Fish sauce is a staple of many Southeast Asian cuisines, and it’s typically used as a condiment or seasoning. It’s made by fermenting fish with salt, erythritol, and water for at least two years!
The result is a salty liquid that adds flavor to food without adding carbs. Fish sauce has been found in the past to be keto-friendly.
However, there are now brands of fish sauces on the market that add sugar which means this ingredient may no longer be keto-friendly if you follow strict rules.
Is fish sauce keto-friendly? Here are some basics about fish sauce and its ketogenic-friendly status. Read more below to find out what brands are safe and what brands might not be so good for your diet goals!
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Is Fish Sauce Keto Friendly?
Yes. Fish sauce is made from anchovies and salt, which are both keto-friendly ingredients.
Fish sauce can be a keto-friendly condiment to add flavor to your meals, but checking the ingredients before buying it is essential as some brands contain sugar and other carbohydrates.
While fish sauce does have a distinct taste of its own, it is possible to use fish sauce in low-carb recipes for flavoring purposes only without significantly changing the overall nutrition profile of the dish.
Keto-Friendly Rating For Fish Sauce
Fish Sauce Keto-Friendly Rating: 3,5/5
This product doesn’t have any added sugar, but there is a small number of carbs from the soy sauce, which they use as their base ingredient.
The real issue with fish sauce is that many brands are packed with sugar or other additives!
Nutrition Information per Serving
According to FatSecret, one tablespoon of fish sauce contains
- 25 calories
- 18% DV
- 65 mg sodium
- 8% DV
- 0 grams carbs
- 3 grams protein
The Fish sauce is made by fermenting matured fish with sea salt, water, and erythritol, a sugar alcohol. The human body cannot break down sugar alcohols, so you won’t absorb any calories from these ingredients.
This means that any food product with sugar alcohol in it will not be absorbed or digested by your body.
The result of this process is the fish sauce! It’s a salty liquid concoction that adds flavor to meals without increasing your carb intake because no carbs are present in the original mixture.
Nowadays, some brands add other ingredients such as sucrose (a form of sugar) to their fish sauce mixture.
These brands will spike your blood sugar levels, so you’re better off sticking with Red Boat Fish Sauce if you want something keto-friendly. The known amount of carbs in this product is 0g!
What is Fish Sauce?
Fish sauce is a popular condiment or seasoning in many Southeast Asian cuisines.
It’s made from fermented fish that’s been mixed with salt and water for over two years! The mixture then goes through an aging process where it becomes much more pungent and salty.
The resulting liquid is what we know as fish sauce. Fish sauce has a strong, pungent smell, and it’s very salty, though it’s less salty than soy sauce. It can add flavor to food without adding carbs because it usually doesn’t have sugar added.
How many carbs are in fish sauce?
All ingredients to make the fish sauce are low in carbs. It usually doesn’t contain sugar, so it’s carb-free. The most common fish sauces only have 0.7 grams of net carbs. (Source: https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/soups-sauces-and-gravies/1114/2)
Fermented fish and salt both contain only trace amounts of carbs.
How to use Fish Sauce while on keto?
Fish sauce can be used in keto-friendly Thai and Vietnamese dishes.
Just be sure to check the label before buying as some now contain sugar or added sweeteners such as erythritol.
You can also add a bit to your pho or mix it with soy sauce and use it as a meat dipping sauce.
Best Keto-friendly Fish Sauce Brand
Nowadays, you can find many fish sauces on the market that add other ingredients to their recipes, such as carbohydrates (usually sucrose) and a little bit of salt. These brands are not keto-friendly because there’s added sugar and will spike your blood sugar levels high.
There are several types of fish sauce sold in the market today. Some of them have added sweeteners, and some contain high amounts of sodium which is not recommended, especially if you’re on a diet like a keto, which requires that you keep your salt intake low, other varieties don’t taste like much at all.
You should lookout for a brand if you want to eat fish sauce, Red Boat Fish Sauce.
This product can be bought online from Amazon or GNC store. It’s one of the best options because they do not add any additional ingredients to their product, so you can feel safe about eating this condiment regularly.
Is Red Boat Fish Sauce Keto-friendly?
This brand is considered safe because there aren’t any sugar additives included in their products! It’s made by a Vietnamese family-owned business that aims to preserve traditional Southeast Asian flavors in their fish sauce.
They harvest fish and salt daily from the Cam Ranh Bay waters in Vietnam, known for its cleanest waters and best quality seafood products.
Red Boat Fish Sauce does not add any additional sweeteners or sugar to their product, so you can be sure that it’s safe to use when you’re following a keto diet. All of Red Boat’s products only contain 0 grams of net carbs per serving! (Source: https://redboatfishsauce.com/fish-sauce/)
If you have trouble finding Red Boat Fish Sauce at your local food store, you can order them directly online here.
Red Boat Fish Sauce is great for adding flavor and texture to meals, and it’s a healthier alternative to soy sauce. It’s also much cheaper than soy sauce!
Red Boat Fish Sauce Nutrition Facts
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION – 1 TBSP (20 g)
SERVING SIZE: 20 grams
- Calories 10
- Total Fat 0 g
- Saturated Fat 0 g
- Trans Fat 0 g
- Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
- Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
- Calories from Fat 0
- Sodium 10 mg
- Net Carbs 0 g
- Carbohydrates (0 g)
- Fiber (0 g)
- Sugar alcohols (2 g)
- Protein 1 g
- Minerals Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus Zinc
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your caloric needs.
What’s The Alternative To The Fish Sauce?
If you’re worried about the additional ingredients in your bottle of fish sauce or if they don’t have a “clean” label, there are other alternatives that you can try!
When cooking Asian cuisine, you can use coconut aminos as a substitute for fish sauce. Coconut aminos is made from fermented sap from coconut trees, so it’s very keto-friendly and has no added sugar.
You can also make your own fish sauce by getting some anchovies and fermenting them yourself at home. This process takes longer, but it’s cheaper than buying one from a store because you’re not paying for any extra ingredients (sugar!)
Read more: Is Hot Sauce Keto-Friendly?
Keto Recipes And Ideas For Fish Sauce
This is my favorite fish sauce recipe. Feel free to try it!
Fish Sauce-Bacon Keto Bombs Recipe (with ingredients & instruction)
I love this recipe and have made it several times since discovering it. It is a spicy, flavourful snack that will keep you going through the day.
The longer they marinate, the better they taste. I have even used it as an accompaniment to breakfast eggs!
You can add some fresh sliced jalapenos if you like more heat, or try some pickled jalapeno slices (like the ones from Costco) for flavor without heat. They are a little softer than fresh but work really well with these keto bombs.
If you don’t want to make a full batch of 5, just halve all ingredients for smaller servings. (makes approx 20 small rolls)
These will last for two days in the fridge.
For the filling, you will need:
- 14 slices of bacon, chopped fine
- 6 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 clove garlic minced.
For wraps, I use approx:
- 3 rice papers (also called Spring roll wrappers) per wrap
- 2 tbsp of the mixture per wrap.
- First, make your bacon bits by frying over medium-high heat until crispy, then drain on paper towels and set aside to cool.
- Make your spicy mayo by mixing the mayo, fish sauce & garlic using a whisk or hand blender. (1st time I made it, I put everything in my magic bullet – worked fine)
- Next, place about 2-3 tsp of mix into the middle of a rice paper wrapper. Wrap by folding up bottom then sides to form a little package.
- Grill over medium-high heat (approx 3″-4″ from element), turning once until browned and crispy. (approx 2 minutes each side)
- Cool for 5 minutes before eating as they will be very hot! You can also freeze these in zip lock bags for extra convenience – place them on a plate, cover with cling wrap & freeze. (to quickly defrost, place unwrapped into the microwave for 30-45 secs)
You can make your own fish sauce, but I’ve found the bottled variety ready is just fine. This recipe calls for two kinds of fish sauce, so you will find some have more salt than others, depending on where you shop.
I have used (in various combinations) Red Boat, Squid Brand & Three Crabs. The difference is primarily in the price per bottle.
If you use all three brands of fish sauce, then add about 1/4 tsp salt to your recipe. (Fish Sauce contains approx 10% salt – so it would be 4 grams for a tbsp using all 3 brands)
Conclusion: Is Fish Sauce Keto Friendly?
Fish sauce is an awesome way to add flavor to your keto dishes without raising your carb intake because no carbs are added to these products.
Pick Red Boat if you want a fish sauce that doesn’t contain any added sugars. Always read the label, though, as some of them have added sweeteners or sugar now due to its popularity!
Have fun experimenting with this product, and please report back here on my blog after you’ve tried using it! I’d love to know how it worked out for you!