The Savory Solution: Using Soy Sauce as a Healthier Salt Substitute

Without salt, your favorite foods such as french fries, potato chips, and chocolate chip cookies would all taste bland. And that’s because salt has lots of effects on flavor perception than just making things more salty. 

Our brains are hardwired to crave salt because we need it to survive. Salt – usually sodium in the form of sodium chloride is an essential nutrient, and our body uses it for everything from regulating fluids, blood pressure and to creating nerve impulses. But, our body can’t make sodium by itself, so we have to get at least some of it from our diet.

But, if we use too much salt in our food it isn't good for our health. Eating lots of sodium is linked to high blood pressure, which in turn is a risk factor for heart disease. Replacing salt with a salt substitute will reduce the amount of sodium you add but won’t change your fondness for a salty taste.

According to, the apparent consumption of salt in the United States amounted to an estimated 59 million metric tons in 2022. The reported salt consumption stood at around 49 million metric tons, a slight decrease compared to the previous year. Nevertheless, there are still many people who consume salt in their food. 

Now, there are many commodities that can replace the salty taste from the salt. Soy sauce is one of the commodities that has a similar taste from salt. That sauce is not a new thing to many people because if you eat sushi in a restaurant, there’s also soy sauce. With salt, sweet, umami (savory) and even a little bitter flavor is good. So, it is reasonable if many people like to consume soy sauce. 

The study by Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research explains that the salt content was gradually replaced by soy sauce to establish what effect the substitution had on perceived flavour. The study revealed that the use of naturally brewed soy sauce reduces the salt content of various dishes, and also enhances the flavour. 

Soy sauce has been used in Chinese cooking for roughly 1,000 years and is now popular in diverse cuisines for its deep, umami-rich flavour. Although soy is often associated with veganism and healthy lifestyles, this fermented bean product has developed a bit of a bad reputation. A slew of controversial studies link soy products to serious health issues such as female fertility impairment

There are 3 benefits of soy sauce for health. 

1. May Promote Digestion
Soy sauce may promote digestion. The microorganisms used in the fermentation of soy sauce have probiotic properties that help improve digestion. A review published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry suggests that the polyphenols in soy sauce also help in the digestion of food. Another study conducted on Japanese soy sauce (Shoyu) examining its functional properties found that intake of one cup of clear soup containing soy sauce can enhance gastric juice secretion and promote digestion.

2. May Lower LDL Cholesterol
A review published in Nutrients suggests that the bioactive peptides in soy (produced by its fermentation process) can lower LDL cholesterol levels. However, more research is warranted to understand this benefit of soy sauce in humans.

3. May Reduce Blood Pressure
Soy sauce may reduce blood pressure

A 13-week study on rats orally administered with 200 mg/kg body weight/day of newly fermented salt-free soy sauce saw lowered blood pressure levels. As per another study, Ganjang, a traditional Korean soy sauce, is said to possess anti-hypertensive properties

So, if you want to consume soy sauce, you can use these ingredients: brown sugar, water, soy sauce powder, caramel; color cdl014, soy sauce fla, benzoate