Teriyaki Sauce Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Teriyaki Sauce

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Teriyaki sauce is a sweet and salty Japanese meat marinade. Though recipes vary, soy sauce and mirin—a sweet Japanese wine—are the main ingredients in teriyaki sauce. When combined, these Japanese kitchen staples add flavor, color, and moisture to your meat, chicken, fish, or vegetables.

You may use teriyaki sauce as a marinade or glaze when grilling chicken or fish. But the sauce also works well with stir-fries and serves well as the liquid base for an Asian-inspired slow-cooked meal.

Teriyaki sauce can help you create a new dish from your usual chicken or fish dinners. But when using the sauce to add flavor to your healthy meats, you may wonder if it makes the best choice.

For instance, teriyaki sauce is low in calories but very high in sodium. Here’s a look at the nutrition facts, health benefits, and uses of teriyaki sauce.

Teriyaki Sauce Nutrition Facts

One tablespoon of teriyaki sauce (16g) has 14 calories, 2.5g of carbs, 1g of protein, and negligible amounts of fat. The meat marinade isn’t a good source of vitamins and minerals, but is very high in sodium, with 613mg per tablespoon. This nutrition information comes from the USDA.

  • Calories: 14
  • Fat: 0.0003
  • Sodium: 613mg
  • Carbohydrates: 2.5g
  • Sugar: 2.2g
  • Protein: 1g


Carbs

Most of the calories in teriyaki sauce come from carbohydrates. One tablespoon has 2.5g of carbohydrates. Made from sweet wine or sake, and sometimes sugar or honey, most of the carbs in teriyaki sauce are in the form of sugar. Each tablespoon contains 2.2g of sugar. 

Fats

Teriyaki sauce has negligible amounts of fat per serving. Though fat has a reputation for causing weight gain and health problems, it’s an essential nutrient. When grilling or stir frying your marinated meats or vegetables, use small amounts of a healthy vegetable oil such as olive oil.

Protein

With only 1g per tablespoon, teriyaki sauce isn’t a good source of protein. 

Vitamins and Minerals

Like other sauces, condiments, and marinades, teriyaki sauce doesn't contain any essential vitamins or minerals. However, with soy sauce as one of the main ingredients, it's a high-sodium food. Though sodium content may vary by brand and recipe, a 1-tablespoon serving may have more than 600mg of sodium. 

Health experts recommend limiting your daily sodium intake to 2,300mg a day. One tablespoon of teriyaki sauce provides more than 25% of your daily limit.

Calories

With only 14 calories per serving, teriyaki sauce won’t add a lot of extra calories to your meat, fish, or vegetables.

Summary

Teriyaki sauce is a low-calorie marinade that contains negligible amounts of protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals.

Health Benefits

Given the nutritional profile of teriyaki sauce and the fact that it’s used in such small amounts, it’s not likely to provide any significant health benefits. However, some of the ingredients in teriyaki sauce have interesting characteristics that may benefit your health.

May Provide Protection from Cancer

Soy sauce is also a significant source of isoflavones, which are phytoestrogens—a plant compound that might act like estrogen in your body. Estrogen is a female sex hormone that supports sexual health, bone health, and heart health.

Eating high amounts of soy foods may lower your risk of certain types of cancer, like breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men. Researchers theorize that the high intake of isoflavones from soy products contributes to the reduced risk.

May Promote a Healthy Weight

You’re not alone if you find yourself losing and regaining the same weight over and over again. Weight loss is hard. However, making small lifestyle changes here and there can help you reach your weight goals and stay there. Teriyaki sauce is a low-calorie meat marinade and glaze. 

Instead of fried chicken or fried fish, soak your proteins in teriyaki sauce to add flavor and moisture without the extra calories. You may save nearly 100 calories when swapping out your fried chicken for teriyaki chicken. 

May Improve Digestion

Not all versions of teriyaki sauce contain ginger. But adding the spicy root to your marinade may benefit your digestive health. Many people drink ginger ale to ease nausea and vomiting. It works by helping to break up and expel gas.

May Support Immune Health

Garlic is also a popular ingredient in teriyaki sauce. This flavorful plant offers many health benefits, including immune system support. Garlic is a functional food that contains many compounds that support the health and function of your immune system. Though not a cure-all, including garlic in your meals, may help your body fight against germs that make you sick.

Allergies

Teriyaki sauce contains soy. If you have an allergy to soy, you may want to look for brands made without soy sauce. Or, make your own teriyaki sauce using soy substitutes like liquid aminos or coconut aminos, a flavor enhancer made popular by the Whole30 Diet. Tamari sauce also makes a good soy sauce substitute. However, this sauce is made from wheat and is not suitable for people with a gluten allergy. 

Varieties

There are many types of teriyaki sauce, including low-sodium, sugar-free, soy-free, and organic varieties. You can even find spicy versions of the sauce, as well as versions flavored with garlic or onions. 

Storage and Food Safety

You can safely store your shelf-stable bottle of teriyaki sauce in your kitchen cabinet for up to 3 years after the date of purchase. However, keeping your bottle of teriyaki sauce in the refrigerator may prolong the quality of your marinade. You should discard homemade or brands of refrigerated teriyaki sauce after 1 month. 

How to Prepare

You may prefer the convenience of store-bought teriyaki sauce, not to mention the shelf-life. But making your own marinade puts you in control of the ingredients and their potential health benefits. Healthy ingredients to use in your homemade teriyaki sauce include low-sodium soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, fresh ginger, fresh garlic, and a touch of honey.

Recipes

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