There is no doubt that soy sauce is delicious, and adds great flavor to a variety of dishes. But is soy sauce keto friendly?
With only 1 gram of net carbohydrates per tablespoon of soy sauce, you could be forgiven for thinking soy sauce is keto friendly. In fact, if you don’t mind the gluten and other by products in soy, you can include soy sauce sparingly on keto.
If you are looking to eat a really clean keto diet, there are better alternatives to regular soy sauce. I’ll explore the research on soy, genetic modifications, health risks and more further on in this post.
Is Soy Sauce Keto Friendly?
There really is no clear cut answer regarding is soy sauce keto – it comes down to personal preference and what you choose to put in your body.
The reason this is such a non committal answer is that soy has a high phytoestrogen content and the fact that many commercial soy sauces tend to be made using genetically modified ingredients.
There may be a slight risk of developing hormonal imbalances from foods that are rich in these phytoestrogens and this includes soy sauce.
Also, when eating a clean keto diet you’ll want to avoid wheat and gluten, which is the basis of soy sauce.
When looking at macros, soy sauce has no more than 1 gram of net carbs per tablespoon (depending on the brand). In short, you can eat this on the keto diet, but there are also keto friendly alternatives to soy sauce, which are a better choice.
Not All Soy Sauces are Created Equally
The quality of your soy sauce is an important aspect to consider when buying a new bottle. There are two main types of soy sauce: naturally brewed and non-brewed (or hydrolyzed).
The one big difference between these two is the lengthy process it takes to create the naturally brewed type. Research has shown some non-brewed soy sauces contained possibly carcinogenic substances.
Like hydrolyzed vegetable oils (which should be avoided on keto), non brewed soy sauces made from hydrolyzed vegetable proteins should also be avoided on keto, despite the low carb count.
Keto Soy Sauce Alternative
Coconut Aminos are often used as a soy sauce alternative on the keto diet, particularly if you are looking to avoid eating soy.
Coconut aminos are made from just coconut tree sap and sea salt. This is considered a healthier choice and more natural product than soy sauce.
Coconut aminos still contain carbs so check the labels of each brand carefully. I prefer to use Coconut Secret which is organic, gluten free and non GMO. You can find it here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Gluten Free Soy Sauce Keto?
Gluten free soy sauce has approximately 1.6 grams of net carbs per tablespoon. It can be used sparingly on the keto diet if you are happy to include soy. Keep in mind rice is generally used in gluten free soy sauce, hence the slightly higher carb count. Consider using coconut aminos as a gluten free keto soy sauce instead.
Is Dark Soy Sauce Keto Friendly
Dark soy sauce has a higher sugar content than standard soy sauce. With 5.6 grams of net carbs per tablespoon, dark soy sauce is not considered a keto friendly condiment.
Is Kikkoman Soy Sauce Keto?
Kikkoman uses a naturally brewed process to create their soy sauce. This is a better choice for the keto diet than non-brewed soy sauces created from hydrolyzed vegetable proteins. Kikkoman also create a gluten free soy sauce which is considered keto friendly, if you are including soy as part of your keto meal plan.
Is Low Sodium Soy Sauce Keto Friendly?
Low sodium soy sauce can be used sparingly on the keto diet. There is around 1 gram of net carbs per tablespoon of low sodium soy sauce. Look for naturally fermented and non genetically modified (GMO) soy sauces. For clean keto eating, consider coconut aminos instead of low sodium soy sauce.
Is Tamari Soy Sauce Keto Friendly?
Tamari has approximately 2.1 grams of net carbs per tablespoon. Tamari has added glucose for a slightly sweeter flavor. It can be used sparingly on a keto diet if you are happy to eat soy. Strict keto dieters prefer coconut aminos instead to avoid genetically modified ingredients.
Is Ginger Soy Sauce Keto Friendly?
Ginger soy sauce generally ranges from 4 to 8 grams of net carbs per serving. This is a high amount of net carbs for a condiment and not ideal for keto. You will need to check the nutrition label carefully for the brand you are considering and use very sparingly if you want to eat ginger soy sauce on keto.
Is Sweet Soy Sauce Keto?
Sweet soy sauce, also known as kecap manis is not keto friendly. Depending on the brand, there is generally 12 to 15 grams of net carbs per serving. As the name suggests, there is added sugar to sweet soy sauce. It may also contain wheat, Sulphur and added preservatives, all which are not suitable for the keto diet.
Why Is Soy Sauce Not Keto?
Some soy products are heavily genetically modified. Research has shown soy products can also contain estrogen-like substances. This may affect hormone levels in the long run. Additionally, most soy products are highly processed. If you are going to eat soy on keto, look for non GMO, naturally fermented products.
History of Soy Sauce
Soy Sauce is one of the oldest condiments in the world, and is a mainstay around many dining tables. Soy Sauce packs a mean punch of sodium and electrolytes.
When on the keto diet, the body often craves for these essentials in order to guarantee optimum performance. Unfortunately, many commercially prepared soy sauces are now produced using chemically made processes.
Choosing to include soy or not on your keto diet journey is a personal preference. If you choose to use soy, I recommend choosing a non GMO, naturally fermented soy sauce such as Kikkoman.
Soy Sauce Ingredients
Soy sauce should contain nothing more than water, soybeans, wheat and salt. There is often a small amount of alcohol in soy sauce which is caused by the natural brewing process.
The various processes involved in the preparation of soy sauce play a big role in the taste, coloring and aroma.
Please read the nutrition label carefully when choosing soy sauce. I have found some containing artificial colors, added sugar, added flavor enhancers. If you can’t pronounce an ingredient on the list, please steer clear of buying that brand.
Is Soy Sauce Keto?
As highlighted, sauce can be consumed in small amount when following the keto diet. It would be remiss for me not to point out that soy sauce may not be the ideal condiment for everyone. Some of the constitutional elements in soy sauce (wheat, soy and gluten) may cause it to pose a health risk to some people.
Here is a run down on what type of soy sauce or alternative to soy sauce to eat on the keto diet:
- If you are avoiding soy on keto – choose coconut aminos
- Gluten free keto – choose a naturally brewed gluten free soy sauce or coconut aminos
- Eating soy but want the most natural choice – choose Kikkoman or a naturally brewed soy sauce
As a parting note, it’s important to note that when it comes to deciding is soy sauce keto, it is personal preference based on what works the best for your body. Some people are perfectly happy eating small amounts of soy, others prefer not to include soy in their keto diets.