Is Soy Sauce Keto Friendly? Carbs and Calories in Soy Sauce

soy sauce keto

Soy sauce is a flavorful condiment that first originated in China.  Made from fermented soybeans and wheat, it has been used in Asian cooking for over a thousand years.  In today’s era, soy sauce remains one of the most popular soy products in the world.  

Despite its high sodium content, soy sauce can be a part of a healthy diet, especially if you add it to fresh whole foods, like stir-fried veggies. 

Containing over 300 compounds that contribute to its unique flavor and aroma, soy sauce is associated with some health benefits and risks, which will be weighed out in this article. 

Not all soy sauce is made alike… Some types are healthier than others.  Keep reading to find out what you should look out for when purchasing soy sauce to ensure that you’re putting only the best ingredients into your body.

In this article, we’ll also take a look at some popular alternative sauces and condiments used in cooking and discover which ones will work best for a low carb lifestyle.

Is Soy Sauce Keto Friendly?

Soy sauce can be enjoyed in moderation as part of a Keto-friendly diet.  With less than a gram of carbs per tablespoon, feel free to add this sauce to your low carb dinners, such as stir-fried vegetables and meat dishes.  Soy sauce also makes a wonderful seasoning for cauliflower rice. 

What’s more, soy sauce is a good source of sodium which is important for optimal body functioning, especially on Keto.  A common symptom of the Keto flu is dehydration.  Sodium supplementation is often required to help your body hold on to water and rebalance electrolytes.  Adding soy sauce to the diet is a good way to combat this side effect.

How Many Carbs are in Soy Sauce?

One tablespoon of Soy Sauce contains 0.8 grams of carbs.  If you’re following a low carb diet, use soy sauce on low carb stir-fried veggies, cauliflower rice and meat dishes.  Just skip the traditional rice, as it could cause you to exceed your daily carb limit.

How Many Calories are in Soy Sauce?

One tablespoon of Soy Sauce contains 9 calories.  Soy sauce is a low-calorie way to flavor stir-fried dishes.  However, these dishes usually use a fair amount of oil.  It is important to note that each tablespoon of oil used in cooking will add 100 calories to the dish.  To avoid sticking, you may wish to add some chicken or beef stock in place of oil to reduce the overall calorie count of your meal, without compromising on flavor.

Nutrition Facts

Amount: 1 tablespoon of Soy Sauce (16 grams)
Calories 9
Total Fat 0.1 grams 0%
Saturated fat 0 grams 0%
Polyunsaturated fat 0 grams
Monounsaturated fat 0 grams
Cholesterol 0 milligrams 0%
Sodium 878.9 milligrams 36%
Potassium 69.6 milligrams 1%
Total Carbohydrate 0.8 grams 0%
Dietary fiber 0.1 grams 0%
Sugar 0.1 grams
Protein 1.3 grams 2%
Vitamin A 0% Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 0% Iron 1%
Vitamin D 0% Vitamin B-6 0%
Cobalamin 0% Magnesium 2%

Health Benefits 

soy sauce carbs


Soy sauce is a decent source of vitamin B3 and also contains small amounts of iron, phosphorous, and manganese.  Soy sauce also contains free amino acids.  

Aids in Digestion

In one study, a broth made from soy sauce was given to 15 people, resulting in increased stomach juice secretion, which is believed to help aid digestion.

Prebiotic Effects

Certain isolated sugars in soy sauce have been reported to offer prebiotic benefits on certain types of bacteria in the gut, which could potentially improve gut health.

Rich in Antioxidants

Dark soy sauce contains a number of powerful antioxidants, which one animal study reported could have positive effects on heart health.

Strengthens the Immune System

Studies show that giving mice polysaccharides, a type of carbohydrate found in soy sauce, may improve immune system responses; however, more human studies are needed to verify these findings.

Side Effects

Chemically manufactured soy sauce is made by hydrolyzing soy proteins with acid and heat, a method that could produce toxic compounds.  Chemically produced soy sauce contains a toxic substance called 3-MCPD.  There have been many world-wide recalls of soy sauce products that exceed safe limits because of the substance.  For this reason, it’s best to stick to naturally fermented soy sauce.

Soy sauce is exceptionally high in sodium, which is linked to high blood pressure.  Just one tablespoon contains about 900 milligrams of sodium!  It is recommended that average people limit their sodium intake to 2300 milligrams per day.  People with diabetes, high blood pressure, or kidney disease and people over the age of 51 should limit their sodium intake to 1500 milligrams daily.

MSG gives soy sauce that appealing umami flavor.  However, MSG is thought to cause headaches in individuals who are sensitive to the additive.

People who are sensitive to amines, including histamine, may wish to avoid soy sauce or strictly limit the amount they consume.  

Other Keto-Friendly Sauces

The carb counts for the following sauces/condiments are based on a 50-gram serving:

  • Butter – 0 grams of carbs
  • Coconut oil – 0 grams of carbs
  • Vinaigrette – 0 grams of carbs
  • Mayonnaise –  0.6 grams of carbs
  • Béarnaise sauce –  1 gram of carbs
  • Hollandaise sauce – 1 gram of carbs
  • Ranch dip – 1 gram of carbs
  • Aioli – 1 gram of carbs
  • Mustard – 1 gram of carbs
  • Tabasco hot sauce – 1 gram of carbs
  • Guacamole – 1.5 grams of carbs
  • Thousand islands dressing – 1.5 grams of carbs
  • Heavy cream – 1.6 grams of carbs
  • Cream cheese – 2 grams of carbs
  • Soy sauce – 2 grams of carbs
  • Blue-cheese dressing – 2 grams of carbs
  • Gravy – 2.5 grams of carbs
  • Salsa – 3 grams of carbs
  • Pesto – 4 grams of carbs
  • Oyster sauce – 5.5 grams of carbs

Sauces to Avoid on Keto

The carb counts for the following sauces/condiments are based on a 50-gram serving:

  • Honey – 41 grams of carbs
  • Jam – 34.5 grams of carbs
  • Maple syrup – 34 grams of carbs
  • Marmalade – 33 grams of carbs
  • Duck sauce – 30.5 grams of carbs
  • Hoisin sauce – 22 grams of carbs
  • Plum sauce – 21.5 grams of carbs
  • Barbeque (BBQ) sauce – 20 grams of carbs
  • Sweet and sour sauce – 19 grams of carbs
  • Ketchup – 13 grams of carbs
  • Tomato paste – 7.5 grams of carbs

Related Questions:

soy sauce calories

How is Soy Sauce Made?

Soy sauce is made from soybeans, which are mixed with wheat, barley or rice. These ingredients are then boiled together to ferment the soybeans. The soybeans are then covered with salted water and stored for weeks until the process completes.  The liquid that results is a thin brown sauce with a salty, umami flavor that makes a great way to season dishes.

Is Soy Sauce Gluten-Free?

While most of the soy and wheat allergens are completely degraded in the soy sauce fermentation process, it can still contain both wheat and gluten, which could pose a problem for those who are gluten-intolerant or have Celiac disease.

If you are allergic to gluten, look for gluten-free soy sauce and always check the ingredients list before buying.

What is the Healthiest Type of Soy Sauce to Buy?

Consuming soy sauce may involve some potential health risks if you don’t choose the right kind.  Most negative side effects are associated with chemically produced varieties.  Always choose a brand of soy sauce that is naturally fermented.  Sodium-reduced brands that do not contain MSG are also better for your health. 

Some of the healthiest brands that you can buy on the market include:

  • San-J Tamari Gluten Free Soy Sauce
  • Premium Lite Soy Sauce
  • Blue Grass Soy Sauce
  • Healthy Boy Brand Mushroom Soy Sauce
  • Pearl River Bridge Superior Dark Soy Sauce
  • 365 Everyday Value Organic Soy Sauce
  • Kikkoman Soy Sauce
  • Kishibori Shoyu
  • Pearl River Bridge Golden Label Superior Light Soy Sauce
  • Wholly Ganjang

Melissa Marshall

A litigation paralegal and writer. Her first novel debuts this fall. She lives with her kitten, Zoey overlooking the waterfront in beautiful Dartmouth, Nova Scotia - also known as the “City of Lakes”.

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