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Blog ‘Are Sauces a Big No when Losing Fat?’



‘Are Sauces a Big No when Losing Fat?’

  • by David O' Connor
  • June 9, 2016

We often talk here at Doc Fitness about ‘answering your questions‘ and sometimes we say it so much, it feels like we make them up. So, a little shoutout here to Stephen for inspiring this Blog:

Every blog, video or anything you see on Social is directed at helping YOU. So like I said to Stephen after he posted this, if you’re not following us (Doc Fitness) on Facebook/Snapchat/Instagram (or myself, David), you’re missing out on getting your questions answered so you can keep moving forward.

So, if you want to follow Doc Fitness & What we do here in Galway;

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Ok back to the Blog, here’s what you’re going to take away from this:

– The Real Answer to ‘Are sauces a big no when losing fat?’

– The lazy Mans quick guide to sprucing up any meal that you can do today (Well, you have to buy ingredients)


Before I answer that, remember the Fundamental Principle of Energy Balance, or BEING in a calorie deficit to drop bodyfat – as long as you’re in a negative energy balance, you’ll lose weight.

So when you think about that – as long as ‘the sauces’ you use are kept within your calorie intake for the day, they’re fine to use.

Most sauces are just fine and made with proper ingredients, but then you’ve the blatant sauces that are just filled with muck which are also usually higher up on the calorie (carbs + fat) scale.

Saying that, I’m all for ‘Health’ & usually stay away from the high calorie artificial sauces most of the time because you can simply make your own just as fast.

BUT – where do sauces come into the diet? And here’s where I’m bringing you the 80/20% rule if you haven’t seen it yet which I covered in big detail HERE.

Think of your sauces falling within the 20% of the ‘foods you love’ bracket.

So to recap quickly:

  • No they’re not a ‘Big-No’, sauces are fine when losing fat – if you factor them into your day and STAY in an overall deficit.
  • In super layman’s terms, Picture sauces that are ‘not the healthiest’ in the 20% bracket above for sustainability & flexibility.

However, I still think you should limit sauces in general…


You’ve probably heard coconut milk is great & healthy in a curry. And it is, while making the homemade curry absolutely gorgeous too.

But that doesn’t mean you have coconut milk every night of the week and guzzle down tonnes of olive oil over your salads too like Jamie Oliver shows us (Hence why you need to know this stuff & not mindlessly follow recipes)

The only issue I SEE with these types of sauces is the overall calories they add to a meal that you simply don’t need.

When you look at:

– Coconut Milks

– Free-Pour Olive Oil servings in salads

– Garlic/Cajun Mayo’s in salads etc.

They can easily add 100-250 calories extra to a given meal.

It might seem small in the grand scheme of things but over a week that’s a potential 1,750 k/cal and could be a player in the fact you’re not losing bodyfat at the rate you’d like.

SIDE NOTE: This is also why it’s handy to get sauces on the side when eating out, that way YOU can control the amount you eat at the meal. Doesn’t mean ‘you can’t have it’, just means you’re more controlled with it.

But again, if you factor these into your day, it’s perfectly fine. I’m just highlighting the point for those that don’t ‘track’ their calories that ALWAYS adding sauces is probably not the best option when in a fat loss phase.

Hence why I still think, overall, we should limit where we can while going through a fat loss phase so you can:

  • SAVE more calories for actual food to make you feel fuller.
  • Keep track of your calorie intake easier too (especially if you don’t track it closely or at all)


So what do you do to make meals more exciting then? Because 90% of the time when people eat to drop bodyfat, they do it so bland and boring they fall off the wagon every few days.

I’ve talked about this a bit before in HERE and HERE but for now you need two main groups of things that you can hop off to Tesco and get now:

1: Spices/Pepper/Sea Salt/Mixed Herbs etc.

2: Apple Cider Vinegar/Balsamic Vinegar/Kallo Stock Cubes


Why Choose These?

Because they’re Mighty for Health in general and a tablespoon of Balsamic Vinegar & Apple Cider Vinegar is under 20 calories.

Not to mention the added flavouring from the Kallo Stock Cubes.

So here’s what you can do for a family meal, prep for a days work or have as a meal for the evening and keep left overs for the next day – you get the idea.

STEP 1: Bulk Cook Chicken (Just an example) in the Kallo Stock Cubes & Spices.

So get:

– 5-6 Large Chicken Breasts

– Kallo Stock Cube

– Added Paprika, Mixed Herbs, Black Pepper & Cumin Spice. Just a pinch of each is fine. (You can use any here really, this is just a random example I use from time to time)

– If you want to add more: I’d opt for things like, Lemon or Lime Juice or one of my favourites peri-peri sauce


– Fill the Tray to at least half in boiling water along with the stock cube.

– Season the chicken either full or chopped up in a bowl then add to tray.

– Layer the top with a sheet of tin-foil to keep it moist to start with (Take off near the end then to brown the top of chicken)

OR you could dice up the chicken like below to make different flavours, but again I find just the regular above nice and fast and tasty.


(Photo courtesy of fitmencook.com)

STEP 2: Steam Vegetables of Your Choice (Or you could cook these in stock cube too if you had a huge pot – again, options are endless)

E.G: green beans, Mangetout Peas,m Broccoli, Onions/Leeks etc.

– When cooked, again add spices here. Pick 2-3 and just go for it.

– Making sure the water is drained BTW – Add a tablespoon each of apple cider & balsamic Vinegar and mix that all up. Not enough? Add a small bit more.

OR You could use half a tin of chopped tomatoes.

STEP 3: Pick Your Protein/Fat/Veg and Carbs if you’re adding them in and place up a meal

– The chicken will be cooked lovely due to the spices/stock cubes.

– The veg will be spiced up and not dry.

– If you haven’t added any fats to the meal yet – here’s where you could add your ‘thumb-size’ of fats like Olive oil for example, again further adding to the texture.

So when you look at that, its’ nothing fancy, it’s basically something super fast that ANYONE can do. Because once you even get started with the basics like this, you’ll constantly find your own ways of making things more exciting.

Here’s one of our members cooking something similar to the above while having it at work:

But first, here’s more ideas for sauces etc.


Here’s my go-to’s for mixing up either low-calorie or Zero sauce ideas. Some are considered single ingredient real foods, while some are artificial.

Again – these are all perfectly fine in moderation and I won’t be getting into that in this blog 😉

If they’re Zero Calorie, I’ve labelled them after each:

0% Fage or Liberte Yogurt for Cooking Curries (Yep, it’s not bad)

Franks Hot Sauce for adding to any meal (Zero Calorie)

Nando’s Peri Peri Sauce – Love this when frying/grilling chicken etc.

– Any Waldens Farms Options (Some are fine, some are not, again your preference – Zero Calorie)

Something to Dip Your Meats Into: 50% Reduced Sugar Ketchup & Lighter Than Light Mayonnaise

If you’re a ketchup/mayo lover, these are a no brainer to get with about 10-14 calories per serving



You’ll see, fundamentally factoring in any sauce is fine as long as you DO factor into your days food but I just find them a bit ‘high’ adding them to meals hence the options above.

There’s definitely better options out there and I’m not cook but this is what works fantastic for me and our clients are wizards at this too 🙂

– Sauces are fine if you factor them in.

– Opting for the meal sample above is an easy win/win combo for taste and health

– When looking for more sauce options, learn to read the labels that are similar to the options I’ve given above. Again, don’t get hung up on the ‘artificial’ realm of it all, they’re fine to factor in daily like the 80/20 picture above.

– Go learn how to cook if you can’t 😉

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David O' Connor
CEO | Head Coach
David's passion lies in coaching you through the easiest path to losing weight, toning up & getting back the confidence that's been hiding for a while. Head Coach & Head of Nutrition at Doc Fitness, if you don't find him there, he's probably training, sipping coffee writing Nutrition articles or playing Hurling for Ballinderreen.