What Are Liquid Aminos—and How Are They Different From Soy Sauce?
You may have spotted a bottle on shelves at a health food store or seen them listed in a vegan or gluten-free recipe—but what exactly are liquid aminos? And are they good for you?
What Are Liquid Aminos?
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Liquid aminos are exactly what they sound like: concentrated amino acids derived from soybeans.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Consuming them is integral to your overall health, especially if you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet plan.
Your body needs 20 different amino acids to grow and function properly. Eleven of these acids are non-essential, meaning your body makes them on its own. The other nine, however, are essential and you need to regularly consume them.
Bragg liquid aminos, likely the brand you’re most familiar with, has 16 essential and non-essential amino acids.
So how do liquid aminos taste? Pretty much like soy sauce, with very slight distinctions. Liquid aminos are rich in umami, that meaty and savory fifth taste.
You can use liquid aminos anywhere you’d use soy sauce—on veggies, in stir-fries, or just as a condiment.
Though traditional liquid aminos are made with soybeans, some are derived from coconuts.
Liquid Aminos vs. Soy Sauce
Liquid aminos and soy sauce are made from soybeans, but soy sauce also contains wheat, so—unlike liquid aminos—it’s not gluten-free. Soy sauce is fermented (which means it contains some alcohol), while liquid aminos are not.
While both liquid aminos and soy sauce contain sodium, added salt makes soy sauce’s sodium content higher.
As far as taste goes, they’re pretty similar. Liquid aminos are less salty, milder, and slightly sweeter.
Some people say liquid aminos taste closer to tamari (a sauce made from fermented soybeans) than soy sauce.
It’s worth noting that liquid aminos, which are usually only available at health food stores, are significantly more expensive than the more widely available soy sauce. A 16-oz. bottle of Bragg costs about $5 at Whole Foods, while a 15-oz. bottle of Kikkoman sells for about $2.50 at Target.
Health Benefits of Liquid Aminos
Again, liquid aminos are a great source of amino acids. The sauce is made from only two ingredients—soybeans and purified water—so it’s vegan and contains no chemicals, artificial coloring, or preservatives.
While liquid aminos have less sodium than soy sauce, people on low-sodium diets shouldn’t go crazy: There are 320 (naturally occurring) milligrams of sodium per teaspoon.
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