Worcestershire sauce was first developed in its namesake town in England, way back in 1835. The first company to make this sauce still makes it today. But, there are lots of variations on the market. Today we will focus on the original brand – Lea & Perrins.
Why Is Worcestershire Sauce Not Keto-Friendly?
The ingredients in this sauce include vinegar, molasses, sugar, salt, onions, anchovies, garlic, tamarind, and other seasonings. It’s a fermented sauce, which is what helps give it its funky, “umami” rich flavor.
Worcestershire sauce contains sugar and molasses, which is a byproduct of the process of refining sugar from sugar beets or sugar cane. On a ketogenic diet, consuming sugar can make it more difficult for a person to achieve, or stay in, a ketotic state. Therefore, all foods with simple sugars are restricted on a ketogenic diet and this would include Worcestershire sauce.
Most people who are on a keto diet will only consume about 5% of their total daily caloric intake from carbohydrates. To put this into perspective, if you are on a 1500-calorie ketogenic diet, your carbohydrate goal would be 19 grams of carbohydrates. If you consume more carbohydrates (or sugar), you might find that it takes longer for you to reach (or maintain) ketosis, which is the ultimate goal of this diet. If you eat too much sugar, your body will go back to sugar for energy, instead of fat, and defeat the whole purpose of starting this diet.
Nutritional Content of Worcestershire Sauce
Nutritionally, one tablespoon contains 13 calories, 167 mg of sodium, 3.3 grams of carbohydrates, 1.7 grams of sugar, and no fat or protein. It also contains 18 mg of calcium, 10mg of phosphorus, 136 mg of potassium, and 2 mg of magnesium.3 That means that consuming one tablespoon would already be nearly 20% of your total daily carbohydrate intakes.
Does that seem worth it to you? If so, then you would just need to be aware that you would have to be very diligent about what you ate for the remainder of the day, and know that consuming too much sugar can knock you out of ketosis.
Keto-Friendly Alternatives to Worcestershire Sauce
So…what if you love Worcestershire sauce, and just can’t bear the thought of giving it up on a keto diet?
Well, you can substitute with soy sauce, tamari (gluten-free soy sauce), sugar-free barbeque sauce, or even the liquid from soaking dried porcini mushrooms in hot water. All of these can lend a similar flavor without the added sugar.
The goal of a ketogenic diet is to burn fat for fuel, instead of carbohydrates. Consuming a diet rich in heart-healthy fats, proteins, and non-starchy vegetables can help you reach and maintain ketosis. It’s very important to monitor everything that you are eating, and condiments are no exception.