How healthy is soy sauce? It seems like a healthy food since it’s made of fermented soybeans. However, it’s still processed food. In most cases, people blast the sauce for being high in sodium. However, you can simply go with a low-sodium option to avoid high-salt content. There are other possible health issues like soy sauce fat. The key is to get to the nitty-gritty of the sauce and whether or not it’s generally healthy. The best way to do that is to take a closer look at the nutrition facts. Raw soybeans are super-healthy but processed ones might be a different story.
Soybeans are considered to be a superfood for various reasons. They’re high in protein, aminos, and vitamins/minerals. In fact, they’re a “complete protein” since they have all the essential amino acids we have to get from foods.
Soybeans are an excellent protein source for vegetarians/vegans since it’s plant-based food. Soy sauce is a fermented version of the bean and is generally considered to be healthy. The main issue about the sauce is usually about the sodium content. High amounts of salt could increase blood pressure.
What are the Main Ingredients of Soy Sauce?
This is the most important ingredient in the sauce. Soy/soya beans are known by other names like soy peas or Chinese peas. Another nickname for the bean is “king of legumes.” This is based on the food being high-nutrient.
Soybeans are low-starch, which is an issue if you’re on a low-carb diet. They’re also high in protein and amino acids. in fact, soybeans have all 9 aminos so they’re a “complete protein.”
The superfood also includes many vitamins/minerals including Vitamin Bs, magnesium, calcium, and others. These features add nutritional value to the super bean.
Traditional soy sauce recipes often include wheat that’s produced with mashed grains. Usually, it’s brewed sauces that contain gluten grain while non-brewed types don’t include the ingredient.
This is the ingredient that often gets a thumbs down for nutritional value. The amount of sodium can vary although it’s usually from 12% to 18% of the final product’s weight. Salt is added to the product for various reasons including providing the right chemical balance for yeast and bacteria to ferment correctly.
There are various fermenting molds that are added to the wheat/soy blend in order to break down this mash’s proteins. Adding certain bacteria helps to ferment it more. The process provides various benefits including the finished product having a better flavor.
Here’s another common ingredient in soy sauce. It’s helpful if these ingredients are natural so you can avoid possible health issues.
The bottom line is the basic ingredients of soy sauce can be healthy. It’s a matter of checking the ingredient label to find out which ingredients/additives are added to the product. Some key ingredients to watch out for are additives like salt and artificial colors/flavors/preservatives. These can make the sauce less healthy and thus cause health issues.
Is Soy Sauce Fat Unhealthy?
Here’s a breakdown of soy sauce’s nutrition facts (1 TBSP)
There’s actually 0g of fat in soy sauce. So, you won’t have to worry about high-fat content. On the other hand, it’s also worth noting it also means there’s no healthy fat like the unsaturated type. So, you’ll have to get it from other sources. If you’re on a low-carb diet it’s important to get high amounts of good fat.
There are just 8 calories in this amount of the sauce. It’s quite low on a 2000-calorie diet, for example. As always, it’s important to watch calories even if you’re not on a diet that requires calorie-counting. It helps to make sure you can lose weight by consuming fewer calories than your original weight.
This is a big issue for people on a low-carb diet like Keto or Atkins. It won’t be a problem with soy sauce since you just get 1g of carbohydrates. On the other hand, you should watch your portion sizes. If you add too much sauce it can cause your carbs to add up. Keep in mind that this food is a condiment so it’s not the main dish during meals.
This sauce only provides 1g of protein. The original soybean has much more protein at 8g. However, the 1g figure isn’t bad considering it’s a sauce instead of whole food. You can still get good protein from sources like meat, eggs, dairy, quinoa, and soybeans.
This figure can be up to about 20% of the sauce. It’s a good idea to go with low-sodium versions to help prevent health issues like high blood pressure.
There should be enough salt to add some flavor to the food but not cause health issues that result from higher blood pressure. If you pick a less/reduced salt version you’ll be less likely to experience such health problems.
Best Alternatives for Soy Sauce
You have different options when picking an alternative for soy sauce. A good one is soy-based amino acids like Braggs. This is similar to soy sauce but there are some big differences.
One of the main ones is these aminos are made from non-fermented soybeans. If you’re looking for a food that’s closer to natural soybeans then this is a good option. The fermenting process is a major one for soy sauce.
Another option you have is coconut aminos. This is another type of amino acid that’s produced from sap found in the coconut tree’s flowers. This is a good option because it has a similar taste and texture as the original sauce.
Meanwhile, this is a good option or people who can’t eat beans based on their diet, conditions, etc. This food is much newer than soy aminos that have been on the market for several decades.
Another alternative is Worcestershire sauce. This is named for the English city it was invented between 1800 to 1850. Two chemists developed this product and it’s become a popular option along with A1 for meat sauce/marinade. It includes these ingredients:
- Barley malt vinegar
- Spirit vinegar
- Tamarind extract
The taste of this sauce is quite close to the soy-based one.
Another good option for a substitute is Maggi seasoning. Europeans have used this sauce for 100+ years. It’s used for adding flavor to many dishes. When picking this ingredient, you can find different versions that feature a recipe for different local cuisine.
This product includes wheat and soy. The amount of soy is smaller than in soy sauce yet this product offers a unique flavor that’s worth trying as a substitute for soy sauce. Who knows? This might become your next go-to sauce after learning soy sauce fat.