Soy sauce is primarily salty with umami flavors. Because of this, people who are watching their sugar intake may think that it’s alright to have some.
But does soy sauce actually have sugar in it? I put all the facts together to help you out. Here’s what I found!
Does Soy Sauce Have Sugar In It?
Most soy sauces do contain sugar but in very minimal amounts because soy sauce is supposed to taste salty with umami flavors. The sugar that is present in soy sauce is typically carbs from wheat. However, certain types of soy sauce like sweet soy sauce will have added sugar in it.
If you’re still wondering about soy sauce and its sugar content, keep reading to learn more!
Why Do Some Soy Sauces Have Sugar In It?
Some soy sauces may contain added sugar to give them a slightly sweeter flavor profile. This is particularly common in sweet soy sauces.
However, there is sugar that is not from added table sugar can still be present in soy sauce. It will likely come from other ingredients such as wheat.
Sugar that’s present in soy sauce is mostly carbohydrates from wheat. Wheat is in many traditional soy sauces and eventually converts into sugar once consumed.
Keep in mind that the sugar in most soy sauces is very low, typically around 0.01 grams of sugar per tablespoon of soy sauce. But there is a larger amount in sweeter variants of soy sauce.
Why Is Wheat Considered a Sugar?
Wheat is a grain and the body converts grains into sugar once consumed. That sugar gives our bodies energy.
The wheat in sugar is not the same as table sugar that you would taste in candy. It can raise your blood sugar levels, but it will not have the same impact as table sugar.
Moreover, the sugars present in wheat will not taste the same as table sugar, which is why most soy sauces will still taste very salty unless they have added sugar.
Does Soy Sauce Need to Have Sugar In It?
Most soy sauces do not have added sugar in them because they are typically used for their salty and umami flavors. Any sugar that is present in soy sauce is often naturally occurring sugar from wheat.
However, some manufacturers do add sugar to their soy sauces. This is especially true for variants like sweet soy sauce.
Does Sweet Soy Sauce Have Sugar In It?
Sweet soy sauce has sugar in it and it is typically added sugar to achieve a sweeter flavor profile.
Manufacturers have to add sugar to create sweet soy sauce because traditional soy sauce is very salty.
How much sugar a bottle of sweet soy sauce contains may vary by brand, but you can expect up to 15 grams of carbohydrates per tablespoon of sweet soy sauce.
Does Dark Soy Sauce Have Sugar In It?
Dark soy sauce does have sugar in it but the amount is little to none because it usually only has 0.01 grams per tablespoon. Dark soy sauce does not need added sugar because it is supposed to be salty and umami in flavor.
Does Light Soy Sauce Have Sugar In It?
Light soy sauce has some sugar in it, around 1 gram per tablespoon. However, many brands may have less sugar than that because manufacturers try to keep their soy sauces low in carbohydrates.
Does Low Sodium Soy Sauce Have Sugar In It?
Low sodium soy sauce typically has little to no sugar in it.
Similar to light soy sauce, low sodium soy sauce usually does not have sugar in it because manufacturers try to have fewer carbs in their products.
Does Gluten-Free Soy Sauce Have Sugar In It?
Gluten-free soy sauce has very little sugar in it because it does not have the main source of sugar which is wheat.
However, gluten-free soy sauce may have added sugar in it depending on the brand. But when present, it is usually a small amount.
Does Kikkoman Soy Sauce Have Sugar In It?
Traditional Kikkoman soy sauce does not contain any added sugar in it but there may be a little sugar present because it contains wheat. On the other hand, gluten-free Kikkoman soy sauce does contain added sugar.
What Soy Sauce Does Not Have Sugar In It?
Many soy sauce brands will have little to no sugar in them because sugar is not necessary to make soy sauce. Added sugar is usually only present in sweet soy sauce.
If you’re looking for sugar-free alternatives to soy sauce, you may opt for one of the following:
1. Liquid Aminos
Liquid aminos are a good substitute for soy sauce and contain 0 grams of sugar, making them a good choice for a sugar-free soy sauce.
Moreover, liquid aminos taste very similar to soy sauce because they offer a savory and salty flavor with a touch of sweetness. However, they are much milder than traditional soy sauce in taste.
2. Fish Sauce
Fish sauce offers the same saltiness that most people look for in soy sauce and it only has about 1 gram of carbs per tablespoon.
However, fish sauce cannot completely replace soy sauce in flavor because it lacks the same umami that soy sauce has.
3. Maggi Seasoning Sauce
Maggi Seasoning Sauce tastes like light soy sauce and it only has about 1 gram of sugar for each tablespoon.
However, Maggi Seasoning Sauce has a slightly more distinct flavor than soy sauce because it also has sweet, sharp, and fatty flavors.
If you want to learn more about soy sauce, you can see our related posts on whether soy sauce has salt in it, why soy sauce is so salty, and why soy sauce is black.
Most traditional soy sauces do not contain a lot of sugar because it is not a necessary ingredient. Soy sauce is typically used for its salty and umami flavors and therefore doesn’t need to be sweetened.
However, certain variants of soy sauce like sweet soy sauce will contain added sugar to add a sweeter flavor profile to the condiment.
Additionally, soy sauces may contain very little natural sugar from wheat.