Is Soy Sauce Keto? Soy Sauce On A Keto Diet: Tips, Recipes, And Substitutes


Is soy sauce keto? This question often stirs up confusion among those following a low-carb keto diet. 

soy sauce dripping into bowl

Soy sauce, a staple ingredient in Asian cuisine, is known for its ability to provide flavor and complexity to any meal – but does it fit into the strict guidelines of a keto diet? The answer is not a simple yes or no. So if you’ve been wondering “is soy sauce keto?”, stick around – we’re about to demystify this topic once and for all!

In this post, we’ll explore the nutritional content of soy sauce, its place in a ketogenic diet, and potential concerns about consuming too much soy sauce. We’ll also delve into some tasty and healthy alternatives like coconut aminos and fish sauce that can help keep your meals exciting without breaking your carb bank.

Nutritional Content and Carbs in Soy Sauce

KetoConnect verdict: We give soy sauce a keto-friendly rating of ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐(out of 5)

With just 0.7g of carbs per tablespoon, soy sauce is a great choice for those on a low-carb diet since it won’t significantly affect your macros. Plus, it adds a delicious umami flavor to your dishes.

Soy sauce also has a relatively high sodium count. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as the keto diet can sometimes produce a deficit of sodium which can contribute to feeling tired. But if you are concerned that your sodium levels are high, luckily there are a range of low sodium soy sauce options out there for you to use.

How Soy Sauce Fits into a Ketogenic Diet

Despite its low carb content, regular soy sauce is technically keto-friendly thanks to its net carbs. You can use it as a marinade for meats or drizzle it over your stir-fry without worrying about getting kicked out of ketosis.

However, overindulging could lead to an unexpected spike in your daily carb intake. For example, using more than 4 tbsp. per day can provide around 4g of carbs, which is why you need to be careful with soy sauce when following keto.

Soy sauce can be part of your ketogenic lifestyle as long as you’re keeping track of how much you’re using and not going overboard with those delicious Asian-inspired dishes.

Potential Health Risks from Excessive Consumption

saucer of soy sauce

While it may enhance the taste of your dishes, soy sauce should be consumed within sensible limits to avoid potential health risks. 

Excessive soy sauce intake can lead to high sodium intake, increasing the risk of hypertension, heart disease, and kidney problems. Additionally, some soy sauces may contain additives and preservatives, which can have adverse effects on health when consumed in excess.

To ensure your health is not at risk, it’s best to enjoy soy sauce in moderation.

Role of Phytoestrogens and Endocrine Disruptors

Soy sauce contains phytoestrogens, which can mimic the effects of estrogen in the body. This can lead to disruptions in thyroid function, which is not ideal for those following a clean keto diet.

Gluten Concern for Strict Keto Dieters

Traditional soy sauce is often made with wheat during the fermentation process, potentially containing gluten which can be detrimental to those following a clean keto diet or who have gluten intolerance. This means that it may contain gluten, which can be harmful to those with gluten intolerance.

While these concerns may seem daunting, there are gluten-free versions available that allow you to enjoy the umami flavor of soy sauce without compromising your health or your ketogenic diet.

Sneaky Phytic Acid Problem

Phytic acid is a substance found in many grains and legumes, including soybeans. While it won’t directly kick you out of ketosis, it can inhibit mineral absorption in the body, which can impact your overall nutrition.

Pesticide Residues: A Hidden Threat?

Conventional farming practices can sometimes result in pesticide residues in soy sauce. To avoid this, consider opting for organic versions of soy sauce when possible.

Overall, you can enjoy soy sauce in moderation on a ketogenic diet, but it’s important to be aware of the potential health risks and to choose your condiments wisely.

Key Takeaway: 

Soy sauce is technically keto-friendly but should be consumed in moderation due to potential health risks from excessive consumption. Traditional soy sauce may also contain gluten, which can harm those with gluten intolerance or following a strict ketogenic diet. Additionally, phytic acid and pesticide residues are other concerns that one should consider when choosing condiments wisely for their ketogenic diet.

Our Favorite Keto Recipes Using Soy Sauce

It’s the nature of soy sauce to always be the support act, and never the star. It’s role is to enhance recipes rather than be the main ingredient, but here are three soy sauce keto friendly recipes where the condiment really adds a ton of extra flavor to the dish.

Keto Sushi with Soy Sauce Dip

keto sushi dipped in soy sauce

Soy sauce is often used in Asian cuisine as a dipping sauce, and this fantastic keto sushi recipe is a great example of that. 

Teriyaki Sauce

Keto Teriyaki Chicken served in a bowl with Teriyaki sauce
Keto Teriyaki Chicken with Teriyaki Sauce

If you love teriyaki as much as we do, this extremely low carb teriyaki sauce and marinade will be your new best friend. Super simple to make and amazingly versatile, soy sauce is one of the key ingredients.

Sweet and Sour Pork

easy sweet and sour pork sauce

Do you like sweet and sour pork? (Yes!) Do you like your recipes to be easy and simple to make? (Duh!) Then you’ll love this easy sweet and sour pork dish, where soy sauce plays a starring role in adding that essential umami flavor.

Alternatives to Traditional Soy Sauce for Keto Diets

When it comes to the keto diet, you don’t have to compromise on flavor. There are better alternatives out there that can replace traditional soy sauces while maintaining similar umami flavor but without problematic substances found therein.

Coconut Aminos

Coconut aminos, made from the sap of coconut palm trees, offer an excellent alternative although they may be pricier than regular soy sauces.

This condiment is not only suitable for those on a gluten-free diet, but it also boasts a lower sodium content compared to traditional soy sauce – making it perfect for those following a clean keto diet.

To use this in your recipes, simply swap out equal amounts of soy sauce with coconut aminos – no fancy math required. This air fryer meatball recipe is a perfect demonstration of how easily the two condiments can substitute for each another.

Fish Sauce

Fish sauce can be a good option for replacing soy sauce in keto diets as it offers deep flavor and has low net carbs.

The trick here, though, is ensuring you choose brands that do not contain added sugars which could potentially kick you out of ketosis.

A good rule of thumb when shopping? Check labels carefully before purchasing or better yet go with trusted brands known for their quality products without hidden carbs or sugars.

Dried Mushrooms as Flavor Enhancers

dried mushrooms

Ditching liquid condiments altogether? Consider using dried mushrooms instead. They serve excellently providing additional benefits including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, all while keeping up the desired flavors intact.

If these alternatives seem too exotic or expensive, remember: moderation is key even when dealing with seemingly harmless ingredients like traditional soy sauces, especially if aiming to maintain strict adherence to your macro-nutrient ratios within the ketogenic diet framework.

Other Asian Sauces

Try oyster sauce or hoisin sauce for a flavorful alternative to soy sauce.

FAQs for Is Soy Sauce Keto?

Is Soy Sauce Keto-Friendly?

Yes, traditional soy sauce is low in carbs and considered keto-friendly, but be mindful of its sugar and gluten content.

Why Do Some People Avoid Soy on Keto?

Concerns about phytoestrogens and endocrine disruptors in processed soy products may lead some dieters to avoid them.

Can You Use Chinese Soy Sauce on Keto?

Chinese-style light or dark soy sauces can be used in moderation on a ketogenic diet, but watch out for gluten.

Does Soy Sauce Contain Sugar or Carbs?

Soy sauce does contain small amounts of sugar and carbs (up to 1g carbohydrates per tablespoon or 15ml), but they are usually negligible when consumed in moderation.

Conclusion

soy sauce for sushi

Is soy sauce keto-friendly? While it can add flavor to your dishes, it’s important to be mindful of its carb content if you’re on a keto, low-carb diet. Luckily, there are alternatives like coconut aminos and fish sauce that offer a similar taste without the carbs.

But that’s not all you need to consider – traditional soy sauce can contain gluten and phytoestrogens, which can be harmful in excess. To add flavor and nutrition to your meals, try incorporating dried mushrooms instead. And if you’re looking for recipe ideas, we’ve got you covered with some healthy alternatives that will keep you on track with your keto lifestyle.

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Matt Gaedke

Matt is a former college basketball player turned computer engineer who discovered his passion for health and nutrition after cutting sugar from his diet in 2016. That year he founded KetoConnect with Megha in order to share their ketogenic lifestyle through recipes, videos, and educational content. Matt is always seeking to grow and try new things, a passion he shares with his wife and two amazing sons.

Expert Fact Checker

Marina Reluskoska

Marina Reluskoska

Marina is a licensed nutritionist with a keen specialization in food laws and dedication to shaping healthier lives. Beyond her professional journey, she finds joy in crafting culinary creations, embracing an active lifestyle, and cherishing quality moments with friends. In both food and life, she believes that balance is the key to nurturing well-being.

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