Is BBQ Sauce Keto


The Keto diet makes it pretty clear that you can’t eat bread or pasta and that you should eat healthy oils and fats.  However, there are some food items that aren’t as clear cut, including condiments and sauces such as BBQ sauce.  Is BBQ sauce Keto friendly?  The short answer is, it depends.  The following article will help you to pick the perfect BBQ sauce for your next grill session while showing you which sauces to steer clear of.

What is Keto

The Keto diet is an ultra-low carb diet that has a focus on healthy fats.  People follow a Keto diet in order to lower their blood sugar and LDL cholesterol levels, increase their energy and lose weight.  The Keto diet is able to do these things because it changes the way your body metabolises food for energy.

Typical diets provide your body with plenty of carbohydrates which are then used to create an energy source known as glucose.  Glucose causes the sugars in your blood to spike shortly after eating and then drop a few hours later.

The Keto diet restricts your carbohydrates in order to stop this high/low cycle of energy.  When your body doesn’t have enough carbs to run off of glucose it switches to its backup energy source and produces ketones.  Ketones are a more stable, ong lasting form of energy that don’t cause spikes in your blood sugar levels.

In order to keep your body producing ketones you need to provide it with plenty of healthy fats.  Ketones are created from fat which is why they’re great for burning away stored body fat.  The switch from glucose to ketones leaves many people with more energy and a greater mental clarity all the while reducing inches from their waistline.

Net carbs on Keto

While on Keto it’s important to track your carbs; however, not all carbs are created equally.  Fibre, although a carbohydrate, can’t be digested by your body and turned into glucose.  This means that any fibre in your food doesn’t count towards your carb budget on Keto.  The same goes for sugar alcohols.  

The only carbs that count on Keto are your net digestible carbs (or net carbs).  These are the only carbs that can be turned into glucose and effect our body’s ability to remain in ketosis.  In order to calculate your net carbs you need to find the total carbs of your item of food and subtract any grams of fibre or sugar alcohols.  For example, if your food had 7g of total carbs but you notice that it has 2g of fibre than you can subtract the 2 from the 7 and you’ll be left with 5g of net carbs.

Sugar on Keto

A quick word on sugar on Keto.  Sugar is a carbohydrate and the consumption of sugar on Keto is frowned upon because it will raise your blood sugar levels and kick you out of ketosis.  However, there are plenty of sugar substitutes that are Keto friendly.  If you find a BBQ sauce in the store that says it’s been sweetened by any of these you know the sauce is okay to have on Keto. The following are a few of the sweeteners that are allowed on Keto

  • Monk fruit
  • Stevia
  • Sucralose
  • Yacon syrup
  • Xylitol
  • Erythritol

Is BBQ sauce Keto?

The answer to this question depends on the type of BBQ sauce that you purchase.  Although you wouldn’t necessarily think of BBQ sauce as being “sweet” since many flavors offer more of a spicy or vinegary kick, the majority of store-bought sauces use hidden sugars to pack a flavor punch.  That’s not good for your net carb budget.  It’s important to always look closely at the ingredients on any processed food item.  In fact, many people who are following a “clean” Keto recommend that you steer clear of all processed foods.

Thankfully, there are several Keto-friendly brands available in stores and making your own BBQ sauce is extremely easy if you decide to go that route.  When looking at a store-bought sauce, don’t be fooled by the “sugar free” label.  You should always flip over the bottle and examine both the nutrition facts and the ingredients yourself.  Sugar can be masquerading under a number of names so companies can get away with putting “sugar-free” on the label.  However, you might still be ingesting sugars that will increase your carbs.  When looking at the nutrition label look at the total number of carbs, and use it to calculate your net carbs. 

Best types of BBQ sauce on the Keto diet

Any BBQ sauce that has a net calorie count of 2g or fewer per serving is likely to be a good option on Keto.  Look for sauces that are sweetened with monk fruit, sucralose or any of the other sweeteners listed above.  Be cautious of ones that claim to be sugar free and always be sure to check the facts yourself by reading the ingredient list and nutrition label.

The following are a few store-bought BBQ sauces that are Keto-friendly.

  • LIllies Q Zero Sugar Carolina BBQ Sauce
  • Tessemae’s Matty’s Organic BBQ Sauce
  • The New Primal Classic BBQ Cooking and Dipping Sauce
  • Primal Kitchen Classic and Primal Kitchen Golden BBQ Sauces
  • Lynchburg Tennessee Whiskey BBQ Sauce
  • G Hughes Smokehouse BBQ Sauce
  • Oh So Sweet KETO BBQ Sauce
  • AlternaSweets Sweet & Smokey Sauce
  • Stevia Sweet BBQ Sauce
  • Simple Girl Organic California Kick BBQ Sauce

This list is not exhaustive and there are plenty of other Keto-friendly BBQ sauces out there on store shelves.  The best thing to do is to take a wander down the store aisle and flip a few of the bottles over.  With a quick scan of the ingredient list and some easy math you should be able to find a BBQ sauce that makes both your calorie budget and your taste buds happy!

Homemade Keto friendly BBQ sauce

If you prefer to have greater control of your food choices then making your own BBQ sauce is the way to go.  This will allow you to control each and every ingredient that goes into your sauce.  This way you’ll know the precise number of carbohydrates you’re eating but you’ll also be able to modify your sauce to the exact taste that you want.

Luckily, making your own sauce isn’t difficult.  Although there are often quite a few ingredients in a BBQ sauce recipe in order to replicate the complex flavors of the sauce, those ingredients are common enough that you probably have them at home.  The only ingredient you may have to purchase in preparation for your sauce is liquid smoke.  This is an ingredient that gives BBQ sauce a distinctive flavor so it’s important to get some if you can.

There are a variety of recipes floating around the internet for delicious Keto-friendly BBQ sauces.  Here are a few simple and tasty ones that you can try out even if you’re a complete beginner at cooking.

The recipes listed above are just the starting point.  You can adapt them to fit your own unique tastes.  If you prefer more spice, increase the cayenne pepper in a recipe.  If you like a little more tang to your sauce then increase the vinegar.  And of course, if you love a sticky sweet sauce then increase the amount of Keto-friendly sweetener.

Alternatives to BBQ sauce on Keto

Although BBQ sauce is a delicious addition to a variety of foods, it’s not your only option.  BBQ sauce is used to add flavor and one of the best ways to inject your barbequed meat or veggies with a ton of flavor is to use a marinade.

Marinades are super simple and they’re a friend to anyone following a Keto diet because one of their main ingredients in a healthy oil such as avocado oil or extra-virgin olive oil.  The meat and veggies you soak in the marinade soaks up both the flavor and the nutrients in these healthy fats.  

In order to make a marinade, begin with the oil of your choosing and add in some lemon juice and vinegar.  From there you can add in additional flavors such as Worcestershire sauce, cumin, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder or cayenne pepper.  The skies the limit with marinades and they’re easily adaptable to whichever flavor you’re trying to capture.  The best part about a marinade is that they’re extremely low carb and super easy to make.  Just mix together you ingredients and let your food soak up the flavor in the fridge for several hours.  


The Keto diet can be a great tool for bodybuilders looking to increase their muscle mass.  Keep an eye on the types of protein you eat and the times you eat them in order to maximize your results.  As long as you stick to eating 20% of your calories from protein then your body should continue to produce ketones while you’re building muscle mass. 

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