January 7, 2010

Truth In Advertising

The culprit: Dragonfly Brand Dark Soy Sauce.

The problem: Up until one night ago, I was under the impression that this was an unbelievable low sodium soy sauce substitute. The well-worn, nutritional label on the bottle I own says that it only has 55 mg of sodium per 1 tablespoon.

But on Temple of Thai, a site that sells the imported sauce, states that there is a whopping 510 mg of sodium per tablespoon. Curious indeed!

While I clearly need to do more investigating on this particular subject, my moment of being hoodwinked reminded me of a very important topic: nutritional information.

When managing a dietary restriction, one relies on the label. We depend on that little box to help determine whether or not something is safe and healthy to eat. But sometimes it is hard to know if the information provided is actually correct. Whether it is a specialty item or just a bag of peas, labels can have a habit of changing. Over the past six years, I have found several products that initially boast an incredibly low sodium count, only to check the contents a few months later to find that the sodium allotment has tripled.

The point here is not about loosing faith in the label, but to always remain aware. You are your best advocate and detective, and the success of your diet depends on constantly educating yourself. I can spend hours at the grocery store, looking through the aisles to discover new low sodium treats, and although that kind of behavior can be excessive, it is my hyper alertness that keeps my pantry full and my diet on track.

I will be digging deeper into this dark soy sauce quandary, but in the meantime, I wanted to give you other ways to boost your favorite Asian-flavored dishes at home. The following two recipes are for low sodium soy sauce substitutes. While neither one tastes like the stuff you find at a sushi restaurant, they are both perfect for recipes that call for soy sauce as one of its base ingredients.

A special thank you to Karren Barrit for alerting me to the dark soy sauce sodium content.  Keep searching and chow on.

Soy Sauce Substitute from Dick Logue’s 500 Low Sodium Recipes


  • 2 tablespoons sodium free beef boullion
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar (0 mg of sodium)
  • 1 teaspoon molasses (o mg of sodium)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • dash of black pepper
  • dash of garlic powder
  • 3/4 cup water


In a small sauce pan, combine all ingredients and boil gently for about 5 minutes or until the mixture has reduced by 1/2 a cup. Cool and store in refrigerator. Shake before using.

Low Sodium Shoyu Substitute


Garlic Vinegar

  • 5 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 cup white vinegar

Heat the white vinegar over medium heat until hot, but not simmering or boiling. Pour the hot vinegar over the garlic cloves and let stand overnight. Before using, discard garlic.

Shoyu Replacement

  • 3/4 cup of homemade garlic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons of dark molasses (0 mg of sodium)
  • 3 teaspoons of onion powder

Combine all the ingredients and pour into a glass jar. Refrigerate and use as needed. Shake well before using. It keeps for one month.





Karen Barritt January 7, 2010 at 7:40 pm

Sodium girl – you are right that one has to be ever vigilant! I have found other such discrepancies on on-line menus, nutritional sites, and on labels such as the one you pictured. I have been meaning to try the Dick Logue substitute recipe and will certainly do so now with your recommendation. Great site and fun too!

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: