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Are Soy Sauce & Tamari Low FODMAP?

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Soy Sauce & Tamari Are Low FODMAP

Is there a difference between soy sauces? Perhaps you have never thought very much about soy sauce and thought they were all the same. To answer the question above, if a soy sauce isn’t naturally brewed it is chemically produced and those kinds are truly inferior in flavor and even texture.

Texture? Yes! Not all liquids have the same body. Want to know more? Read on.

First of all, soy sauce has been lab tested by Monash University and low FODMAP serving sizes are generous 2 Australian tablespoon (42 g) amounts. FODMAP Friendly has lab tested soy sauce as well and they set a low FODMAP serving at 1.48 ounces or 42 g. Their app helpfully points out that a maximum serving size is 1000 ounces or 1000 g. Yes, you read that right! You might want to read What Is A Low FODMAP Serving Size? for more information on how serving sizes are set.

Even the tablespoon amounts are plenty to season our food.

By the way, FODMAP Friendly has lab tested and certified a range of soy products from San J, our favorite brand. From various soy sauces to cooking sauces like gluten-free hoisin sauce, to teriyaki, Thai peanut sauce, Szechuan sauce and more. Be sure to look them up in the FODMAP Friendly app.

Side by side comparison between a naturally made soy sauce and one with added ingredients.
Side by side comparison between a naturally made soy sauce and one with added ingredients.

Natural vs. Chemical Production

Naturally brewed soy sauce is made from soy, sometimes wheat, water, salt and sometimes alcohol. The mixture is fermented, oftentimes for months, with some premium sauces fermented for years.

The flavor of naturally brewed soy sauce is complex and filled with complexity and umami.

Chemically produced soy sauce is made from hydrolyzed soy protein and filled with coloring and corn syrup and made in mere days. These often just taste overly salty, lacking the intricacy and nuances of naturally brewed.

We only recommend naturally brewed, and that is what we are going to discuss here.

 Comparison of labels between natural and added ingredient soy sauce.

You Say Soy Sauce…I Say Shoyu

First of all, let’s talk terminology. In the U.S. the term soy sauce is commonly used. You might come across the term “shoyu” or “tamari” and be confused.

    • Shoyu, a Japanese term, is another name for soy sauce
    • Tamari is Japanese soy sauce brewed without wheat, and is usually gluten-free, but check labels.
    • Low-sodium: both soy sauce and tamari are often available as low-sodium as well.

Different Styles Of Soy Sauce

Beyond that, there are Chinese styles and Japanese styles and within those categories, there are thin and thicker types and dark and light. Thinner tends to be lighter in color and is made from a shorter fermentation, yet they can be bolder in flavor than dark!

None is better than another – they just have different flavors and uses. A broad generalization is that Chinese styles tend to be saltier although thick Chinese soy sauce is sweet and sometimes contains sweeteners.

Monash University has also lab tested Sweet Soy Sauce, or Ketjap Manis. It is low FODMAP in 1 Australian tablespoon or 20 g amounts.

Many bottles on American shelves do not specify what they are; Japanese thick style is the most common, though.

The Takeaway

Read labels and avoid any soy sauce that lists unwanted chemicals or coloring. Store your new or opened bottles in a cool, dark cupboard. The soy sauce should last at least a year and probably more. No need to refrigerate, although it doesn’t hurt.

We use ours so quickly that we just keep it in the Test Kitchen pantry. Our go-to is San-J Organic Reduced Sodium Tamari. It is certified low FODMAP by FODMAP Friendly.

Related Articles: Soy and the Low FODMAP Diet and Soy Products: Low FODMAP or Not?

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