Understanding Why Low Sodium Soy Sauce Is Important : Heart Health on the Line

why low sodium soy sauce

Why low sodium soy sauce?

According to nutritionist Sarah, “Using low sodium soy sauce supports heart health by reducing sodium intake from this tasty yet salty condiment.” 

I’m letting you in on a little kitchen secret about low sodium soy sauce. Now hold up, I know what you may be thinking – just buy it and you’re good, right? 

Nope! There are some stealthy cooking adjustments, startling flavor changes and a word of caution you should know first before pouring this into stir fries or dipping sauces. 

Let’s peel back the truth…

Key Takeaways

Low sodium soy sauce is used as a healthier alternative to regular soy sauce because it is lower in sodium which is important for heart health and reducing blood pressure. Using low sodium soy sauce is a way to enjoy soy sauce while limiting sodium intake.


Soy sauce is a popular condiment used in Asian cooking to add flavor to foods like rice, noodle dishes, MEATS, and VEGETABLES (1). 

While it adds delicious flavor, REGULAR soy sauce is also HIGH IN SODIUM which can be unhealthy if you consume too much. 

Thankfully, there are LOW SODIUM OPTIONS that let you enjoy the taste without overdoing the SALT.


Consuming too much dietary sodium is linked to HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE, also called HYPERTENSION. 

This puts extra strain on your heart and increases risk of heart disease and stroke. The AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION recommends limiting SODIUM to less than 2300mg (about 1tsp of table salt) per day. Unfortunately, the average American takes in OVER 3400mg daily. 

With just one Tbsp of REGULAR soy sauce containing over 1000mg sodium, it’s easy to go over your daily limit if you use it heavily in cooking STIR FRIES or other ASIAN dishes.

Choosing a LOW SODIUM variety can help you reduce sodium intake without sacrificing flavor.


LOW SODIUM soy sauces contain about HALF the sodium or LESS of REGULAR soy sauce. They are made through a fermentation process similar to traditional varieties, but with less SALT added.

Soy Sauce TypeSodium Content (mg)/2TBSP serving
Regular1000mg or more
Reduced SodiumAround 700mg
Low Sodium200-550mg

Always check nutrition facts to compare sodium levels between brands. Many low-sodium varieties are DARK SOY SAUCES made similarly to TAMARI soy sauce without wheat.

Credit : The Sodium Attacker


TypeDescriptionSodium Content (mg)/2TBSPFlavor Profile
Tamari Soy SauceMade without wheat, usually gluten-free. Darker, richer flavor.About 500mgDeeper, richer umami taste from longer fermentation
San-J or Low SodiumClearer color. More mellow/light taste than tamari.Approx. 250mgLighter flavor good for GENERAL USE
SesamesoyCombination of soy and sesame seeds. Nutty SESAME flavor.About 550mgAdding depth of SESAME OIL

How it is Made

The Fermentation Process

Traditional chinese soy sauce is produced through a natural fermentation process. This starts with soaked and cooked soybeans, an integral ingredient in asian cuisines, being mixed with roasted wheat or barley along with salt. 

The ingredients are then aged in ceramic or wooden containers for 6 months to a few years as beneficial bacteria and molds break down proteins and carbs to develop that rich umami flavor synonymous with soy sauce.

Controlling the Salt

To reduce sodium levels and help those watching their salt intake, manufacturers lower the amount of salt added before fermentation. 

Less salt means slower fermentation, so additional steps are taken. Some bruise or crack soybeans to speed enzymatic reactions. 

Others supplement with cultures containing Aspergillus oryzae mold that rapidly break down ingredients despite lower salt levels.

Shortened Aging

Since sauces tend to have high levels of sodium as a preservative, With less salt as a preservative, aging periods for low-sodium varieties are shortened from years to just 3-6 months. 

Brewers closely monitor fermentations, stopping before full breakdown if flavor and salt content meet targets for lower sodium levels. Unfermented residue is removed through filtering to further lower sodium.

Blending and Finishing

The fermented base is then blended proportionally with naturally fermented soy sauce from manufacturers like Lee Kum Kee. 

This cuts overall salt levels while retaining the umami rich flavors synonomous with asian cooking. 

For smoothness, some undergo a second vacuum-condensed evaporation. The resulting reduced sodium soy sauce retains over 30% less sodium than regular varieties.

In summary, modern low sodium soy sauce production focuses on controlling fermentation conditions like salt levels, aging duration, and blending techniques. 

This allows brands like Lee Kum Kee to offer reduced sodium options that support those on a sodium restricted diet, while maintaining traditional flavor profiles loved around the world.

Using Low Sodium Soy Sauce

Stir Fries

One of the best ways to utilize low sodium soy sauce is in homemade stir fry. These quick-cooked asian dishes typically call for a splash of soy sauce to infuse meat and vegetables with savory flavor. 

Regular soy sauce can pack over 20% of your daily sodium in just one tablespoon. Opting for a reduced sodium variety is an easy swap to cut back on salt intake while still enjoying RICH FLAVOR, soy-infused taste.

Simply Substitute

When a recipe calls for soy sauce, all you need to do is substitute with a lower sodium alternative measure-for-measure. 

Popular brands like KIKKOMAN and LIGHT SOY offer “lite” soy sauces containing 30-50% less sodium versus regular. 

Their smooth flavors fully satisfy without compromising taste. With a little practice, your palate will adapt to appreciate the subtle nuances rather than just saltiness.

Marinades Made Better

Shaved calories and sodium don’t mean sacrificing moisture or juiciness when cooking meat. Low sodium soy sauce makes for an outstanding marinade base. 

Use it to impart savory savor into chicken, beef or salmon before grilling or baking. Just a 15-minute soak infuses loads of umami while keeping meat tender and juicy.

why low sodium soy sauce

Sauces to Savor

You can also use reduced sodium soy sauce in homemade dipping sauces and dressings. It adds that signature soy essence that makes veggies and rolls so craveable. 

Experiment mixing it half and half with broth as a base for creamy peanut sauces or tangy sesame ginger dressings. Every drop is packed with flavor despite less salt content.

Low sodium soy sauce opens up possibilities in the kitchen while supporting better health. With simple swaps and mixes, it allows enjoying Asian cuisine’s signature savors through stir fries, proteins and more.

Why Low Sodium Soy Sauce? Health Benefits

Lower Blood Pressure and Reduced Risk of Heart Disease Through salt reduction

We all know that consuming too much salt soy can be bad for our health. Eating a high sodium diet with over 2,300 mg of sodium per day is linked to high blood pressure which can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. 

The average American eats about 3,400 mg of sodium daily! (2) Switching to light soy sauce is an easy way to implement salt reduction and support a healthier heart. It allows enjoying Asian flavors while consuming 30-50% less sodium. 

Most reduced salt soy sauces contain around 100-350 mg of sodium per tbsp compared to regular’s 690 mg! Opting for low sodium varieties is the best way to cut back on daily sodium intake.

Feel Fuller and Easily Lose Weight on a Diet with Less Sodium

Consuming a high sodium diet makes you retain water and feel bloated, ruining your goals to lose pounds and inches. 

A low sodium diet with reduced soy sauce prevents unnecessary water retention so you feel fuller for longer from meals. 

This supports weight management in a healthy sustainable way when combined with proper calorie control and exercise. 

Light soy sauce is also lower in calories than regular, roughly having 10 calories per tsp compared to regular’s 15. 

Making small dietary swaps like substituting with low sodium soy sauce can facilitate reaching weight loss objectives through calorie and salt reduction.

Better Manage Conditions Like Diabetes with Less Sodium Intake

Eating less salt is important for managing blood sugar levels and preventing further health issues for those with diabetes or prediabetes (3). 

Just a small salt reduction of 1,000 mg daily lowered the risk of heart disease for diabetics in large trials. 

As part of a balanced low glycemic lifestyle, low sodium soy sauce supports steady energy levels and better hormone regulation. It enhances Asian meals deliciously while maintaining blood glucose in a healthy range to minimize complications down the road.

Improve Mood and Cognitive Function Through a Low Salt Diet

Some research links a high sodium diet with an increased risk of depression. Meanwhile, studies show salt intake reduction lowers stress and boosts optimism, mood, memory and focus. 

Using light soy sauce instead of regular delivers savory umami flavor without all the issues from excess sodium. 

Making dressings and sauces with salad dressing and low sodium soy sauce supports mental well-being. With small changes, our brain and body feel their best.

Low sodium soy sauce is an easy kitchen swap that supports better long-term health in many ways – from balanced blood pressure to better weight management, diabetes care and protection of heart, brain and mood. 

Its use facilitates a salt reduction to meet a low sodium diet guideline of less than 2,300 mg daily. With simple substitution in recipes, Asian flavors remain tasty without compromising wellness.


  • Soy sauce originated in China and is a key ingredient in EAST ASIAN CUISINES like Chinese, Japanese and Korean cooking.
  • It’s made by fermenting SOYBEANS, WHEAT, SALT and KOJI MOLD, which contributes umami flavor. The longer it ferments, the richer the taste.
  • Chinese/Korean soy sauces tend to be saltier than Japanese varieties which are often used for DIPPING rather than COOKING.
  • Japan is the world’s largest producer of soy sauce annually. It enjoys more popularity than KETCHUP in that country!


What types of soy sauce exist?

Main types include japanese soy sauce, chinese soy sauces, dark soy and light varieties. japanese is naturally brewed with koji mold. Chinese may use more wheat and acid hydrolysis.

How’s low sodium soy taste?

Taste of low sodium options like kikkoman less sodium soy sauce is very similar to regular, just with 40% less sodium (150mg) per 15mL serving. Slightly lighter flavor but full savory notes.

Which grocery stores offer options?

Most major grocery chains (united states) stock low sodium varieties from brands like Kikkoman and La Choy. Kikkoman Shoyu and Lite Soy Sauces are top options providing japanese tastes at 150mg or 90mg sodium per serving.


In conclusion, low sodium soy sauce is an important condiment for those watching their salt intake. 

By making simple substitutions and swaps with low sodium options, folks can continue enjoying all the rich Asian flavors they love while supporting better heart health and wellness. 

Whether using it for stir fries, marinades or homemade sauces, low sodium soy sauce maximizes taste with way less sodium.

Many major grocery stores make it easy to find trusted brands like Kikkoman and La Choy on the shelves. 

By sticking to recommended portions and using reduced sodium varieties, even kids like me can appreciate delicious Asian recipes. 

Overall, cooking with low sodium soy is a fun way we can each do our part to stay happy and healthy for many years to come!

Try out some low sodium soy sauce recipes today – I’d love to hear how they turn out for you! Leave a comment below with your feedback.


  1. https://cookindocs.com/is-soy-sauce-cooked/
  2. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/sodium/how-much-sodium-should-i-eat-per-day
  3. https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/enjoy-food/eating-with-diabetes/10-ways-to-eat-well-with-diabetes

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