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Liquid Aminos vs Soy Sauce: Benefits and Nutrition on Keto

By Liam McAuliffe Updated on

Liquid aminos are a newly popular type of seasoning that look and taste similar to soy sauce. Amino companies claim their product is superior. But does it actually come out on top when we compare liquid aminos vs. soy sauce? In this article, we’ll answer this question by looking at liquid aminos benefits, nutrition, and their role on a keto diet. 

What’s the Difference Between Liquid Aminos and Soy Sauce?

While liquid aminos and soy sauce can both be made from soybeans, they’re far from the same thing. Soy sauce is a fermented product that contains both soy and wheat, while liquid aminos aren’t fermented and don’t contain any gluten

Some liquid aminos are made of coconut, which makes them soy-free in addition to gluten-free. 

Despite these differences, liquid aminos and soy sauce look and taste similar. However, liquid aminos are milder and a little sweeter. 

Another difference is the price. A 16-ounce bottle of Bragg’s liquid aminos costs about five dollars, while a 15-ounce bottle of Kikkoman soy sauce goes for half that. 

What are Liquid Aminos? 

What are liquid aminos? Precisely what the name implies: amino acids derived from soybeans or coconut, in a liquid form. 

For those unfamiliar, amino acids (AA’s) are the building blocks that make up complete proteins. Meat and other animal products tend to be the best sources of all nine essential amino acids. Most vegetable proteins, on the other hand, lack one or more essential aminos’.

For people on vegetarian, vegan, or pescetarian diets, the extra AA’s from liquid aminos may help round out the picture and ensure adequate protein synthesis. Bragg’s brand of liquid aminos contains 16 amino acids in total — including all the essential ones.

As an added plus, many people find liquid aminos delicious. It’s tastes like soysauce, just slightly milder and higher in that complex savory flavor we call umami. [1

You can use liquid aminos anywhere you’d use normal soy sauce — and maybe even some extra areas.  It can go on steaks, rice, or drizzled over ghee-fried low-carb veggies

What is Soy Sauce? 

Soy sauce is a product that’s made from crushing and fermenting soybeans. Wheat also goes into the soy sauce production process. The end result is a tasty, very salty, and very high-gluten product. 

Some evidence suggests that traditionally-made soy sauce is much healthier than modern-day soy products. Nonetheless, soy sauce continues to be a central ingredient in Asian and Asian-American cuisine. [2

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Liquid Aminos: Are they keto-Friendly?

Liquid aminos vs soy sauce is also a question for many people on keto. 

Liquid aminos are a superior keto sauce. They contain no carbs, so in theory, you could drink the stuff and still stay in ketosis. Liquid aminos also contain no fat. In fact, amino’s don’t contain any of the three major macronutrients. All they contain is purified amino acids. 

In other words, liquid aminos are as keto-friendly as can be. They might actually complement a vegan/vegetarian/pescetarian keto diet perfectly. 

Liquid Aminos vs. Soy Sauce Nutrition

  • Difference #1: soy sauce is more estrogenic
  • Difference #2: soy sauce contains more micronutrients
  • Difference #3: amino’s are higher in salt

Soy Sauce is More Estrogenic

The soy and gluten in soy sauce make it loaded with phytohormones and therefore highly estrogenic. 

Some experts theorize that soy sauce consumption can raise one’s estrogen levels by multiples of up to a hundred.

 That’s not good for men — or women. Such high amounts of estrogen lead to poor muscle tone, water retention, and non-differentiation of cellular function in general. [3][4

And because a healthy hormone balance is crucial to fertility, soy sauce is definitely not part of a fertility diet

Soy sauce Contains more Micronutrients

On the plus side, soy sauce’s unfiltered production process means it’s higher in micronutrients than liquid aminos. 

Soy sauce is a decent source of vitamin A, vitamin D, B12, and calcium. Traditionally made soy sauce may also contain vitamin K2, the “x factor” that Weston A. Price cited as a key to the superior health of traditional peoples

Liquid Amino’s are Higher in Salt

Liquid aminos contain slightly more salt than soy sauce, clocking in at 320 milligrams of sodium per 1 teaspoon serving. 

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, however. Salt may be one of those conditionally harmful substances that’s taken the blame when more serious dangers — such as high fructose corn syrup — were under the radar. 

A body of both old and new research shows that salt doesn’t cause high cholesterol or heart disease. On the contrary, salt is essential to a number of important physiological processes within the body. [5

Eating more salt when transitioning to keto can help reduce many of the keto side effects known as “keto flu”. 

Liquid Aminos Benefits

In addition to the above differences, liquid aminos have several health benefits that soy sauce is unable to match:

  • Benefit 1: muscle building
  • Benefit 2: freedom from gluten
  • Benefit 3: freedom from additives
  • Benefit 4: from taste, less hunger 

Muscle Building

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and proteins are the building blocks of your muscles. 

Put two and two together and it becomes clear that amino acid uptake can be a rate-limiting factor when it comes to muscle growth. It’s estimated that 20 grams of complete protein (aka all nine essential amino acids) is needed for any given meal to be capable of promoting muscle growth. 

Liquid aminos can help you round out your AA intake and hit that 20-gram target. [6] That’s because they contain either 16 or 17 different amino acids (for soy-based and coconut-based liquid aminos, respectively).

Freedom from Gluten

Soy sauce is made by fermenting soybeans and wheat in salty water over long periods of time. This process results in a lot of accumulated gluten

People with gluten-sensitivities, leaky gut, or other gut health problems should eliminate soy sauce. Especially given that there are new alternatives, like liquid aminos, that are entirely gluten-free and lectin free

Coconut aminos are viewed even more favorably than soy-based aminos among paleo or carnivore adjacent dieters who want to avoid soy and other legumes. 

Eliminate Additives

Today’s soy sauces may be laced with additives like sodium benzoate. This food preservative increases soy sauce’s shelf-life, but it also causes allergic reactions in some people. Sodium benzoate consumption may become more harmful if it’s used over long periods of time. [7]

Liquid aminos, on the other hand, do not contain or need chemical preservatives. 

More taste, Less hunger

Umami is one of the most universally loved flavor profiles.  It encompasses several different flavors; things with umami taste savory, meaty, satisfying, rich, and minerally.

Umami’s uniquely yummy taste is created by the presence of free glutamate within foods. This type of glutamate is a breakdown product of the amino acid glutamic acid that’s present in liquid aminos. In other words, liquid aminos are a great source of the umami flavor. [8][9

Studies have shown that umami-rich meals can reduce one’s feelings of hunger and stave off unneeded snacking. Consider adding some liquid aminos to your next batch of keto bone broth to experience this helpful benefit. 

Liquid Aminos vs Soy Sauce: The Bottom Line

Liquid aminos are healthy, tasty, and super easy to add to your diet. You can use them as a soy replacement in any dish that would traditionally call for soy. 

Alternatively, you can use liquid aminos in several places where you normally wouldn’t expect to see soy sauce. Use liquid aminos to give an extra kick to most foods you can eat on a keto diet, these include:

All in all, liquid aminos are a great product with plenty of amino acids and very few downsides. If you enjoy the savory flavor they provide, consider them as a new pantry staple. You can also take them along with you when eating out on keto