Can pregnant women consume soy sauce?

Throughout the pregnancy period, mothers are always concerned about the types of food they should include in their diet, such as soy sauce. Let’s explore whether pregnant women can consume soy sauce in the article below with The Pregnancy Care!

What is Soy Sauce?

Soy sauce, also known as ‘xì dầu’ in Vietnamese, is a widely popular condiment among Vietnamese people. Originating from China, soy sauce is made by fermenting a mixture of soybeans or grains with saltwater.

After a specific period of fermentation, this mixture transforms into soy sauce. It can be used directly as a dip or as a seasoning for various dishes.

Can pregnant women consume soy sauce?
Can pregnant women consume soy sauce?

Nutritional Composition of Soy Sauce

A tablespoon (15ml) of soy sauce contains:

– 10 calories

– 2g of protein

– 0g of fat

– 0g of carbohydrates

– 920mg of sodium (38% of the daily recommended intake)

H2: Is it good for expectant mothers to consume a lot of soy sauce?

Soy sauce enhances the flavor of dishes. However, nutritionists advise pregnant women against consuming excessive soy-based foods due to potentially harmful chemicals that could affect the fetus. Therefore, during pregnancy, it’s recommended to limit soy sauce intake to avoid adverse effects on the baby.

H2: Risks of consuming excessive soy sauce

Risk of breast cancer

During the fermentation of soy sauce, broken-down proteins may form amines, including nitrites, potentially linked to cancer when consumed excessively. Isoflavones present in fermented soy sauce act as stimulants that increase breast cancer cell growth and could disrupt menstrual cycles in women.

Impact on the thyroid gland

Goitrogens found in soy sauce can interfere with the synthesis of thyroid hormones, leading to disruptions in thyroid function. It’s advisable to use soy sauce only when in good health and avoid it during thyroid-related issues or treatment.

Impact on fetal development

Chemicals present in soy sauce aren’t conducive to a pregnant mother’s health. Excessive consumption during pregnancy may adversely affect the health and development of the fetus.

Potential for liver cancer

Overuse of soy sauce in meals might increase the risk of liver cancer. Soy sauce contains broken-down proteins that produce a substantial amount of amines. In some cases, nitrites may accumulate into nitrosamines, contributing to cancer formation.

Therefore, it’s recommended for pregnant women to moderate their consumption of soy sauce to ensure a healthy pregnancy and avoid potential risks to both maternal and fetal health.

Impact on the Kidneys

Soy sauce contains two compounds, oxalate and phytoestrogen, both of which can adversely affect the kidneys. Specifically, oxalate can contribute to kidney stones, while high levels of phytoestrogen can be detrimental to kidney function.

Impeding Mineral Absorption

High levels of phytate found in soy sauce hinder the digestive process, impeding the body’s absorption of minerals. Therefore, excessive and prolonged consumption of soy sauce should be avoided.

Increased Risk of Blood Clotting

Soy-based products contain hemagglutinin, which increases the risk of blood clotting and can lead to oxygen deprivation, chest pain, and other chronic conditions. Additionally, the high salt content in soy sauce also contributes to an increased risk of heart-related diseases and high blood pressure.

Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

While traditional soy sauce has low calorie and carbohydrate levels, its sodium content is remarkably high. A tablespoon of soy sauce contains over 900 mg of sodium, surpassing the daily recommended intake. Regular consumption of soy sauce can impact health, particularly increasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure.

Impact on Reproductive Health

Soybeans, the main ingredient in soy sauce, contain isoflavones, which inhibit estrogen production and alter hormonal balance in the body. Excessive consumption of soy sauce can affect reproductive health in both men and women.

Choosing Soy Sauce for Expectant Mothers’ Health

According to established standards, soy sauce is categorized into two types: one used directly as a dip and the other as a seasoning for dishes. Therefore, it’s crucial to determine the intended use when purchasing soy sauce.

Typically, soy sauce products mention the amino acid nitrogen index. Those with higher nitrogen index levels tend to have higher quality, a more intense flavor, ranging between 0.4 – 0.8 grams/100 ml. Additionally, consider the following:

– Cooking-grade soy sauce should be sterilized (heated) before consumption.

– Avoid excessive use, using soy sauce as a substitute for salt in all dishes.

– Purchase soy sauce with clear labeling, origin, and brand authenticity to avoid counterfeit or poor-quality products.

– After use, tightly close the lid and store it in a cool place. Discard if there are signs of mold.

Soy sauce is a food item that expectant mothers should not frequently consume during pregnancy. With this information, it is hoped that you can further understand this issue.


Is soy sauce safe in pregnancy?

Yes, soy sauce is generally safe to consume during pregnancy. It is typically pasteurized and fermented, which helps eliminate harmful bacteria. However, it’s important to consume it in moderation due to its high sodium content.

What sauces can you not eat when pregnant?

Sauces that contain raw or undercooked ingredients, especially raw eggs (like in hollandaise sauce), should be avoided due to the risk of bacterial contamination, such as Salmonella. Homemade or fresh-made sauces that use unpasteurized ingredients also pose a risk and are best avoided during pregnancy.

Can I eat teriyaki while pregnant?

Yes, commercially prepared teriyaki sauce that has been cooked thoroughly is generally safe to eat during pregnancy. Ensure that it’s made with pasteurized ingredients and avoid homemade versions that might contain raw or undercooked components.

Is it safe to eat tofu while pregnant?

Yes, tofu is considered safe to eat during pregnancy. It’s an excellent source of protein and is generally safe if made from pasteurized soy milk and properly cooked or prepared. Opting for pasteurized tofu products can reduce any potential risk of foodborne illnesses.


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