Soy sauce keto diet (and other alternatives)

Many ketogenic dieters have asked if taking soy sauce while on their low-carb diet is healthy. While some think it isn’t healthy, others believe that it isn’t a considerable risk. 

This article will uncover all you need to know about taking soy sauce on a keto diet. 

Is it a healthy additive? Are there any benefits? Is there a recommended type of soy sauce for me? This post will answer all these and more. Let’s see!

What is a keto diet?

A ketogenic diet is a high-fat and low-carbohydrate diet. People decide to go on a keto diet for different reasons. While some do so because of health-related conditions, others cut down on carbohydrates to enable them to lose weight. 

In keto dieting, the body utilizes fats to generate energy instead of carbohydrate. Keto foods also contain a high level of protein. 

What is soy sauce?

Soy sauce was discovered over 3000 years ago. Soy sauce is an Asian condiment made from soybeans, wheat, salt, water, and fermenting agents. It is a low-carb diet.

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How is it made?

Soy sauce can be made both traditionally and chemically. 

The traditional method of making soy sauce is by fermenting soybeans. This process can take as long as six months to be completed.

Chemically, high heat and acid solutions are used to break down soybeans. The chemical process is faster and more effective; it takes about 8-12 minutes to complete.

What does soy sauce contain – sugar or carb?

It depends on the brand you purchase, but most soy sauce contains carbs in small quantities. Some soy sauces like soy sauce and Chinese dark soy sauce are known to have sugar. 

How much carb is in a teaspoon of soy sauce?

One teaspoon of soy sauce contains about 0.7g of carbs. 

Soy sauce on keto – is it healthy?

Just like your keto, soy sauce also contains a small amount of carbohydrates. 

As an added benefit, soy sauce contains sodium which is especially vital to those on a keto diet. This is because ketogenic foods do not contain sodium and potassium, essential to keep the body hydrated. As a result, keto dieters often suffer dehydration and lack of energy.

What are the health benefits of soy sauce?

This Asian cuisine provides the body with excellent health benefits. Some of them are:

  • It aids digestion.
  • It has anti-allergenic properties that help to reduce certain kinds of allergies like allergic rhinitis symptoms.
  • It is a source of antioxidants. Antioxidants protect your body cells against free radicals, which contribute significantly to diseases and cancers. Dark soy sauce contains potent antioxidants that can help decrease blood pressure in people suffering from hypertension.
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Are there alternatives to soy sauce?

Yes, here are some substitutes for soy sauce. You may consider them too.

  • Fish sauce. It contains only anchovies and salt. They are great alternatives, but they have a fishy smell.
  • Coconut aminos: These are produced from fermented coconut sap, including a minute amount of natural sugar.  
  • Dried mushrooms: They are characterized by their rich flavor, and they are great alternatives. 
  • Liquid aminos: These are the most common alternative to soy sauce. They are produced from soy protein. Liquid aminos contain about 0.1g of carbs per serving and have a nourishing taste.
  • Worcestershire sauce. Worcestershire includes a blend of malt vinegar, spices, anchovies, and sometimes sugar.
  • Homemade soy sauce (shoyu): You can also decide to make your soy sauce at home. Here, you can choose the amount of sugar and soybeans that you think is right for you.

Types of soy sauce

Soy sauce can be classified based on the quantity of soybeans used and sodium and added ingredients. The following are the different types of soy sauce available in the market.

Light soy sauce

This is the most commonly used sauce. It contains the least sodium and has a low carb count of 1g per tablespoon serving. Some brands of light sauce contain wheat.

Dark soy sauce

Its carb content is slightly higher than the light soy sauce, up to 5 grams per serving. It contains some amount of sugar.


Tamari is a byproduct of miso paste. It is made with a large amount of soybeans, thus its rich and thick texture. Tamari doesn’t contain any added wheat and has around 1 gram of carb per one tablespoon, therefore, making it a suitable soy sauce alternative. 

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Sweet soy sauce

As the name implies, sweet soy sauce contains added sugars and has a delightful taste. It is quite thick and can contain up to 15g of carbs per teaspoon.

Which type of soy sauce is best for my keto diet?

Sugar-free light soy sauce or Tamari is preferable for your keto diet. This soy sauce contains a lesser amount of carbs or sugar than others.

How to use soy sauce on the keto diet

There are several ways to add this flavor to diets. Some of the choicest ways are:

  • Pour over your cauliflower rice
  • Pouring soy sauce over stir-fried veggies will boost its flavor
  • Use as a dip for sashimi
  • Include when cooking meat
  • Add to marinade recipes
  • For keto Asian-inspired dressings
  • Combine it with some crushed peanuts and chili for Thai-inspired dishes


Soy sauce is a delicious and safe condiment to include in your keto diet; however, having too much may be a threat to your diet. One tablespoon of soy sauce per diet is safest if you want to make sure your recipes stay keto-friendly.

When purchasing soy sauce or its alternatives, read the labels carefully as some brands have more sugar than others. Purchase only those with a tiny amount of sugar.

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