Soy allergy is more common in children than adults and is often outgrown. Serious reactions to soy, such as anaphylaxis, are not seen as commonly with a soy allergy as they are with other allergens like peanuts. This is interesting because soybeans and peanuts are both legumes and have similar protein structure.
Due to the similarity of the proteins in peanuts and soybeans, allergy tests often give a false positive result for one or the other. For that very reason, we included soy as one of the allergens to avoid in our house for a number of months.
Avoiding soy might seem pretty easy – that is, until you start reading food labels. Then you’ll see that soy isn’t just in tofu and soy milk. It is everywhere!
Soybean Allergy: Ingredients Containing Soy
Soy is often used in foods to make them “high protein”. If you see this claim on food packaging, look closely on the food label. Soy flour or other soy ingredients may have been used.
Watch for these ingredients on food labels if you have a soy allergy:
- Hydrolyzed soy protein
- Miso – a paste made of rice, barley and/or soybeans; used as a seasoning often in Japanese cuisine
- Shoyu sauce – a type of soy sauce
- Soy – flour, albumin, flour, grits, nuts, milk, sprouts
- Soy protein concentrate, soy protein isolate
- Soy sauce
- Soybean, soybean granules, soybean curd
- Tamari – a type of soy sauce, mostly produced in Japan
- Tempeh – similar to tofu
- Texured vegetable protein, aka TVP
The following ingredients may indicate soy:
- Bulking agent
- Guar gum, gum arabic, vegetable gum
- Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
- Hydrolyzed plant protein
- Mono- & di-glycerides
- MSG or monosodium glutamate
- Natural flavoring
- tocopherols/vitamin E
- Vegetable broth, oil, starch
Most people with a soy allergy tolerate soy bean oil, vegetable shortening and hydrogenated oils because the soy protein is removed during processing. Cold pressed or expeller-pressed oils, however, still have the protein intact and should be avoided. If you have a history of anaphylaxis, be cautious with all of these ingredients.
Soybean Allergy: Foods Commonly Containing Soy
Soy is in many, many foods, especially processed foods. Here is a sampling of foods that soy is commonly found in:
- Baby foods, formula, cereals
- Baked goods including cakes, cookies, muffins, breads
- Baking mixes and canned frosting
- Breakfast cereals, instant breakfast drinks
- Breading mixes, stuffing mixes
- Canned puddings
- Canned and packaged dinners like spaghetti or macaroni and cheese
- Canned tuna packed in oil
- Chocolate chips, chocolate bars
- Imitation meats and seafood
- Meat fillers
- Margarine, shortening, cooking spray, vegetable oil
- Snack foods including crackers, chips, pretzels
- Soy and teriyaki sauces
- Soy milk, yogurt, non-dairy creamers
- Tofu, miso, tempeh
- Vitamin supplements
You might also find soy in some non-food items. Here are some to watch for:
- Lip Balms
For soy free recipes, check out the allergy free recipes page!