Sweet and Sour Sauce Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

sweet and sour sauce


zhekos / Getty Images

Sweet and sour sauce is a tangy, syrupy sauce named in Chinese culture for the combination of sweet (tomato sauce or pineapple) and sour (vinegar). It’s commonly used on chicken or pork, and then deep-fried. While sweet and sour dishes themselves can be high in calories and saturated fat, the sauce is not the culprit.

Recipes for sweet and sour sauce vary and have changed over time. Today, sweet and sour sauce ingredients may include white vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, pineapples, Chinese brown sugar, soy sauce, tomato sauce, and even ketchup.

Sweet and sour sauce can be used as a dip for deep-fried fish and meat. It can also be used directly in the wok or sauté pan to flavor vegetarian and meat-based dishes. Sweet and sour sauce is neither healthy nor unhealthy and can be part of a nutritious meal plan.

Sweet and Sour Sauce Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition facts for a 2-tablespoon serving of Sweet and sour sauce are provided by the USDA.

  • Calories: 54
  • Fat: 0g
  • Sodium: 189mg
  • Carbohydrates: 13.4g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Sugars: 7g
  • Protein: 0g

Carbs

The calories in sweet and sour sauce are primarily coming from carbohydrates. There are 13.4 grams of carbs in a 2-tablespoon serving of sweet and sour sauce, 7 grams of those carbs come from sugar.

The carbohydrates found in sweet and sour sauce are simple carbs, and it has a glycemic index of 70. The carbs are likely coming from ingredients including tomato sauce, ketchup, and added sugar.

Fats

There are no dietary fats in sweet and sour sauce.

Protein

Sweet and sour sauce does not have any protein.

Vitamins and Minerals

Sweet and sour sauce is not a good source of vitamins and minerals. It does however have 3 milligrams of vitamin C. This makes up 5% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C. Sweet and sour sauce is a high-sodium food and provides 7% of the total recommended daily intake.

Calories

A 2-tablespoon serving of sweet and sour sauce has 54 calories. Carbohydrates make up 100% of the calories in sweet and sour sauce.

Health Benefits

The health benefits of sweet and sour sauce may vary based on the individual ingredients of different recipes. Overall, sweet and sour sauce may offer few health benefits.

May Improve Dietary Adherence

The thought of ditching your favorite foods to follow a bland, boring diet for weight loss is far from exciting. Using marinades and sauces is a great way to maintain flavors without extra calories.

If used in small portions, sweet and sour sauce can contribute to a nutritious meal plan and help you stick with it. Studies show that taste is a big barrier when it comes to dietary adherence. If you can make food taste good, you are more likely to eat it.

May Help Prevent Iron Deficiency

Vitamin C helps with the absorption of both heme and nonheme iron. Since nonheme iron is found in the foods we eat, it is beneficial to eat vitamin C-rich foods alongside iron-rich foods. Sweet and sour sauce is rich in vitamin C and therefore would be perfectly paired with vegetarian dishes or meals packed with vegetables.

May Boost Immunity

As one of the most well-known antioxidants around, vitamin C is a potent immune booster that may help prevent infection or reduce healing time. Plus, low vitamin C levels have been associated with an increased risk of getting sick. It does not hurt to increase your intake of vitamin C-rich foods. While sweet and sour sauce may not make a huge impact, it does contain vitamin C.

Allergies

Some recipes for sweet and sour sauce may contain soy and gluten. If you have an allergy to soy or require a gluten-free diet, read labels before purchasing or ask the server. You also could try making your own sweet and sour sauce at home with liquid aminos as a soy and gluten-free alternative.

Adverse Effects

If you are on a low sodium diet or are sensitive to salt, you may want to limit your intake of soy sauce. Talk to a healthcare provider about how best to limit your sodium intake.

Varieties

There are many varieties of sweet and sour sauce including salt-free, low sodium, preservative-free, sugar-free, gluten-free, soy-free, and vegan. So, you should not have any difficulty finding one to suit your needs.

Storage and Food Safety

Sweet and sour sauce is best if stored in the refrigerator after opening. If stored properly, sweet and sour sauce will last until the expiration date on the bottle. Homemade sweet and sour sauce should be stored in the refrigerator and discarded after 1 month.

Recipes

Healthy Sweet and Sour Sauce Recipes to Try

Was this page helpful?
4 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. USDA, FoodData Central. Sauce, sweet and sour, ready-to-serve. Updated April 1, 2019.

  2. Nicklas TA, Jahns L, Bogle ML, et al. Barriers and facilitators for consumer adherence to the dietary guidelines for Americans: The health studyJournal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2013;113(10):1317-1331. doi:10.1016/j.jand.2013.05.004

  3. Lynch SR, Cook JD. Interaction of vitamin c and ironAnn NY Acad Sci. 1980;355(1 Micronutrient):32-44. doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.1980.tb21325.x

  4. Carr A, Maggini S. Vitamin c and immune functionNutrients. 2017;9(11):1211. doi:10.3390/nu9111211