Avoiding Allergens: Soy

May 15, 2012

Avoiding allergens is always a task when shopping for food, find out where soy is hiding with the SupermarketGuru’s list!

Avoiding allergens is always a task when shopping for prepackaged snacks, treats, and meals and especially when you’re looking for something quick and nutritious on the go.  

Soybeans have become a major part of processed food products and a basic ingredient in some popular chain restaurants and fast food meals in the US. Because of this, avoiding products made with soybeans can be difficult.

Symptoms of soy allergy are typically mild, and can include headache, hives, sleeplessness, feeling of a foggy head, irritability, and more although anaphylaxis is possible. Soybean allergy is one of the more common food allergies, especially among babies and children.

Where are soy products most common?
They can be found in baked goods, canned tuna, cereals, meal replacement bars and drinks, crackers, chips, infant formulas, sauces, and soups. And at least one brand of peanut butter lists soy on the label. Studies demonstrate that most soy-allergic individuals can safely eat soybean oil; this does not include cold pressed, expeller pressed, or extruded soy oil, but this is something that should definitely be discussed with your physician or allergist. Because of this, the FDA exempts highly refined soybean oil from being labeled as an allergen.

How to Read Labels?
Fortunately, all FDA-regulated manufactured food products that contain soy as an ingredient are required by US law to list “soy” on the label.

So what foods or ingredients should you avoid?
Edamame, miso, natto, shoyu, soy (soy albumin, soy cheese, soy fiber, soy flour, soy grits, soyice cream, soy milk,soy nuts, soy sprouts, soy yogurt), soya, soybean (curd, granules), soy protein (concentrate, hydrolyzed, isolate), soy sauce, tamari, tempeh, textured vegetable protein (TVP), and tofu.

Do note that soy is sometimes found in: Asian cuisine, vegetable broth, vegetable gum, and vegetable starch. Most individuals allergic to soy can safely eat soy lecithin - but this definitely depends on the individual.

Keep in mind that allergies are individual and it is important to discuss with your physician how to go about testing various “safe” soy foods so that you can find out what works for you.

The information in this article was provided by the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network.