its fiery taste but can also act as a thermogenic chemical, producing heat that may potentially stimulate your metabolism and help burn fat.”
In one small study, researchers found that people who ate capsaicin with each meal were less likely to overeat and had higher levels of satiety and fullness compared to those who did not eat capsaicin with their meals.
You could have an allergic reaction
Some brands of sriracha use sodium bisulfite as a preservative. “Sriracha may cause an adverse reaction in those with sulfite sensitivity, resulting in wheezing, hives, and stomach upset,” says Melissa Mitri, MS, RD of Melissa Mitri Nutrition.
Sulfite allergies are most common in people who also have asthma, according to the Cleveland Clinic. The chances of having a sulfite allergy if you do have asthma are between 1 in 40 and 1 in 100. If you know that you’re sensitive to sulfites, the key to avoiding negative reactions is avoiding sulfite-containing foods including some types of wine, shrimp, potatoes, and condiments.
It could give you heartburn
If you’re no stranger to acid reflux, eating sriracha could make your symptoms worse.
Researchers have found that the capsaicin in red chili peppers causes food to sit in your stomach for a longer period of time, increasing the chances of acid reflux, while also irritating the esophagus. This can make your heartburn even more painful.
If capsaicin isn’t enough to do the trick, the garlic in sriracha can add to heartburn symptoms as well. Between your stomach and esophagus is a little flap called the esophageal sphincter. This flap should stay closed to keep stomach acid from entering your esophagus. Garlic has the potential to weaken the pressure on this sphincter, increasing the chances of heartburn after eating it.
May help with metabolic and vascular health
Capsaicin has been shown to stimulate brown fat, raising metabolic rate as well as producing a protective antioxidant effect on the liver, preventing fatty liver disease. Further studies in rodents have shown antihypertensive effects, helping to lower blood pressure. More research is needed in humans to verify these health benefits.