Ayana Habtemariam, MSW, RDN, LDN, is a registered dietitian, nutrition therapist, certified intuitive eat counselor, and macro society worker. " data-inline-tooltip="true">Ayana Habtemariam, MSW, RDN, LDN

Ayana Habtemariam, MSW, RDN, LDN, is a registered dietitian, nutrition therapist, certified intuitive eating counselor, and macro social worker. 


Three little letters do up whole cuisine, and it’s all based roughly a signature sauce: BBQ. Sweet and also spicy barbecue sauce is a staple in southerly cooking and the hero that summertime cookouts.

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You may reach because that it come liven up chicken wings, shredded pork, sandwiches, and even French fries. Dozens of local recipe varieties comprise a panoply that options, native Carolina bold come Kansas City-style sauce. 

It’s only organic that our taste buds crave this tangy sauce—after all, it’s generally made with plenty of included sugar and a hefty sheep of sodium. So, just like anything else that you consume. When dipping, baking, or grilling through barbecue sauce, it is in cognizant of how it fits into your dietary pattern.

Barbecue Sauce Nutrition truth

Barbecue sauce nutrition can vary widely, depending on ingredients and also preparation. The following information is for one brand that barbecue sauce. This nutrition information for two tablespoons (37g) of barbecue sauce is listed by the USDA.


Barbecue sauce is a significant source that carbohydrates, v up come 17 grams in 2 tablespoons. The carbohydrate in barbecue sauce come primarily from added sugar, through tomato sauce bookkeeping for the rest. Countless brands perform high fructose corn syrup or other sweeteners together their very first ingredient.


In general, you won’t uncover fat of any kind (saturated, unsaturated, or omega-3) in barbecue sauce, together its plant-based ingredients usually don't save on computer this macronutrient.

Vitamins and Minerals

Barbecue sauce go contain tiny amounts of some vitamins and also minerals, including potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin A. However, you’re not most likely to reap significant health benefits from this micronutrients unless you’re drinking sauce through the cup (which might be tempting, however isn’t advisable). 

wellness Benefits

might Fight some Cancers

Though barbecue sauce has actually a flavor every its own, it is made primarily from tomato sauce, i m sorry harbors a an effective antioxidant called lycopene. This carotenoid compound gives tomato products that signature red color.

Research has linked lycopene input with reduced risk of details cancers, especially prostate cancer. The debatable, though, exactly how much lycopene you will do it actually acquire in a single two-tablespoon serving of barbecue sauce. 

may Reduce Blood pressure

Lycopene’s benefits may not stop with cancer prevention. A little 2014 study discovered that this antioxidant enhanced vascular duty in world with cardiovascular disease. However, it’s worth noting that this go not show up to it is in the instance in healthy volunteers.

antioxidant May safeguard Skin

In addition to lycopene, barbecue sauce’s tomato base has antioxidants like vitamin A and vitamin C, which assist “clean” the cells of damaging cost-free radicals. This process can protect the skin from sun damage and also may have anti-aging properties.

adds Flavor without Fat

If you should be top top a reduced-fat diet, barbecue sauce is one way to add flavor come meals there is no racking up fat.

Compatible through a vegetable Diet

Many barbecue sauce recipes (even store-bought ones) are naturally vegan, because the basic ingredients the tomatoes, vinegar, sweeteners, and also spices room all plant-based. If you monitor a vegetable diet, check barbecue sauce brand for animal products just in case.


It’s possible, though unlikely, come be allergic to any of the ingredients frequently used in barbecue sauce. The most most likely culprit of an allergy reaction is tomatoes. Many civilization with a tomato allergy will experience dental allergy syndrome, which can feel prefer a study abroad sensation in the mouth or throat. A an ext serious allergic reaction may include vomiting, nausea, hives, rash, coughing, or runny nose.

If you have a tomato allergy, you’ll should stay away from tomato-based barbecue sauces—but feel cost-free to enjoy South Carolina-style mustard-based versions.

People v allergies to soy and wheat should likewise check barbecue sauce brand carefully, as occasionally these ingredients have the right to sneak right into a recipe.


There are just about as plenty of varieties that barbecue sauce as there are regions of the U.S. Many locations of the South, Texas, and Kansas City all have actually their own distinctive recipes. 

Traditional Carolina barbecue sauces begin with ketchup, tomato sauce, or tomato paste and add vinegar (often apple cider vinegar), sweetener, and also spices like chili powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.South Carolina's flavorful sauces fall under the barbecue umbrella without making use of tomatoes. Instead, these use a mustard base.Texas-style barbecue sauce is thinner and also less sweet, sometimes flavored v onion and celery.Kansas City sauce are known for gift thick and—some say—especially sugary.

once It’s ideal

When picking the best sauce for her ribs or chicken, it’s necessary to consider your personal taste preferences and also dietary needs. If you are looking to keep sugar low, look for out a sauce with much less than 5 grams that sugar per tablespoon. (On the FDA’s more recent nutrition labels, you can get more specific by checking the “Added Sugars” heat item).

Also, it is in on the lookout because that high furustos corn syrup or various other sweeteners noted as the very first ingredient. Friend can likewise opt because that a specifically low-sugar brand.

Storage and also Food safety

Before opening, barbecue sauce deserve to be stored in a cool, dried area. Once opened, refrigerate unused sauce within a pair of hours. And as for when to throw the end the crusty bottle that’s been in your fridge for ages? many commercially prepared barbecue sauce brand stay an excellent in the frozen fridge for four to 6 months.

how to Prepare

Store-bought barbecue sauce may be convenient, however BBQ specialists will tell friend homemade sauce is really where it’s at. Making your very own barbecue sauce can yield deeper, more facility flavors–and is actually quite simple. Plus, as soon as you DIY, you can control the amounts of sugar and sodium that enter your recipe. Find a recipe with minimal included sweetener and also salt because that a lower-calorie, lower-sugar, and lower-sodium choice.

Verywell Fit provides only high-quality sources, consisting of peer-reviewed studies, to support the truth within ours articles. Review our editorial process to learn much more about how we fact-check and also keep our contents accurate, reliable, and also trustworthy.

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Verywell Fit"s content is because that informational and also educational purposes only. Our website is no intended to it is in a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.