Culinary Chemistry: The Truth about Soy Sauce and Gluten Content
by Jenn Oliver
From the archives
Soy Sauce and: Now a Staple in Western Cuisine
Soy sauce has been around as a staple condiment in Asian cuisine for thousands of years, used for flavoring all manner of dishes and foods. It’s prized for the “umami” character it gives to the overall taste of a dish, and can have a wide range of subtle notes beyond the obvious saltiness.
For example, Japanese tamari is often wheat free (I stress, not always). Still, most of the soy sauces available on store shelves contain wheat. While there is some debate as to exactly how much gluten from wheat survives the fermentation and processing, the Celiac Disease Foundation Foundation does list soy sauce as a food that may contain gluten and needs to be verified. The Mayo Clinic also states that soy sauce should be avoided unless otherwise labeled. There is also considerable anecdotal evidence of experiences of people being “glutened” by soy sauce (my husband included). Therefore, for those who must eat gluten free, soy sauce immediately becomes a food that requires attention and is a complicated topic.