Is no sodium soy sauce a thing? If you go to your local supermarket you can usually find low-sodium soy sauces, which are ideal for many consumers. How high in sodium is soy sauce? It can have up to 1000mg of sodium, which is two-thirds of the daily value recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA). So if you have high blood pressure. There are various reasons why people might want no-salt soy sauce. They include high blood pressure, kidney disease, and “beer belly” (ascites). In these cases, even a moderate amount of salt intake might cause side-effects you’ll want to avoid.
It’s ironic but basic sodium only contains a limited number of ingredients. The main ones are soybeans, wheat, salt, and water. All of these ingredients are generally healthy. However, it’s mostly the salt that gives people the idea that soy sauce is “unhealthy.” It is about the salt content. Low-salt varieties tend to have much less salt than regular sauce. However, even if there’s 500mg per serving that’s still your entire sodium limit for the whole day on 1500mg/day diet. Even coconut aminos still have about two-thirds of the salt in regular soy sauce, which isn’t very low.
What’s the Deal with Soy Sauce?
The word “soy” is actually from the Japanese term for the sauce known as “shoyu.” An irony is that the name “soybean” is actually from the sauce that’s produced from the bean. The term “soy” was first coined by Dutch traders who exported products like soy sauce and miso soup.
Documents that contained the exported sauce included the shoyu’s spelling as it sounded to the Dutch. The seasoning’s spelling was later tweaked by English speakers to “soy.”
The history of soy sauce itself is as interesting as its name. The history dates back to 160 AD when it was first produced in China from a similar product known as “Jiang.” Then in the 500s AD, the first recipe for soy sauce was recorded.
Then about a thousand years later Buddhist monks first wrote the Japanese characters for “shoyu.” The monks had learned how to make soy sauce in China. Japan then tweaked the manufacturing process by adding its fermenting process.
Two of the main ingredients in basic soy sauce are fermented. They include soybeans and wheat. Today companies often use methods that speed up the fermenting process. However, the old-school methods are considered better by soy sauce experts.
Today there are various types of soy sauce made. The difference is based on factors like ingredients, methods, and regions. Traditional soy sauce involves using water to soak soybeans, and roasting/crushing wheat.
These two ingredients are added to the mold. After sitting a few days the mixture ferments for 5+ months. This process breaks down the soy/wheat proteins into amino acids. Meanwhile, the starches become simple sugars.
The mixture is then pressed to produce the liquid. After getting pasteurized the sauce is bottled. Soy sauce is one of the most popular liquid seasonings on the market today. However, there’s still the issue of its sodium content.
Does No Sodium Soy Sauce Exist?
This would be ideal for people who have health issues like high blood pressure. While there are low-sodium soy sauces on the market they still tend to be relatively high in salt. This is one of the main ingredients many consumers want to avoid.
In some cases, people look for alternatives to soy sauce based on soybeans and wheat. For example, if someone has a gluten allergy, they might go with options like liquid aminos. These are similar to soy sauce but contain unfermented soybeans and no wheat. The taste also is milder since the soybeans aren’t fermented.
Then there’s something called coconut aminos. This product is like liquid aminos, except it’s made from the flower sap of coconut trees. The sap is fermented but still has a milder flavor versus traditional soy sauce.
There are also other alternatives to soy sauce on the market. However, many of them are quite high in sodium and sometimes even have more salt than soy sauce. So while Fish, Maggi, and Worcestershire sauces are good alternatives they still have salt.
If you’re looking for a no-sodium “soy sauce” you should consider making your own. It’s worth noting that these options aren’t technically soybean sauces. However, they have a similar taste and texture. The best part is there’s absolutely, positively no sodium.
Here are the ingredients needed for something called Umami Sauce:
- Rice vinegar
- Brown sugar
- Garlic powder
It’s a very basic recipe that will take 5 minutes to make instead of 5 months. It can even stay fresh for one month in the fridge.
It’s also worth noting that while there’s no table salt added to the Umami Sauce there’s 16mg of sodium. This is a drop in the bucket compared to some store-bought soy sauces with 1000mg.
Other Soy Sauce Substitutes
As the name suggests this sauce is actually from the coconut tree. However, it’s not made from meat, water, or husk. Coconut aminos are produced from the flower’s sap. It has a milder flavor versus soybean-based sauce. It’s also free of soybeans and wheat if you have food allergies.
This is a strong seasoning that’s made from veggie proteins. It’s good meat flavoring and you just need a couple of drops. This sauce has a different recipe in various European regions with different ingredients/flavors.
This British-based sauce can be a tongue twister to say. It contains a wide variety of ingredients like:
This product offers a similar taste to soy sauce. However, it doesn’t contain any soy and wheat. It also has less salt, which is a plus if you’re watching your sodium intake.
It might sound like a weird one at first. However, the dried mushrooms work well. First, rehydrate the fungi using water. Then simply use the liquid produced as your sauce.
This one is made from fish/krill (small shrimp-like critters) that get salt-fermented for up to a couple of years. The main difference with this product is it’s fish-based instead of bean-based. Another issue is the sodium content tends to be sky-high. So if you’re trying to reduce salt intake this isn’t the best option.
This is a type of Japanese soy sauce but is a good substitute for the regular variety. It still contains soybeans but less sodium. Another benefit of this product is it’s wheat-free. This is a plus if you have a wheat or gluten allergy. In that case, you’ll want to avoid all wheat, barley, rye, etc. when picking a no sodium soy sauce.