Soy and soy products, including soy sauce, are a complicated topic when it comes to the low carb and keto diet. Even scientists have split opinions about these products and whether they are beneficial to our health or not.
Soy sauce is a popular and flavorful condiment, and many keto and low carb dieters are avoiding it, but others still consume it regularly. It can be confusing to decide if you are going to consume it, or not.
If you are on a low-carb or keto diet, you may be wondering if soy sauce can kick you out of ketosis if you consume it. To find out everything you need to know about it, keep on reading.
What Is Soy Sauce?
Soy sauce or also called soya sauce is a flavourful condiment with Chinese origins. The taste is described as a strong umami flavor. Along with a prompting saltiness and slight sweetness and bitterness.
Traditionally it was made from a fermented paste of roasted grain (mostly wheat), brine, soybeans, and Aspergillus oryzae or Aspergillus sojae molds.
This product in its current form is thought to be created about 2,200 years ago, in the time of the Western Han dynasty of ancient China. From there it spread in East and Southeast Asia, where people started using it for cooking, as well as as a condiment.
Today this product is used all across the globe and it is used in many ways. People are adding it directly to food, cooking with it, and using it as a dip. While you can use this product with many foods, some of the most common foods it is added to are noodles, rice, sushi, as well as in various meats to enhance their flavor and give them a tasty saltiness.
How is it made?
As mentioned above, soy sauce is a fermented product. Traditionally it is made by fermenting the paste of grains, soybeans, and salt with a type of mold, bacteria, and/or yeast. This process of aging the product can take months and even years to complete.
Today, most of the manufacturers of this product use a faster and more effective method to make it. They use a strongly acidic solution and high heat to break down the soybeans and grains. This process usually takes 8 to 12 hours to complete.
Sometimes apart from the “classic” ingredients, sweeteners and spices are added to create different flavors and types. For this reason, it is necessary to check what kind of product you buy, because it may increase the carbs in it.
Soy Sauce Nutritional Facts
In the table below we have the nutritional information of 16 grams or one tablespoon of soy sauce. Take note that the nutritional information will depend on the brand, as different brands may add or exclude ingredients, sweeteners, additives, and preservatives. Make sure that you carefully read the label. (*)
|Total Carbs||0.789 grams|
|Net Carbs||0.661 grams|
Soy sauce is a low-calorie condiment. Its calories come mostly from protein. Apart from the macronutrients, this product also contains high levels of salt, which means high levels of the micronutrient sodium.
High levels of sodium are associated with promoting high blood pressure and heart disease. It is recommended to lower the amount of dietary sodium for those with the said conditions and those who are at a higher risk for them. (*)
However, when it comes to the keto diet high sodium might not be something you should strive to avoid. On the contrary, since the keto diet is an extremely low-carb diet, your kidneys will excrete more electrolytes such as sodium and potassium, and potentially cause an imbalance.
This electrolyte imbalance can cause various symptoms known as the “keto flu”, “keto-adaptation” or “keto-induction,”. Therefore, when you are on the keto diet, especially if you are at the beginning, you need to make sure you are consuming enough dietary sodium in the form of salt, plus other foods rich in potassium. This will lower the chances of developing or the severity of the keto flu.
Studies have shown that soy sauce can promote the secretion of histamine and promote the secretion of gastric juice. For this reason, it can promote digestion. The increased secretion of histamine may cause problems for people who have histamine intolerance. (*) (*)
Can You Have Soy Sauce On The Keto Diet?
Soy sauce is a low-calorie and low-carb condiment that can add primarily a salty taste. It is followed by an umami flavor and a slight sweetness and bitterness at the end. One tablespoon or 16 grams of this product contains only 8.5 calories, 1.3 grams of protein, almost no fat, and 0.79 grams of total carbs out of which 0.67 grams are net carbs.
This means that it is easy to incorporate into anyone’s diet, including a low-carb or keto diet. This product is high in salt (sodium), which is an electrolyte that can easily become deficient when doing the keto or low-carb diet. This may cause symptoms commonly known as the infamous “keto flu”. That’s why it is important that you consume products that contain salt when you are on the keto or low-carb diet.
On the other hand, people make this product from legumes and grains, which are not allowed for consumption when doing the strict keto diet.
To sum it up, soy sauce is a tasty addition to meats, veggies, and other foods. It is a great way to give them the ultimate flavor boost. It is also good for keeping the electrolytes in balance when doing the keto diet and still keeping the calories and carbs low. That’s why many keto and low-carb dieters don’t hesitate to use it in moderation.
However, it is still a product made from soy and wheat. So, can you still have it on the keto diet?
The answer to that question depends on how strict you are with your keto or low-carb diet. If you are doing strict keto, then you should skip this product along with other soy products. But, if you are okay with bending the strict keto rules a little, or if you are on a low-carb diet, then this product should be a great, flavorful addition to your meals in moderation.
If you decide to incorporate it into your diet, make sure you are looking out for the serving sizes. Another important thing is to look out for is the type of sauce you are buying. For example, sweet soy sauce has additional carbs- up to 15 grams in one tablespoon, and you shouldn’t consume it on a low-carb or keto diet. Make sure you read the label carefully when choosing your product.
It is not STRICTLY keto-friendly since it is made from soy and grains.
In one tablespoon or 16 grams, there are 0.67 grams of net carbs
You can use coconut aminos if you’re following a strict keto diet.
This product is a tasty, salty sauce with Chinese origins. It is low-calorie and low-carb, and it is also rich in sodium. Sodium is an important electrolyte to have in your keto diet as it can help with keto flu symptoms or even prevent it from happening.
While it might seem like this product is great for the keto and low-carb diet, manufacturers still make it from legumes and grains. This makes it a non-ketogenic sauce for a strict keto dieter. If you are not doing strict keto, or if you are on a low-carb diet, and you want to add this product to your meals, you can consume this flavourful condiment in moderation and with attention.
*image by AndreySt/depositphotos