Person pouring soy sauce on a saucer

Is Soy Sauce Keto?

Is soy sauce keto? The topic of whether soy sauce is keto or not has been complicated because of the confusion between a keto diet and other low-carb diets. In this guide, we will help you understand whether soy sauce is keto or not. 

Is Soy Sauce Keto?

Soy sauce such as the Keto Sweet Soy Ginger Vinaigrette is keto-friendly because it has a low net carb count. However, no soy sauce can be said to be 100% keto or not. Keep in mind that soy sauce is usually consumed in modest amounts, and so it can be used on keto recipes.

Bottle of soy sauce on a table

There are different categories of soy sauce depending on the ingredients used, the region of origin, and how thin or thick the soy sauce is. The table below breaks down these categories for you and indicates whether each category is keto-friendly or not.

Soy sauce variety 

Keto-friendly or not 

Gluten-free or not 

Light Chinese soy sauce 

Keto-friendly 

Contains gluten 

Dark Chinese soy sauce 

Not keto-friendly 

Contains gluten 

Tamari Japanese soy sauce 

Keto-friendly 

Sometimes 

Shiro Japanese soy sauce 

Not keto-friendly 

Contains gluten 

Usukuchi Japanese light soy sauce 

Not keto-friendly 

Contains gluten 

Koikuchi Japanese dark soy sauce 

Keto-friendly 

Contains gluten 

Hydrolyzed soy sauce 

Not keto-friendly 

Contains gluten 

Is Soy Sauce Harmful?

There are various reasons why some store-bought soy sauces could be harmful to your health:

  • Soy sauce may include pesticide residues. If you follow a keto diet and prefer to eat organic or avoid GMOs, store-bought soy sauce might not be for you.
  • Most store-bought soy sauces contain wheat and gluten by-products, both of which are not keto-friendly.
  • Store-bought soy sauces contain a lot of phytic acids, which prevent minerals from being absorbed.

However, if you stick to a low-carb diet, and consume soy products in moderation, you can enjoy soy sauce and maintain your keto status.

Types of Soy Sauce and their Carb Contents

Soy sauce comes in various varieties, each with its production method and substance. Soy sauces are also differentiated by the amounts of soybeans they contain as well as wheat, salt, and other components such as sugar. 

The ingredients used may affect the carb amount and whether the soy sauce is keto-friendly or not, in addition to flavor, texture, and scent. Since it has little to no added sugar, the soy sauce generally used in North America, known as "light soy sauce," is often relatively low in carbohydrates and sodium. 

While the actual amount varies by brand, below are some examples of common soy sauce kinds and their carb content:

  • Light Soy Sauce: This version, which is the most common in North America, typically includes around 1 gram of carbs per tablespoon (15ml) or fewer.
  • Tamari Soy Sauce: This kind is normally gluten-free, with 1 gram of carbohydrates per tablespoon (15ml).
  • Sweet Sauce: This kind, often known as "kecap manis," is typically heavy in added sugar. Each tablespoon (15ml) of sugar can contain up to 15 grams of carbs, depending on the brand.

Person pouring soy sauce on a spoon

What Should I Consider When Incorporating Soy Sauce Into My Ketogenic Diet?

Although soy sauce is believed to be keto-friendly, remember there are many types and not all can be used on a ketogenic diet. Below are some of the things to keep in mind when incorporating soy sauce into your ketogenic diet.

Type

The first and the most important thing to consider when choosing a soy sauce to incorporate into a ketogenic diet is its type. As we have demonstrated in the table above, some soy sauce types are keto-friendly while others are not. 

Choose a keto-friendly sugar-free light soy sauce such as the tamari. Although you can use dark soy sauce, you should watch out for added sugars.

Recipe 

When choosing which soy sauce to go for, take into account the carb content you target in your recipe. Then choose a soy sauce that will not push you out of ketosis.

Ingredients

Apart from the type of soy sauce, you will need to keenly check the ingredients included in the soy sauce. Check on the labels for the amount of added sugars or carbs between brands.

Portion Size 

Finally, you will want to make sure that you're putting the right amount of soy sauce into your meal. When on a ketogenic diet, it is advisable to use only one tablespoon of soy sauce.

Person pouring soy sauce on a saucer

What Are the Health Benefits of Soy Sauce?

Although it is hard to say whether soy sauce is 100% keto or not, keto-friendly soy sauce such as the Keto Sweet Soy Ginger Vinaigrette has several health benefits:

  • It is a low-calorie condiment and most of its calories comes from protein, and so it has minimal effect on weight gain 
  • Soy sauce contains high salt levels which translate into high levels of sodium micronutrients. This sodium helps to minimize the risk of developing a keto flu 
  • Soy sauce helps to improve the secretion of gastric juice and histamine, which helps to improve digestion. However, excessive secretion of histamine can be problematic for people who are suffering from histamine intolerance.

Related Questions

Is Soy Sauce Diet-Friendly?

Despite its high salt level, soy sauce can be part of a healthy diet, mainly if processed foods are limited and you are consuming fresh, whole meals with plenty of low-carb vegetables. Choose a salt-free kind or use less salt if you're watching your salt consumption.

Does Soy Sauce Cause Weight Gain?

Soy sauce is high in salt. You won't gain weight, but your jeans might feel tighter if your body retains water.

What is the Ideal Keto-Friendly Soy Sauce Substitute?

If you're on a rigorous keto diet, you can utilize coconut aminos, oyster sauce, fish sauce, anchovies, and miso paste.

How Many Carbs Does Soy Sauce Contain?

Traditional soy sauce has 0.7 grams of net carbohydrates in a 1-tablespoon serving. So, there's no need to look for a low-carb soy sauce.

Conclusion

So, is soy sauce keto? For a strict keto dieter, it’s a non-ketogenic sauce. If you're not strictly following the keto diet or you are on a low-carb diet and want to use this flavorful condiment in your meals, do so with moderation and caution.