Without a doubt, soy sauce is one of the most popular sauces in the world. In fact, it might be one of the first things that comes to mind when someone mentions Japanese food.
However, apart from knowing how great it tastes, you might not know much else about it.
For example, is soy sauce keto-friendly? If you don’t know the answer to that question, you’ve come to the right place! In today’s post, we’re going to answer the most important questions concerning soy sauce and the keto diet.
We’re going to tell you exactly what soy sauce is, whether it’s keto-friendly or not, and we’re even going to show you some other sauces you can use as an alternative if you follow a keto diet.
Soy sauce is generally considered to be a keto-friendly sauce, but the answer isn’t that straightforward so let’s dive straight in!
What Is Soy Sauce?
Let’s start by taking a look at what soy sauce is. Soy sauce is a popular liquid condiment, most commonly added to Japanese dishes.
However, despite being most commonly associated with Japanese cuisine, soy sauce is a Chinese condiment.
Packed with a strong umami flavor, soy sauce is manufactured and sold all over the world. We can use soy sauce to bring instant flavor to East and Southeast Asian dishes.
This condiment is made by fermenting cooked soybeans with different types of yeast to make sugar. Additional starches are then added to break down the soybeans further and salt is added too.
So, Is Soy Sauce Keto Friendly?
Moving on to the main question that brought you to this post, generally speaking, soy sauce is keto-friendly. Soy sauce only contains approximately 0.7 grams of net carbs per serving making it a suitable inclusion for a keto diet.
However, some people would argue that the answer isn’t that straightforward. It could be argued that the answer should be maybe. Some soy sauces can be high in carbohydrates, making things a little murky.
Therefore, soy sauce can only be considered keto-friendly if you purchase a low-carb brand. There are also a few other things that might turn you away from soy sauce if you’re following a keto diet.
You might want to avoid soy sauce if you’re trying to avoid soy, gluten, and salt. Having said that, if you just want to lower your sugar and carbs intake, soy sauce is fine.
What Ingredients Are Used To Make Soy Sauce?
To understand why soy sauce only contains 0.7 grams of net carbs per serving, you need to know the ingredients used to make it. Therefore, we’ve put together a list of the ingredients brands use to make soy sauce below!
These four ingredients are the only things needed to make a naturally brewed soy sauce. As you can see from the ingredients list, soy sauce contains wheat. This means that soy sauce isn’t gluten-free.
Every brand that makes soy sauce will use a slightly different recipe so the nutritional breakdown of each bottle will most likely be different.
However, we can still break down the nutritional value of a regular bottle of soy sauce to give you a good indication as to what it contains.
One tablespoon of regular soy sauce will usually contain the following:
- Calories: 9
- Carbohydrates: 0.7 grams
- Saturated fat: 0 grams
- Total fat: 0.1 grams
- Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
- Potassium: 70 milligrams
- Sodium: 879 milligrams
- Dietary fiber: 0.1 grams
- Protein: 1.3 grams
- Sugar: 0.1 grams
Different Types Of Soy Sauce
There are a few different types of soy sauce we can choose from, with each one having something slightly different to offer. The 3 most common types of soy sauce you have to choose from are sweet, light, and dark soy sauce.
Here’s what you can expect from each type of sauce!
Sweet Soy Sauce
As you would probably expect, sweet soy sauce has a less salty flavor. Similar in taste to dark soy sauce, sweet soy sauce has a thick and viscous texture.
This type of soy sauce isn’t typically used in keto cooking because it has high sugar content.
Light Soy Sauce
Soy sauce has a much lighter flavor and a thinner consistency. This type of soy sauce is arguably the most versatile type of soy sauce we can use.
It can be used in almost any form of cooking and is a better keto diet option as it has a lower sugar and carb content.
Dark Soy Sauce
Dark soy sauce is also an excellent keto-friendly sauce option. Similar in taste to molasses, this type of soy sauce is much darker and less sweet. Dark soy sauce is also a great sauce to use if you want to darken the color of your dish.
Soy Sauce Benefits
Aside from being low in carbs, there are also a handful of other benefits associated with soy sauce. You will find the biggest and most important benefits of using soy sauce below!
1. Good Source Of Sodium
If you’re not trying to cut down on your intake of salt, you will be very pleased to hear that soy sauce is a good source of sodium.
As a result, it is believed that soy sauce can help regulate our blood pressure, aid nerve transmission, and improve other basic bodily functions.
2. Improved Digestion
There is evidence to suggest that soy sauce, when consumed in small amounts, can improve digestion. Some studies have found that soy sauce can assist the gastric tract which helps us digest food properly.
Soy sauce also enhances gastric juice secretion. Some types of Japanese soy sauce help promote the growth of beneficial digestive bacteria too.
3. Anti-Allergenic Properties
One interesting benefit of traditionally made soy sauce is that it can have anti-allergenic properties. The shoyu polysaccharides produced when making soy sauce offer strong anti-allergenic properties.
However, it is of course worth remembering that some people will be allergic to the soy sauce itself.
4. Packed With Antioxidants
Naturally made soy sauce typically contains antioxidants. These antioxidants can protect our bodies from damage and reduce inflammation.
5. Low In Calories
Another important benefit you don’t want to forget is that most types of soy sauce are low in calories. A tablespoon of soy sauce contains approximately 9 calories, making it a popular low-calorie sauce for people that count their calories.
Soy Sauce Alternatives
If you don’t want to use soy sauce to flavor your dishes because it contains gluten and high levels of salt, you will probably be happy to hear that there is a wide range of soy sauce alternatives that you can use.
Here are some low-carb, keto-friendly sauces you can use instead of soy sauce, while still providing your dish with a similar flavor and color!
Tamari is essentially a traditional version of soy sauce so you can expect the same flavor and consistency. However, tamari is gluten-free because it is made without wheat.
It is also sugar-free, low in calories, and very easy to buy in most stores and markets.
2. Coconut Aminos
Coconut Aminos are arguably the best soy sauce alternative if you’re looking for a sauce that has the same flavors as soy sauce but without the iffy ingredients.
Aside from being a good alternative, Coconut Aminos is a sauce you might want to choose anyway.
That’s because a tablespoon of Coconut Aminos contains just 2 grams of carbs. That’s 7 grams less than a tablespoon of soy sauce.
3. Liquid Aminos
Liquid aminos are a type of sauce made from soy, water, and enzymes. Liquid aminos aren’t a very popular option but they are suitable for a low-carb diet and gluten-free, so you might want to consider using them instead of soy sauce.
There you have it, everything you need to know about soy sauce and why it is and isn’t suitable for a keto diet. In this post, we’ve shown you that soy sauce is keto-friendly.
We’ve also explained why you might choose to avoid it and use another sauce.
All you have to do now is decide if you want to use soy sauce or not. If you don’t want to, pick one of the soy sauce alternatives we’ve shown you instead!
Frequently Asked Questions
Soy sauce was created in ancient China approximately 2,200 years ago during the Western Han Dynasty. It was introduced to Japan around 250 AD – 710 AD.
Soy sauce is so popular in Asia because it tastes amazing, looks fantastic, and offers impressive versatility. It works well in almost any Asian dish.