Is Soy Sauce Keto? Soy Sauce on a Keto Diet: Tips, Recipes, and Substitutes

Is Soy Sauce Keto? Soy Sauce on a Keto Diet: Tips, Recipes, and Substitutes

Is soy sauce keto? This question often causes confusion among those following a low-carb keto diet.

soy sauce dripping into the bowl

Soy sauce, a staple ingredient of Asian cuisine, is known for its ability to provide flavor and complexity to any meal, but does it fit within the strict guidelines of a keto diet? The answer is not a simple yes or no. So, if you’re wondering “is soy sauce keto?”, stay here: we’re about to demystify this topic once and for all!

In this post we’ll explore the nutritional content of soy sauce, its place in a ketogenic diet, and potential concerns about consuming too much soy sauce. We’ll also delve into some tasty and healthy alternatives like coconut aminos and fish sauce that can help keep your meals exciting without depleting your carb reserve.

Nutritional and carbohydrate content in soy sauce

KetoConnect Verdict: Let’s give soy sauce to keto-friendly rating From ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐(out of 5)

With only 0.7 g of carbohydrates per tablespoon, soy sauce is a great choice for those following a low-carb diet as it will not significantly affect macronutrients. Plus, it adds a delicious umami flavor to your dishes.

Soy sauce also has a relatively high sodium content. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as the keto diet can sometimes produce a sodium deficit which can contribute to feelings of tiredness. But if you’re concerned that your sodium levels are high, luckily there are a range of low-sodium soy sauce options you can use.

How soy sauce fits into a ketogenic diet

Despite its low carb content, regular soy sauce is technically keto-friendly thanks to its net carbs. You can use it as a marinade for meat or season it on stir-fry without worrying about coming out of ketosis.

However, excessive consumption could lead to an unexpected spike in daily carbohydrate intake. For example, using more than 4 tbsp. per day can provide about 4 g of carbohydrates, which is why you need to be careful with soy sauce when following the ketogenic diet.

Soy sauce can be part of your ketogenic lifestyle as long as you track how much you use and don’t overdo it on those delicious Asian-inspired dishes.

Potential health risks from excessive consumption

saucer of soy sauce

Although it can improve the taste of your dishes, soy sauce should be consumed within reasonable limits to avoid potential health risks.

Excessive consumption of soy sauce can lead to high sodium intake, increasing the risk of hypertension, heart disease and kidney problems. Additionally, some soy sauces may contain additives and preservatives, which can have negative health effects if consumed in excess.

To ensure that your health is not at risk, it is best to enjoy soy sauce in moderation.

Role of phytoestrogens and endocrine disruptors

Soy sauce contains phytoestrogens, which can mimic the effects of estrogen in the body. This can lead to disruptions in thyroid function, which is not ideal for those following a clean keto diet.

Concern about gluten for those following a strict keto diet

Traditional soy sauce is often made with wheat during the fermentation process, potentially containing gluten which can be harmful to those on a clean keto diet or who have a gluten intolerance. This means it may contain gluten, which can be harmful to those with gluten intolerance.

While these concerns may seem daunting, gluten-free versions are available that allow you to enjoy the umami flavor of soy sauce without compromising your health or your ketogenic diet.

Sneaky phytic acid problem

Phytic acid it is a substance present in many cereals and legumes, including soy. While it won’t snap you out of ketosis directly, it can inhibit the absorption of minerals into the body, which can impact your overall nutrition.

Pesticide residues: a hidden threat?

Conventional agricultural practices can sometimes cause pesticide residues in soy sauce. To avoid this, consider opting for organic versions of soy sauce whenever possible.

Overall, you can enjoy soy sauce in moderation on a ketogenic diet, but it’s important to be aware of the potential health risks and choose your condiments wisely.

Key points:

Soy sauce is technically keto-friendly but should be consumed in moderation due to the potential health risks of excessive consumption. Traditional soy sauce may also contain gluten, which can harm those who suffer from gluten intolerance or follow a strict ketogenic diet. Additionally, phytic acid and pesticide residues are other concerns that you should consider when choosing seasonings wisely for your ketogenic diet.

Our Favorite Keto Soy Sauce Recipes

It is the nature of soy sauce to always be the support and never the star. Its role is to enhance recipes rather than be the main ingredient, but here are three keto-friendly soy sauce recipes where the seasoning really adds a lot of extra flavor to the dish.

Keto Sushi with soy sauce

keto sushi dipped in soy sauce

Soy sauce is often used in Asian cuisine as a dipping sauce, and this amazing keto sushi recipe is a great example.

Teriyaki sauce

Keto Teriyaki Chicken served in a bowl with Teriyaki sauce
Keto Teriyaki Chicken with Teriyaki Sauce

If you love teriyaki as much as we do, this ultra-low carb teriyaki sauce and marinade will be your new best friend. Very simple to prepare and surprisingly versatile, soy sauce is one of the key ingredients.

Sweet and Sour Pork

easy sweet and sour pork sauce

Do you like sweet and sour pork? (Yes!) Do you like your recipes to be easy and simple to make? (Duh!) Then you’ll love this simple sweet and sour pork dish, where soy sauce plays a starring role in adding that essential umami flavor.

Alternatives to Traditional Soy Sauce for Keto Diets

When it comes to the keto diet, you don’t have to compromise on flavor. There are better alternatives that can replace traditional soy sauces while maintaining an umami-like flavor but without the problematic substances present within.

Coconut aminos

Coconut aminos, made from the sap of coconut palms, offer a great alternative although they can be more expensive than regular soy sauces.

This condiment is not only suitable for those following a gluten-free diet, but it also boasts a lower sodium content than traditional soy sauce, making it perfect for those following a clean keto diet.

To use it in your recipes, simply replace equal amounts of soy sauce with coconut aminos—no complicated calculations necessary. This air fryer meatball recipe is a perfect demonstration of how easily the two seasonings can substitute for each other.

Fish sauce

Fish sauce can be a good option to replace soy sauce on keto diets as it offers intense flavor and low net carbs.

The trick here, though, is to make sure you choose brands that don’t contain added sugars that could potentially knock you out of ketosis.

A good rule of thumb when grocery shopping? Check labels carefully before purchasing, or better yet, choose reputable brands known for their quality products with no hidden carbs or sugars.

Dried mushrooms as flavor enhancers

dried mushrooms

Eliminate liquid condiments entirely? Consider using dried mushrooms instead. They serve excellently by providing additional benefits including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, all while keeping the desired flavors intact.

If these alternatives seem too exotic or expensive, remember: moderation is key even when dealing with seemingly innocuous ingredients like traditional soy sauces, especially if you aim to maintain strict adherence to macronutrient ratios within your diet. ketogenic diet.

Other Asian sauces

Try oyster sauce or hoisin sauce for a flavorful alternative to soy sauce.

Frequently Asked Questions about Is Soy Sauce Keto?

Is soy sauce keto-friendly?

Yes, traditional soy sauce is low carb and considered keto-friendly, but be careful about the sugar and gluten content.

Why do some people avoid soy on the Keto diet?

Concerns about phytoestrogens and endocrine disruptors in processed soy products may lead some dieters to avoid them.

Can You Use Chinese Soy Sauce on Keto?

Chinese-style light or dark soy sauces can be used in moderation during a ketogenic diet, but be careful of gluten.

Does soy sauce contain sugar or carbohydrates?

Soy sauce contains small amounts of sugar and carbohydrates (up to 1 g of carbohydrates per tablespoon or 15 ml), but they are usually negligible when consumed in moderation.


soy sauce for sushi

Is soy sauce keto-friendly? While it can add flavor to your dishes, it’s important to be aware of its carbohydrate content if you’re following a low-carb keto diet. Luckily, there are alternatives like coconut aminos and fish sauce that offer a similar taste without the carbs.

But that’s not all you need to consider: Traditional soy sauce can contain gluten and phytoestrogens, which in excess can be harmful. To add flavor and nutrition to your meals, try incorporating dried mushrooms instead. And if you’re looking for recipe ideas, we offer some healthy alternatives that will keep you on track with your keto lifestyle.

Written by


Matt Gaedke

Matt is a former college basketball player turned software engineer who discovered his passion for health and nutrition after eliminating sugar from his diet in 2016. That year he founded KetoConnect with Megha to share their ketogenic lifestyle through recipes, videos and educational content. Matt is always looking to grow and try new things, a passion he shares with his wife and two amazing children.

Expert fact-checker

Marina Reluskoska

Marina Reluskoska

Marina is a licensed nutritionist with a passionate specialization in food laws and dedication to creating healthier lives. Beyond her professional path, she finds joy in creating culinary creations, embracing an active lifestyle, and cultivating quality moments with friends. In both food and life, she believes balance is the key to cultivating well-being.

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