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Can diabetics have buffalo sauce?

Buffalo sauce is a popular hot sauce commonly used as a condiment for chicken wings and other foods. It gets its name from the city of Buffalo, New York, the birthplace of buffalo wings. The tangy, vinegar-based sauce is usually made with cayenne pepper and hot pepper sauce, giving it a spicy kick. But can diabetics safely enjoy buffalo sauce? Here is a detailed look at how buffalo sauce affects blood sugar levels.

The Carbohydrates in Buffalo Sauce

Most buffalo wing sauces have very few carbohydrates. A typical buffalo sauce contains only around 1-3 grams of carbohydrates per 2 tablespoon serving. Since buffalo sauce is usually not consumed in large quantities, it only adds a negligible amount of carbs to your meal.

For comparison, here are the carb counts in 2 tablespoons of some popular buffalo wing sauces:

Brand Carbohydrates
Frank’s RedHot Original Buffalo Wings Sauce 1 g
TGI Fridays Buffalo Wings Sauce 3 g
Ken’s Steak House Buffalo Dipping Sauce 2 g

As you can see, even the higher carb sauces only contain around 3 grams of carbs per serving. This is a very small amount and fits easily into a diabetic eating plan.

TheEffect of Buffalo Sauce on Blood Sugar

Pure buffalo sauce is unlikely to spike blood sugar levels significantly due to its very low carbohydrate content. However, what you dip or drench in buffalo sauce can affect your blood sugar response.

Breading and batter on buffalo wings, fried foods, or starchy sides dipped in buffalo sauce will raise your blood sugar more than the buffalo sauce itself. The carbohydrates in these foods contribute more to blood sugar rises than the negligible carbs in the sauce.

One study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that chicken wings with the skin on had a high glycemic index, while skinless chicken breast had a low glycemic index. This shows the importance of the food under the sauce.

Research also shows pure capsaicin, the compound that gives hot sauce its heat, does not directly affect blood sugar or insulin levels. So the spiciness of buffalo sauce is not a concern for diabetes management.

Tips for Diabetics to Enjoy Buffalo Sauce

Here are some tips for diabetics to enjoy buffalo sauce safely:

Choose lower carb dippers

Opt for lower carb foods to dip like celery sticks, cucumber slices, chicken breast or cauliflower instead of breaded or fried options. This limits carb intake and blood sugar spikes.

Watch portion sizes

Stick to about 2 tablespoons of buffalo sauce or less per serving. Liberal dousing of wings or foods leads to excess carb consumption.

Account for carbs in meal planning

If you want higher carb dippers, plan for the carb counts in your meal plan. You may need to reduce carbs elsewhere in your meals to account for breaded wings or sides.

Check labels for added sugars

Some buffalo sauces contain added sugars like corn syrup or honey. Read labels and choose low or no sugar added varieties if you need to limit carb intake.

Pair with protein and fat

Eating buffalo sauce with protein and healthy fats helps control blood sugar spikes. Protein and fat take longer to digest and curb carb absorption.

Can Diabetics Eat Buffalo Wings?

Diabetics can enjoy buffalo wings in moderation as part of a healthy meal plan. Focus on the overall nutrition of your buffalo wings.

Baked or grilled wings are lower carb options than fried. Go for unbreaded naked wings or use a light breading. Skip the starchy sides and dippers. Enjoy wings with non-starchy veggies instead. Practice portion control and savor just a few wings as a treat.

Homemade wings allow you to control carb counts and ingredients. Make naked wings seasoned with spices and buffalo sauce. Or try coating them in a lower carb breading like almond flour or crushed pork rinds before saucing.

Other Low Carb Dipping Ideas for Diabetics

Beyond wings, there are many tasty ways for diabetics to enjoy buffalo sauce as a dip or condiment. Here are some carb-conscious ideas:

Buffalo chicken lettuce wraps

Shredded chicken breast sauced with buffalo sauce and served in lettuce leaves makes a flavorful low carb meal.

Buffalo turkey or beef meatballs

Toss baked meatballs in buffalo sauce for an appetizer or snack. Use almond flour or oat fiber in the meatballs to reduce carbs if desired.

Buffalo cauliflower

Roast cauliflower florets and toss in buffalo sauce for a vegetarian option.

Buffalo chicken salad

Top a salad of greens and vegetables with shredded buffalo chicken breast. The veggies provide carbs to pair with the protein.

Buffalo tuna salad

Mix buffalo sauce into tuna or chicken salad and serve with celery sticks.

Buffalo dip

Stir buffalo sauce into chicken salad, ranch dressing or cream cheese to make a tasty chip dip. Dip with raw veggies instead of chips or crackers to limit carbs.

Buffalo grilled cheese

Add buffalo chicken breast between two low carb cloud bread slices. Melt cheese on top for a spicy sandwich.

Cooking with Buffalo Sauce

Beyond dipping and dressing up chicken, there are many ways to cook with buffalo sauce to add flavor to meals. Here are some recipe ideas for diabetics:

Buffalo chicken casserole

Make a creamy casserole with shredded buffalo chicken, cauliflower rice and low carb cheese like cheddar or mozzarella.

Buffalo chicken pizza

Top a low carb pizza crust with buffalo chicken, red onion and blue cheese or ranch dressing.

Buffalo chicken chili

Add shredded buffalo chicken to a pot of meaty chili. The buffalo sauce adds a tangy kick.

Buffalo chicken egg rolls

Wrap shredded buffalo chicken and veggies like cabbage in low carb egg roll wrappers. Air fry instead of deep frying.

Buffalo chicken stuffed peppers

Fill bell peppers with buffalo chicken and top with shredded cheese for a flavorful, carb conscious meal.

Buffalo chicken meatballs

Add buffalo sauce to ground chicken or turkey before making into baked meatballs. Toss extra sauce on after cooking.

Buffalo chicken flatbread pizza

Construct a pizza on a low carb flatbread with buffalo chicken, spinach, tomatoes and mozzarella.

Crockpot buffalo chicken

Place chicken breasts in the slow cooker and pour buffalo wing sauce on top. Cook 4-6 hours on low for easy shredded buffalo chicken.


Buffalo sauce can be part of a diabetes-friendly diet. Pure buffalo sauce is very low in carbs and unlikely to significantly impact blood sugar levels. However, carb counts can add up depending on what foods you choose to dip or dress in the sauce. Focus on lower carb dippers like celery and make sure any breaded foods fit within your meal plan. Baked wings with light breading are better than heavily breaded fried wings. Homemade dishes like buffalo chicken casseroles, salads, egg rolls and more allow you to control carbs and calories. With mindful choices, diabetics can still enjoy the tangy, spicy flavors of buffalo sauce.