When it comes to seasoning stir fry or other Chinese or Japanese food dishes, soy sauce is a must-have condiment to add some extra flavor. However, if you’re following a low FODMAP eating regimen, you may wonder if soy sauce is low FODMAP friendly. This is because boiled soy beans are high in FODMAPs like fructans and galacto oligosaccharides, according to Monash University.

Also, edamame, which is soybeans boiled or steamed in their pods, are only considered low FODMAP in a ½ cup serving of beans out of the pod. Not to mention, that only ¼ cup of soy milk made from whole soybeans is considered low FODMAP. Therefore, it can be hard to figure out if soy sauce is low FODMAP. Let’s explore a little more about what soy sauce is and if it is low FODMAP friendly.

What is soy sauce?

What we now known as soy sauce is thought to have originated from a substance known as jiang in ancient China that was used to flavor and preserve food.  Although jiang was made from all sorts of food products, wheat and soy were most accessible. Therefore, jiang made from these ingredients became most common. 

The soy sauce well-known today is a brown, salty liquid that is made from fermented soybeans, salt, water, and sometimes other roasted grains. It can be used as an all-purpose seasoning and adds an earthy or umami flavor to dishes. Soy sauce contains sodium primarily, but also contains antioxidants as well as small amounts of fiber and protein in some mixtures.

FODMAPs and soy sauce

Since soy sauce is made from ingredients like soybeans and wheat, which are considered high FODMAP, you may think that soy sauce is off limits on a low FODMAP regimen. However, Monash University considers two tablespoons of soy sauce a low FODMAP serving. And since you typically don’t use more than a few teaspoons of soy sauce at a time due to its concentrated salty flavor, then soy sauce is in the clear for low FODMAP diet followers.

Another confusing fact about soy sauce is an ingredient known as maltodextrin often found in over the counter products. Maltodextrin is a food additive derived from corn, rice, potato starch, or wheat, that is added to foods to provide texture, taste, or shelf-life. Since it may be derived from wheat, you may think it’s a high FODMAP ingredient. However, a Monash University representative reports that since maltodextrin is a breakdown product of starch hydrolysis and is easily digested, then it is suitable for those on a low FODMAP diet. 

If you’re sensitive to wheat, then you may want to use a type of soy sauce known as tamari. Tamari is a type of Japanese soy sauce made only with soybeans and no other grains. This type of soy sauce, like the Kikkoman® brand tamari, is often used by those who follow a wheat-free or gluten-free lifestyle.

How to add soy sauce to your low FODMAP lifestyle

There are plenty of delicious vegetables like carrots, bell pepper, kale, and water chestnuts that have the green light for low FODMAP friendliness in any serving. These vegetables are a great addition to any stir-fry dish.  Use the stir-fry meal kit from Casa de Sante to create your very own low FODMAP friendly stir-fry meal. This kit includes tamari, low FODMAP stir-fry seasoning, and low FODMAP garlic oil as well as a low FODMAP stir-fry recipe to help you get started.

Take home message

Soy sauce is a low FODMAP condiment sure to flavor your favorite Asian dishes. Use in moderation to stay low FODMAP and add some umami to your recipes. And if you are wheat-free, then enjoy tamari for your soy sauce needs.

-written by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD of LighttrackNutrition.com

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