We get gluten in our everyday lives by eating bread, pasta, tortillas, rotis, etc. Gluten is commonly present in grains, rye, spelt, and barley. Multiple proteins are also present within gluten. Generally, gluten and gliadin are the primary and most widely known proteins.
Gluten fundamentally works as a binding force between molecules when mixed with water and further assists the bread, bun, tortilla, or dough in rising when baked. The texture is chewy, and the consistency is sticky because of “glue” like gluten (1). Pure soya or soya beans are gluten-free, but now the question arises if soy sauce is gluten-free.
The answer is in this article. Keep reading:
Tofu, edamame, and soy milk are made of soybeans. Soybeans do not contain gluten. This is a loved food by vegetarians since it is known to be protein-rich. Vegetarians prefer an excellent plant-based diet as a substitute for meat (2).
Is Soy A Healthy Food?
People facing thyroid problems mostly rely on a gluten- or dairy-free diet. Whether soy is healthy or not is one of the most debated topics.
Taking a large amount of soy may harm body balance in several aspects, mainly the reproductive system. This is because soy causes changes in the “estrogen hormones levels,” which manages male and female reproductive development (2).
Another reason people opt for gluten-free diets is their intolerance towards this substance. Gluten intolerance causes several health conditions, but celiac disease is commonly known, affecting 1 percent of the American population.
In this condition, gluten is considered a foreign invader by the body, and in return, it reacts. This may cause several issues, including anemia, digestive, and developmental problems. Some more common symptoms that consumers may face include diarrhea, depression, anxiety, headache, bloating, constipation, rashes, and small intestine damage. (1).
For better assistance, you should consult your physician or dietitian before taking it into your meals.
What Soy Sauce Is Gluten-Free?
There are a lot of options for you if you are looking for gluten-free soy sauce. These options include La-choy Gluten Free, San-J Gluten Free soy sauces, and Kikkoman Gluten Free Soy Sauce.
Let’s explore each one of these:
La-Choy Gluten Free
This soy sauce is gluten-free, and the main constituents of this soy sauce include “Water, salt, hydrolyzed soy protein, corn syrup, caramel color, and potassium sorbate”. Because of these ingredients, all the La Choy Soy Sauces are gluten-free, regardless of whether they have gluten-free labels.
Some bottles have the labels of being gluten-free, whereas others do not consist of these labels.
As gluten is not listed in the ingredients of these sauces, they are free of gluten and can be consumed by people who are gluten intolerant. Though there are some reports of reactions to this sauce, a nutritionist specializing in celiac disease and IBS can be beneficial in this situation (6).
In the same way that persons with celiac disease frequently mistakenly believe that they are reacting to gluten, other dietary triggers may also be present because of intestinal damage or other co-occurring disorders (like IBS).
But overall, La Choy Soy Sauce is gluten-free. However, if you feel like it reacted adversely with your body, talk to your dietician to figure out why.
San-J Gluten Free Soy Sauces
San-J now provides a soy sauce substitute devoid of soy and other significant allergies. Also, it is non-GMO, vegan, and gluten-free. It is brewed with peas and offers a delightful umami-rich flavor that resembles soy sauce. It is 100% soy-based Tamari.
Moreover, it is a gluten-free Japanese soy sauce utilizing small-batch fermenting techniques for almost 200 years. These soy sauces are equally as wonderful but less sweet than other varieties. They are a great gluten-free soy sauce option. They even sell soy sauce packets so you can travel easily (6).
Kikkoman Gluten-Free Soy Sauce
Kikkoman soy sauce is completely gluten-free and recognized by The Gluten Intolerance Group of North America as a gluten-free soy sauce. It is traditionally made with just four essential ingredients:
It is brewed and matured to give it the same flavor-enhancing properties as regular Kikkoman Soy Sauce with a rich, savory taste. Kikkoman has substituted wheat with rice while brewing it (7).
Soy Sauce Alternatives
Besides getting gluten-free soy sauce, there are alternatives such as coconut amino acids, red boat fish, Worcestershire sauce, homemade sauces, Bragg liquid, Tamari, Oshawa White Nama, and sauces for Maggi seasoning, etc. (8)
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Does Soy Flour Have Gluten?
Soybeans are ground into a fine powder to make soy flour, which is gluten-free. Soy flour is considered safe for people with celiac disease and other gluten-related diseases (10).
Soy flour does not contain wheat or other grain as it is made by grinding roasted soybeans into a powder. Wheat flour can be effectively replaced by soy flour and can be a good substitute for people considering gluten-free products.
How Bad Is Soy Sauce For Gluten-Free?
Gluten is present in soy sauce since it is traditionally produced from a mixture of soybeans, wheat, water, and salt. Adding wheat to soy sauce was originally a Japanese custom.
Several producers now provide gluten-free soy sauce using different substances instead of wheat, like tapioca, corn, or rice. People with gluten intolerance should avoid using regular soy sauce. Having soy sauce containing gluten can cause diarrhea, gastrointestinal distress, and other gluten-sensitivity symptoms (10).
When buying soy sauce, it’s crucial to carefully check the ingredient labels because not all soy sauces are gluten-free. Look for a soy sauce alternative gluten-free or tamari sauce, a sauce similar to soy sauce but prepared without wheat. If you have dietary constraints, you should look for gluten-free soy sauce and use it as an alternative.
A study estimated that around five ppm (parts per million) of gluten could be found in soy sauce. The amount of gluten in various soy sauce varieties and brands varies. The cause is from soybeans being brewed and fermented with wheat to make soy sauce (4)
Some brands have a tiny bit more, but usually, it’s somewhere around five ppm. You should limit your gluten intake to 0.0018 oz (50 mg) if you have celiac disease.
Therefore, a small amount of soy sauce can be acceptable. This would be regarded as safe for celiacs. Some speculate this is because the gluten is removed during protein hydrolysis (or breaking up). Similar steps are taken to break down the gluten protein so it can be classified as gluten-free.
Since wheat is one of the constituents in soy sauce, it contains gluten. To produce the umami, the salty flavor of soy sauce, soybeans, and wheat is brewed together during fermentation. Because of this process, people who avoid gluten cannot consume wide varieties of soy sauce (5).
The amount of gluten in light and dark soy sauces is generally equal. The main distinction between the two is that dark soy sauce has undergone far more extensive fermentation and occasionally includes molasses.
Fortunately, molasses doesn’t contain gluten. So, the black soy sauce doesn’t have more gluten than its lighter equivalent. Soy sauce is created by roasting and then pounding wheat into soybeans after they have been soaked in water. This doesn’t make soy sauce gluten-free.
Since it contains wheat gluten, most regular soy sauce contains gluten and should be avoided. Many alternatives, like La Choy Gluten Free, San-J Gluten Free soy sauces, and Kikkoman Gluten Free Soy Sauce, can be taken instead.
Is Soy Gluten-Free Food?
Soy is a gluten-free food. Both the soybeans and the soy protein derived from them are gluten-free and referred to as “soy.” But this does not mean that all soy products are gluten-free.
Soybeans don’t contain any grains that include gluten, a protein that may be found in wheat, barley, and rye.
Given that soy-based products may be prepared on the same machinery as products containing gluten, those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity should be mindful of the risk of cross-contamination. To ensure products are safe to eat, people with gluten-related diseases should carefully read labels and look for certified gluten-free products.
Is Soy Protein Gluten-Free?
The answer is yes!
But watch out. Not all soy products guarantee a gluten-free experience. So, be sure to double check labels before indulging in your favorite dish (9).
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The Bottom Line
To sum it up, soy is gluten-free, but some of the products contain soy and gluten and hence should be avoided by people who are gluten intolerant. Products of wheat, rye, and barley contain gluten. People who are intolerant to gluten have various options for gluten-free sauces. In such products, the major ingredient like wheat is replaced by rice and made for people who prefer gluten-free products.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- IS SOY SAUCE GLUTEN-FREE? (2021, san-j.com)
- Is Soy Gluten Free? (2022, healthiersteps.com)
- Is Gluten in Soy Sauce? A Celiac Dietitian Explains (2022, blog.spoonfulapp.com)
- How Much Gluten Is in Soy Sauce? Brand Guide (2022, cuisineseeker.com)
- How Is Soy Sauce Made and Is It Bad for You? (2019, healthline.com)
- Is Soy Sauce Gluten-Free? What are the alternatives? (2022, thehelpfulgf.com)
- GLUTEN-FREE SOY SAUCE (2023, kikkomanusa.com)
- 12 Soy Sauce Substitutes (2019, healthline.com)
- Is Soy Gluten-Free? (2023, beyondceliac.org)
- What is gluten intolerance? (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)