Quik Q & A: Is Bragg Liquid Aminos really a low sodium condiment?

by Elisa Rodriguez, RD, LDN

two gallons of Bragg goodnessQuestion: Is Bragg Liquid Aminos really a low sodium condiment? Some comments on the net suggest it is nothing more than MSG under new management, others that it is in fact a high sodium food and should be treated with caution. I tend to favour Solo Sea Salt which claims to substitute 60% of the sodium with the minerals potassium and magnesium.

Answer: No, Bragg Liquid Aminos is not a low sodium condiment by any stretch. Condiments generally are not, plus they are highly processed, so the fewer used the better. I suggest using this product in the smallest quantities possible. With 320 mg of sodium in just 1 tsp., Bragg’s is a handy transitional ingredient from standard soy sauce but it should not be a staple in a healthy diet.

I don’t recommend adding any type of salt to your food from a health standpoint. Remember, salt desensitizes our taste buds making nourishing foods less flavorful. It also raises our blood pressure and contributes to heart disease, while placing vegans at risk for a hemorrhagic stroke (since they are at less risk for an embolic stroke).

What Bragg’s offers is a gluten-free version of soy sauce with non-GMO soybeans, which contains no chemicals, artificial coloring, alcohol or preservatives. For instance tamari is a similar product that has a deep full flavor, but often contains wheat and alcohol with a sodium content of 233-335 mg (or higher, depending on the brand) in 1 teaspoon.

Tamari’s marketing scheme is to point out that 1 tsp. of salt is the equivalent to 590 mg of sodium. Meanwhile, 1 Tbsp. of Tamari (a much more common usage than 1 tsp.) provides 1006 mg of sodium, nearly a days worth of sodium!!! I don’t advise consuming more than 1,200 mg of sodium daily (in addition to what is found naturally in whole foods).

Bear in mind that most recipes and servings use at least 1 Tbsp. of tamari, Bragg’s or soy sauce. As you can see, none of these numbers are low. A good rule of thumb is to consume products that contain less mg of sodium than calories per serving. The fact that Bragg’s contains 0 calories per 160 mg of sodium in a measly 1/2 tsp., doesn’t make this an ideal option.

These days I occasionally use a product called Coconut Aminos (1 tsp. = 130 mg sodium), made from organic coconut sap and “sun dried mineral-rich” sea salt. While I don’t advocate adding salt to our food, I will dilute 1 tsp. in a larger amount of fluid to spread evenly among a dish for a different flavoring several times a month without over-salting the meal.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Renae January 17, 2012 at 6:50 PM

Such a helpful post! I haven’t used Bragg’s but I see a ton of recipes that call for it so I’ve been curious. I typically use the gluten free tamari when trying to add a bit of zip to my veggie stir fry but now that I’m paying more attention to sodium levels, I think I need to chuck it out! Loving your blog, so informative!

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Elisa Rodriguez, RD, LDN January 18, 2012 at 6:40 AM

Thanks Renae! Def check out sodium levels and be mindful of daily consumption. I tell people to aim for 1200 mg of sodium or less per day (in addition to whatever is found in whole foods naturally). Research shows we can actually sustain on just 250 mg per day! We plant eaters have to be mindful of our sodium consumption since we tend to have a greater tendency for hemorrhagic stroke when sodium intake is high and cholesterol levels are low. Please come again and keep talking to me!!

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