Soy Allergy


Soy AllergyA soy allergy is an abnormal response of the body to the proteins found in soy. Soybeans are classified as a legume. Other foods in the legume family are navy, kidney, string, black and pinto beans, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), lentils, carob, licorice, and peanuts. Allergy to one legume can often be in association with sensitivity to another legume.

What Items on a Food Label Contain Soybeans?

The following ingredients contain soy and should be avoided if one has soy allergies:

  • Soy sauce
  • Soy flour
  • Soy Grits
  • Soy Nuts
  • Soy Milk
  • Soy sprouts
  • Miso
  • Tempeh
  • Shoyu sauce
  • Textured vegetable protein (TVP)
  • Tofu
  • Tarmari

Label Ingredients That May Indicate the Presence of Soy Protein

  • Hydrolyzed plant protein
  • Hydrolyzed soy protein
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • Vegetable broth
  • Vegetable starch
  • Vegetable gum
  • Natural flavoring

Studies show that some people who are allergic to soy may safely eat soy lecithin and soy oil. Soy lecithin is a mix of fatty contents obtained from the processing of soybeans. The majority of soy allergic persons do not have trouble with soy lecithin.

Soy Avoidance Diet

Food Group:  Breads & Starches
Food Allowed:  Breads, crackers, waffles, pancakes and other baked goods not containing soy Commercial cereals not containing soy ingredients.  Potato chips or popcorn cooked in soy oil.  Plain macaroni, soy-free noodles, rice, barley, rye, wheat, oats,  grits, potato, sweet potato
Food Not Allowed:  Breads, crackers, cakes, rolls, or pastries containing peanuts, peanut oil, or soy flour.  Process and “natural “ cereals which contain soy ingredients.  Soy pasta, instant potatoes, canned and dry pizza mixes


Food Group:  Vegetables
Food Allowed:  Fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables (except those listed as not allowed) without sauces or breading containing soy ingredients
Food Not Allowed:  Soy beans, soybean sprouts.  Any vegetables prepared with sauces or breading containing soy products


Food Group:  Fruit
Food Allowed:  All fresh, frozen, or canned fruits and juices process without soy products
Food Not Allowed:  Fruit drink mixed or sauces/toppings for fruit which contain soy ingredients


Food Group:  Beverages
Food Allowed:  Soft drinks, tea, coffee, fruit juice
Food Not Allowed:  Soy-based formulas, coffee substitutes with soy, instant coffee, hot cocoa mixes, malt beverages, fruit drink mixes made with soy ingredients


Food Group:  Meat & Meat Substitutes
Food Allowed:  Any fresh or frozen beef, chicken, lamb, pork, turkey, veal, or fish served without prepackaged sauces, breading, or gravy
Food Not Allowed:  Pork link sausage, deli/luncheon meats made with soy.  Commercially prepared meats where soy is used as a meat extender.  Meat or cheese substitutes which contain soy: tofu/bean curd, natto, miso Textured vegetable protein (TVP)


Food Group:  Milk & Milk Products
Food Allowed:  Milk, cheese, cottage cheese, or yogurt without soy products
Food Not Allowed:  Milk drinks or milk substitutes that contain soy, nondairy creamers


Food Group:  Soups & Combination Foods
Food Allowed:  Homemade soups and commercial soups that do not contain soybeans
Food Not Allowed:  Soy is used in many canned soups, commercial entrees, and combination foods


Food Group:  Desserts & Sweets
Food Allowed:  Ice cream, gelatin, cookies made without soy ingredients
Food Not Allowed:  Baked goods, such as cakes or cookies which contain soy flour.  Soy products may be used in some commercial ice creams and other frozen desserts.  Hard candies, nut candies, fudge, and caramels made with soy flour


Food Group:  Fats & Oils
Food Allowed:  Butter, margarines, shortening
Food Not Allowed:  Margarine and butter substitutes. Some salad dressings, mayonnaise, sauces, or gravies containing soy products.  Roasted soybeans or “soy nuts”


Food Group:  Condiments & Miscellaneous
Food Allowed:  Sugar, honey, molasses, catsup, mustard, jelly, jam, plain sugar candies, syrup, picklesHomemade popcorn popped with corn or canola oil, rice cakes
Food Not Allowed:  Commercial vegetarian products and meat substitutes. Heinz Worcestershire sauce, Lea & Perrins sauce, fermented soybean pastes (miso and natto).  Soy sauce, tamari sauce, granola, or breakfast bars made with soy.  Imitation bacon bits made with soy.

A Word of Caution about Soy Allergy and Allergies to Other Foods

Food manufacturers may occasionally change the ingredients in the product without warning. It is a good idea to always read the product label before using it. It is much easier to prevent a food-allergic reaction than to treat one.



Recommended Reading for Food Allergies
Helpful Food Allergy Video Resources


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