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Japanese cuisine is rapidly making waves all over the world. With all the diverse flavors you can get from Japanese food, trying out every food on a Japanese menu can be such a joy.
If you’re someone who enjoys Japanese cuisine but doesn’t want to break your ketosis by eating sushi, then Miso soup is a must-try!
Miso soup, along with all the meat in Japanese cuisine (wagyu, katsudon, and more) are some of our favorites.
Miso soup is one of the staple foods in Japanese culture. It has multiple variations depending on the texture, color, and ingredients.
But if you’re asking, “is miso soup keto-friendly?”, then we have the answer to that!
We talk about the health benefits of miso soup and whether you can enjoy it on the keto diet or not.
What is Miso?
Miso is a staple ingredient in Japanese cuisine. It’s also the base of miso soup.
For those who are unfamiliar, miso is a paste with the look and consistency of peanut butter. Usually, miso is made from a mixture of soybean, a grain like rice, buckwheat, or barley, salt, and koji or mold.
There are over a thousand different varieties of miso. It can be smooth, or it can be chunky. The variations differ in texture, flavor, and color. Some are called “awase,” a mixture of more than one kind of miso paste.
Another fascinating fact about miso is that it’s fermented. It can take a few weeks to several years of fermenting to get the intense flavors from a miso paste.
In the United States, the imported miso is usually light or white in color. Some are also dark or red.
Health Benefits of Miso Soup
Since miso is made from natural ingredients, it contains a lot of nutrients that can be beneficial to your health and your keto diet. Check out some of the most amazing benefits below.
Vitamins and Minerals
One of the best things about miso is that it contains a lot of vitamins and minerals. One ounce of miso has 56 calories. It also contains sodium, manganese, vitamin K, copper, and zinc.
With 7g of carbs, it also has small amounts of B vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, selenium, and phosphorus.
Soybean miso is considered a complete source of protein because of all the amino acids it has.
Another health benefit you can get from consuming miso while on keto is that it helps improve your digestion.
This is because miso contains good bacteria. This good bacteria helps you maintain healthy gut flora. These help your body reduce the risk of irritable bowel disease.
The fermentation process also helps improve digestion by reducing the anti-nutrients in soybeans.
Anti-nutrients are compounds that bind nutrients in your gut to stop your body absorbing them.
Strengthens Immune System
Miso contains nutrients that boost your immune system. For example, the probiotics that exist in miso due to fermentation reduce the growth of harmful bacteria.
They also help you recover faster from infections, reducing the need for antibiotics.
Other Health Benefits
Miso also has other potential benefits, although the following still lack adequate studies.
- It can reduce the risk of death from heart disease.
- Miso can reduce cholesterol levels.
- It has the potential to promote brain health.
- It may protect against type 2 diabetes.
Miso Health Risks
All these potential advantages indicate that miso is generally safe and enjoyable to eat. However, there is one downside.
Miso is high in sodium. It may not be good for people who need to limit their salt intake.
If you have a prior medical condition that requires you to be on a low-sodium diet, then it is a good idea to limit your miso consumption, too.
Those who are taking blood-thinning medications should also consume miso in moderation. This is because miso contains high levels of vitamin K1. And this vitamin can also act as a blood thinner.
In addition to that, most miso varieties are made from soybeans. So those who have allergies to soybeans may experience side effects.
Soybeans are also considered a goitrogen. These are compounds that could interfere with the thyroid gland’s normal functioning. It may not be the best food for those who have poor thyroid function.
Is Miso Soup Keto-Friendly?
Yes. Miso soup is keto-friendly when consumed in moderation.
While the carb count isn’t a cause of concern, too much sodium can still be harmful to your health.
You should also know that miso is low in fat, so make sure to add in some more high-quality fats on keto.
Other than that, miso soup is worth the carb consumption. With a low number of carbs, it has protein, amino acids, antioxidants, and essential trace minerals.
You will get all the health benefits without knocking yourself out of ketosis.
You might be wondering where the carbs come from if store-bought miso paste has little to no sugar.
The main contributor here is food starch which comes from wheat or corn.
If you’re mindful of your sodium intake, one tablespoon of miso paste for a bowl of miso is acceptable!
When shopping for miso, the color should be your most helpful guide. Darker colors are stronger and saltier.
The best miso you can try is Muso from Japan. It has 5g of carbs per serve and is made with natural non-GMO.
Can You Make Miso Soup at Home?
Yes, you can make miso soup at home. It’s a great way to know exactly what you put in your body, and control your portions, too.
Best of all, miso soup is relatively easy to make. You can cook it in one pan, and it takes 15 minutes to cook!
Check out this recipe to find out how, or you can watch the video below.
You probably already have most of the ingredients at home. And if not you can pick them up from your local Asian store.
FAQ Keto Diet and Miso
Is Miso Soup OK for Vegans?
This is a little bit of a tricky question. The answer is it depends.
Most miso soup has eggs, seaweeds, and kelp.
But the base is made from the miso paste, which is usually made from soybeans, fermented barley, rice, or koji.
The miso paste itself is vegan-friendly. However, the soup also contains dashi. Dashi is a soup base or stock that might be made with different ingredients.
While you can tweak the recipe to make it vegan-friendly, traditional miso soup is not suitable for a vegan diet.
Why not try our vegan keto menu instead?
Can I Do a Vegan Keto Diet?
Short answer? Yes.
Instead of pitting two amazing diets against each other to see which is better, you can always try combining them to get the best of both worlds.
The keto diet is a high-fat, moderate-protein, and low-carb diet. So, opt for plant-based fat and protein sources.
It should also be noted that the vegan diet itself has its own variations.
Check out how you can achieve a vegan keto lifestyle.
Is Kimchi Keto-Friendly?
Kimchi is another Asian dish made through fermentation which isn’t off-limits on keto.
Kimchi has a salty, tangy, and spicy taste that originated in Korea. It is rich in probiotics, vitamins, and minerals.
Aside from cabbage and other greens, kimchi has probiotics from the fermentation process that helps maintain healthy gut flora.
Be sure to pick a kimchi brand that has little to no sugar, or just make your own keto kimchi!
How Much Protein Should I Eat on Keto?
You should eat anywhere between 0.6g to 1g of protein per pound of lean body mass.
Many keto dieters overlook the importance of protein on keto as they focus on consuming high fat and low carb sources.
When consuming miso soup, try adding tofu for an extra protein source.
Remember to eat your protein in moderation. Too little can make you lose body mass, while too much will kick you out of ketosis.
You Deserve that Bowl of Miso Soup!
Grab some miso paste and make yourself a bowl of miso soup. This salty, tangy, and savory dish is perfectly fine on the keto diet.
Miso paste is relatively low in carbs and has several health benefits.
You can also add your own spices and flavorings like sriracha to your soup!
This spicy and tangy sauce pairs perfectly well with noodles as well. Learn if you can have sriracha on the keto diet!