Surprising Amount Of Soy Sauce Can Kill You

Soy Sauce bottle
Credit: Alamy

Soy sauce is a versatile condiment that can elevate a wide range of dishes – but did you know a surprising amount could kill you?

Its rich umami taste complements everything from soups to sandwiches, making it a beloved addition to meals.

However, like many good things, moderation is key.

Much like chocolate, alcohol, and chips, indulging in excessive soy sauce consumption can have serious repercussions.

While it’s highly unlikely that you’ll go overboard, it’s important to understand that consuming too much soy sauce can be hazardous, even fatal.

The danger lies in the high salt content present in soy sauce.

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A single tablespoon of this savoury liquid contains around 900 milligrams of salt, a substantial amount that can overwhelm the body’s capacity to process.

Consuming large quantities of soy sauce can lead to hypernatremia, a condition in which the body tries to balance salt levels by moving fluids out of tissues.

This can result in fatal fluid build-ups in vital organs like the lungs and even cause cerebral bleeding as the brain shrinks due to water loss.

There have been documented cases of individuals falling victim to soy sauce overdoses.

In 2013, a 19-year-old ingested a substantial amount – around two pints – of soy sauce and ended up in a coma.

David J Carlberg, the doctor who treated him, told LiveScience: “He didn’t respond to any of the stimuli that we gave him.

“He had some clonus, which is just elevated reflexes. Basically, the nervous system wasn’t working very well.”

Kikkoman soy sauce.
Over-indulging in soy sauce can actually lead to death. Credit: @kikkomanuk/Instagram

Thankfully, he was treated in time, but it took three days for him to regain consciousness and full cognitive function.

Tragically, another individual, a woman struggling with depression, consumed excessive amounts of soy sauce.

Despite medical efforts, she succumbed to pulmonary oedema caused by fluid accumulation in her lungs, coupled with severe brain damage.

To put it into perspective, the lethal dose of salt ranges from 0.75 to 4 grams per kilogram of body weight.

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This means that an average person weighing about 68 kilograms would need to consume 135 grams of salt, equivalent to around 7.5 tablespoons.

A cup of soy sauce contains roughly 14 grams of salt, highlighting the risk posed by unchecked consumption.

These cases underline the importance of exercising caution when using soy sauce.

It’s easy to get carried away with seasoning, but it’s crucial to keep the salt content in check.

It’s also vital to resist the urge to drink soy sauce, as the repercussions can be severe, not to mention the unpalatable taste of such large quantities.

While soy sauce remains a beloved culinary enhancer, it’s essential to treat it with respect and moderation.

After all, enjoying your favourite dishes should be a source of pleasure and nourishment, not a potential hazard.

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Written by Cal Gaunt

Cal is a former content editor at IGV who specialised in writing trending and entertainment news. He previously worked as a news reporter at the Lancashire Telegraph and earned an NCTJ in Sports Journalism.