Soy is a food product that is extremely rich in nutrients. However, as opposed to an animal digestive system that can break soy to release all the nutrients, humans have to rely on fermentation to be able to get all the nutritional benefits of soy sauce. As a result, you will find that most of the soy products are made through fermentation. One of them is soy sauce; others include Miso and Tempeh. These are rich sources of proteins especially if you are a vegan.
Soy sauce is made through fermentation of soybeans or acid-hydrolysis method. The fermentation method involves mixing soybeans with the chosen grain and then adding yeast to activate the fermentation process. Hydrolysis uses acid bases. The resulting two types of soy sauces are different in flavor, color, texture and aroma. There is none which can be dismissed based on the preparation method, but it is worth mentioning that soy sauce prepared through acid-hydrolysis contains high chemical compounds.
How Soy Sauce is Made:
Soy sauce is made through a fermentation processes and is mostly made with five ingredients. All of them enhance the soy sauce nutrition values and determines the quality of the resulting sauce.
Soybeans: These should be thoroughly rinsed and boiled for at least 4 hours.
Wheat: It should be roasted for about 25 minutes and passed through a mill that breaks the grains into small components. This will ease the penetration of yeast in the grain during the fermentation process. Wheat is a thickening agent although it adds to the overall benefits of soy sauce.
Yeast: After mixing the broken wheat with the boiled soybeans, yeast is added to the cooled mixture. The mixture is then transferred to an incubation room where it stays for about 48 hours. Temperatures should be keenly observed since high temperature can kill the yeast.
Sea salt: The yeast, soybeans, and the wheat mixture are put in a solution of sea salt and spring water. The resulting solution is fermented further for about six weeks while stirring it daily. After this, a further 5-6 month of fermentation with stirring once per week follows.
Water: This helps to make the sea salt solution. Once the full fermentation is over, the solution is passed and sieved through a compressor machine to get the soy sauce. The resulting byproducts are used as animal foods.
Hydrolyzed soy sauce:
This is the type of sauce that is made in the course of two to three days with the aid of chemicals. The defatted soy meal is broken down into amino acids and sugars by the hydrochloric acid. The mixture is then neutralized with sodium carbonate, and flavoring agents added. Salt and water are also used in this process.
Soy sauce calories and other nutrition components:
Soy sauce is low in calories with only 8 calories per tablespoon. Salt is a major antimicrobial agent in soy sauce preparation. As such, it contains very high levels of sodium, and this is its major undoing. Due to this, it is recommended you reduce soy sauce intake to the minimal levels.
100 ml of soy sauce contains the following nutritional figures:
- 60 kcal of energy
- Carbs in soy sauce: Approximately 6g
- 8g of fibers
- 10 grams of proteins
- 6 g of sodium, this is lower than that found in table salt
- 1g of fat
It is also a good source of riboflavin, vitamin B6, magnesium, copper, niacin, iron, phosphorus, manganese, and vitamin B3.
Difference between Tamari and Soy sauce:
Before diving deeper into the soy sauce nutrition discussion, let us point out some differences between tamari and soy sauce. Many people find these two products conflicting, and some even use either as a substitute for the other. However, after this analysis, you will know the real differences, and this will help you make a conclusive decision when it comes to usage of either.
Although both soy sauce and tamari are products from soybean, they have significant differences. This difference is the presence of wheat. In tamari, there is little or no wheat in the solution and this makes it gluten-free. On the other hand, soy sauce contains wheat, and thus it’s not gluten-free. The ratio of wheat to soybeans in regular soy sauce is 1:1 while in tamari it is 9:1 or 10:0.Tamari is less salty and is mostly used for all-purpose cooking, marinating, and dipping.
Advantages of soy sauce:
- Contains niacin, manganese, and proteins that is good for proper body health
- It contains anti oxidant properties and this helps in fighting cardio vascular diseases
- It helps to fight cancer and also causes weight loss
- Cures diarrhea effectively
- The sodium in soy can act as a substitute for table salt
- It reduces cholesterol by fighting the LDL
- It reduces the risk of prostate cancer
Disadvantages of consuming soy sauce:
- Damages the thyroid glands
- Soy sauce is high in sodium, and this can be lethal to people with high blood pressure
- Soy contains high levels of isoflavones which raises the estrogen levels while lowering the testosterone levels. As such a couple that consumes soy will always be in a cross mix.
- Increased risks of breast cancer due to the high presence of isoflavones
- It negatively affects the absorption of minerals as well as inhibits the breakdown of proteins. This is due to the presence of Phytates and trypsin.
- Oxalates in soy sauce can cause kidney stones while phytoestrogen can cause kidney failure.
- There is a strong relationship between the asthmatic condition and high consumption of soy sauce.
10 Major Soy Sauce Nutrition Questions
- Is soy sauce gluten-free? It’s not because it contains wheat. However, pure soybeans are gluten-free. The gluten in the soy sauce is from the additives (wheat).
- Is soy sauce fattening? It isn’t because it contains no fat and is classified as free food. It helps to reduce cholesterol by more than 3%.
- Is soy sauce vegan? Yes, it is a rich source of proteins for those who do not consume meat or animal products. In fact, soy milk is also a substitute for animal milk.
- Does soy sauce go bad? Soy sauce does not easily expire, but just like any other product, it can lose its best quality features by a certain date. For example, unopened soy bottle can stay fresh for three years while an opened soy sauce bottle can retain its freshness for two years if stored in optimal conditions.
- Is soy sauce paleo? The Paleo diet is the cave man’s diet. It’s based on the principle that whatever we consume is what a Paleolithic era person would have consumed. That is healthy animal products, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fruits. Definitely, all these foods should have minimal processing or not processed at all. From the above categorization, there are no legumes from where the soy hails. Due to that, sauce is not paleo nor any other product made from soybeans. Another reason that puts it off the list of paleo diets is its toxicity to the body if consumed in large quantities.
- Can you die from soy sauce? The simple answer is yes. You can die from a soy sauce overdose because it is high in sodium that can inhibit the normal operations of the body and cause stress to the heart and associated blood vessels.
- Can you reduce soy sauce? As we have mentioned before, soy sauce preparation involves adding a quite substantial amount of water to the mixture. Thus, a simpler way to reduce soy sauce and make it thicker is by heating it to remove some water through evaporation.
- Is soy sauce bad for your health? This is a contentious question but based on its pros and cons; consume soy sauce with moderation. Soy sauce is bad for your health when consumed in large quantities. It is mostly unhealthy for people with high blood pressure due to its high levels of sodium. However, it is worth noting that sodium in soy sauce is less than that in table salt. In short, a regulated intake of soy sauce is not bad for your health.
- Is dark soy sauce the same as regular soy sauce? These types of soy sauce are different, and their specific ingredients and flavor mostly depend on the country of origin. Soy sauces are basically of Japanese and Chinese origin. However, there are major differences that stand out between the two irrespective of source.
- Why does soy sauce have different colors? The darker color is derived from sugar or molasses used in the processing or preparing the soy sauce. Darker soy sauce is sweeter since it contains sugar additives. Regular sauce is cheaper than the dark soy sauce. Dark soy sauce if fermented for a longer period. It’s also richer in nutrients and texture.
- How long does soy sauce last? Many think that soy sauce has an infinite life. Contrary to the assumption, use any opened soy sauce bottle within a 6 months. If you aren’t going to use the whole bottle, put it in a refrigerator. To add life to a soy sauce, use a metal container that you can lock airtight and store in a cool place. The goal is to reduce the amount of heat and light to the soy sauce.
Wrap up – Soy Sauce Nutrition
There are two main types of soy sauce, the chemically enhanced one and the naturally fermented one. Majority of the soy sauces in the market today are prepared through the acid-hydrolysis method. Although the FDA approves the two processes, stick to soy sauces that have been prepared through the natural fermentation. It is advisable to consume fermented versions of soybeans to prevent other undesirable features associated with prolonged consumption of soy sauce.
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