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Soy sauce: It’s an easy way to add flavor to any simple dish (even cauliflower rice – because plain rice is not keto!). Is soy sauce keto, though? Let’s take a deep dive into soy sauce on keto, including carbs in soy sauce, keto friendly soy sauce options, and more.
Need a quick reference for more keto foods? This gigantic keto food list is a great place to start.
Is Soy Sauce Keto Friendly?
Can you have soy sauce on keto? The answer is murky. Soy sauce is technically keto friendly because it contains low net carbs, but it is not the cleanest ingredient to stock in your low carb pantry.
Why? There are several reasons that soy may be bad for you:
- Soy in its natural form contains phytoestrogens, compounds that act like estrogen in the body [*]. Some research suggests that excessive soy consumption may lead to hormone imbalances for both men and women. However, the full effects are hard to discern because much of the research on soy is funded by large food companies [*, *].
- Soy is subject to heavy genetic modification – over 94% of soy in the United states was GMO in 2018 – and soy sauce can contain traces of pesticide residues [*, *]. If you prefer to eat organic or want to avoid GMOs in your keto diet, soy sauce is not an optimal choice.
- Soy sauce often contains by-products of wheat and gluten, neither of which qualify as “clean keto” options.
- Soy contains high levels of phytic acid, which inhibits mineral absorption [*].
If anything, you can have soy sauce on keto if you adhere to a “dirty” low carb diet. (See the full differences between clean and dirty keto with these easy-reference keto cheat sheets.)
How Many Carbs In Soy Sauce?
Does soy sauce have carbs? It does, but only a small amount.
A 1-tablespoon serving of conventional soy sauce contains 0.7 grams of net carbs. You don’t need to look for a special low carb soy sauce, because it’s already naturally low in carbs.
How Many Carbs In Low Sodium Soy Sauce?
In a tablespoon of reduced sodium soy sauce, you can find 0.8 grams of net carbs [*]. If you can only find this variety, it shouldn’t impact your macros too much.
How Many Carbs In A Soy Sauce Packet?
A soy sauce packet contains roughly half a tablespoon of soy sauce. An entire packet will set you back 0.4 grams of net carbs [*].
Keto Friendly Soy Sauce Substitutes
If you want a clean keto soy sauce alternative, you do have a few choices:
- Coconut aminos – This is the closest low carb soy sauce you can use. Since it comes from fermented coconut sap, it will contain a small amount of natural sugar — so if you track carbs closely, use in moderation. Be careful with brands of coconut aminos, because some have more sugar than others. I recommend this one, which has 1g carb per serving.
- Fish sauce – Quality brands of fish sauce contain only anchovies and salt, but still add umami flavor to dishes. Unfortunately, many brands have added sugar, so check labels. I recommend this one for a great-tasting no-sugar option.
- Dried mushrooms – These have a much different texture than soy sauce, but add rich flavor if you need a substitute. Try whole dried mushrooms or mushroom powder, depending on the dish.
10 Keto Recipes With Soy Sauce Alternatives:
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Top 10 Keto Recipes With Soy Sauce (Alternatives)
Many of these keto soy sauce recipes use coconut aminos, but you can substitute the same amount of regular soy sauce if you prefer.
Keto Chicken Stir Fry
A 15-minute dinner packed with Asian flavors… all in one pan!
Keto Ground Beef Stroganoff
Use a few simple ingredients (including soy sauce or coconut aminos) and just 30 minutes to get this savory dinner on the table.
Easy Keto Egg Drop Soup
This soothing, slurpable dish makes a beautiful side or appetizer.
Spicy Thai Beef Salad Recipe
An all-in-one marinade and dressing make this salad so flavorful!
Keto Crack Slaw
This is a dish everyone needs to try: A mix of hearty veggies, meat, and simple seasonings like soy sauce (or coconut aminos) transform into the perfect 15-minute dinner.
Spicy Keto Thai Shrimp Lettuce Wraps
A super fresh and fast meal! Tender shrimp nestle in lettuce cups with an addictive peanut sauce.
Simple Oriental Asian Cabbage Salad
Get your crunch on with this salad! It’s a mouthwatering blend of fresh veggies with a savory dressing — perfect for pairing with other Asian-inspired dishes.
Balsamic Steak Marinade
5 minutes of prep delivers a punch of flavor with this easy recipe, thanks to soy sauce (or coconut aminos), balsamic vinegar, and seasonings.
Keto Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai
Noodle addicts, this one is for you: This dish tastes just like the original, but seriously cuts down on carbs.
Paleo Keto Baked Chipotle Turkey Burgers
Chipotle turkey burgers are anything but boring! If you’re used to traditional beef, try these turkey burgers that use aminos to lock in moisture and add flavor. The buns pictured are in my Easy Keto Cookbook.
Conclusion: Can You Have Soy Sauce On Keto?
So, is soy sauce keto? Depending on your approach to keto, you can definitely incorporate soy sauce into a low carb diet!
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