Is soy sauce bad for you?

In this short article, we will answer the question “Is soy sauce bad for you?” and will show you what the risks are.

Is soy sauce bad for you?

It is only harmful if ingested in large quantities. The high salt content of soy sauce is one of its key drawbacks. Additionally, the use of solvents in industrial manufacturing processes can promote the development of cancer. 

The Food Standards Agency found that high production temperatures may encourage the formation of cancer-causing substances known as chloropropanols.


You must be aware that having too much sodium in your body might have detrimental effects on your health.

The mineral should only be used in moderation, even though it is essential for healthy muscular contraction, nerve impulse transmission, blood volume and pressure management, fluid balance within the body, and normal blood pH levels.

A healthy adult should consume no more than 2,300 mg of salt daily, while those who have hypertension should limit their intake to 1,500 mg.

When this recommended amount of soy sauce is surpassed, the person may experience some health issues or discomfort, such as:

  • a high blood pressure, 
  • water retention in the body, 
  • increased blood volume (which requires the heart to work harder to pump this blood through the body and increases artery pressure), 
  • cardiovascular disease, 
  • heart failure risks
  • stroke.

Unfortunately, soy sauce contains a lot of salt. This is because just a bit of the component, or a tablespoon, can contain 902 mg of the mineral.

It is crucial to use the product carefully and sparingly to avoid exceeding the recommended daily consumption of sodium. The package of processed sauces should always be carefully examined, and those with the least amount of sodium should always be preferred.

Nevertheless, armed with this knowledge, it is easy to conclude that soy sauce is unhealthy due to its high sodium concentration.

The process of soy sauce industrialization

Without the use of preservatives, whole soybeans are slowly fermented to create the traditional soy sauce recipe. Traditionally, cooked soybeans were combined with wheat flour to create soy sauce in China. 

Then fermentation began, which was carried out in enormous clay pots that produced 12 to 60 gallons.

Only after three to six months is the sauce strained using a bamboo sieve after these pots have been exposed to sunshine for colour and flavour. The liquid was then divided among smaller containers and exposed to the sun for a further two weeks.

The sauce might already be used despite neither being spicy nor pasteurised. 

However, the last production process involved boosting the mixture’s water and salt content and letting it ferment for an additional one to two months.

You don’t have to be an expert in large-scale industrial production to recognise that the procedure just described does not meet the demands of mass production, where goods must be provided rapidly and replaced.

As a result, a solvent-based technique that produces the product more quickly took the role of fermentation. The issue is that as a result of the speed, more issues appeared.

The Food Standards Agency reported in May 2010 that industrial soy sauce processing at high temperatures creates a class of chemicals known as chloropropanols, which are dangerous to be exposed to.

Ingestion of one of these chloropropanols, 3-MPCD, along with the human body’s digestive enzyme lipase results in the production of a carcinogenic chemical. The development of cancer in lab animals has also been related to the same chemical.

Health authorities all over the world are concerned about the risks posed by 3-MPCD. The tolerated daily intake level of this chloropropanol has been determined to be 2 nanograms per kilogramme of a person’s body weight.

The opposing side:

Other features point to soy sauce’s health advantages despite these aspects that demonstrate how unhealthy it is. The digestive tract, for instance, may benefit from the substance, according to research.

These advantages are connected to the fermentation of soy sauce, which produces a specific class of carbohydrates known as oligosaccharides. 

This is so that the fibres in soybeans can be broken down by the microorganisms responsible for the fermentation process.

Oligosaccharides are created when these fibres, known as hemicelluloses, are broken down. These sugars support the development of intestinal flora, or “good bacteria,” in the large intestine.

This advantage only applies to sauce generated through the fermentation method, not the industrialised version we saw earlier. Make sure your soy sauce is produced using the healthiest methods possible when you buy it. 

When seeking soy sauce that won’t be as bad for your health, artisanal, homemade, and organic sauces can be a fantastic choice.


In this short article, we have answered the question “Is soy sauce bad for you?” and have shown you what the risks are.