Soy allergies are a common occurrence these days. Probably that is because soy constitutes our diets in many ways. People who are allergic to the protein present in soya develop ‘soy allergy’ as their immune system response. It usually happens to kids. Some kids overgrow it with time while others do not. Soybeans are legumes, a diet known for richness in proteins. People opt a soy free diet and they think that eliminating soy from their diet also means the elimination of proteins and other nutrients. You can always substitute soy for other protein-rich foods, and you still can live a healthy life.

Symptoms of soy allergy can range from diarrhoea, hives, itching, nausea, vomiting, swelling of lips, tongue or throat and blood or mucus in stool. Sometimes it can be mild and sometimes it can be life threatening which is rare.

A Soy Free Diet

To stop an allergic reaction, it is better you avoid food with soy and its products. Although, it may not seem easy at first since soy is present in many commercially created products and in restaurants for making a variety of cuisines. However, you can still make a strict approach towards eliminating it from your diet regime.

Foods to Avoid

Some form of soy is mostly present in many foods mildly. Food companies do not always mention soy simply as ‘soy’ but with other names as well. Below is the list of probable food items containing soy and the names used for soy variants:

  • Hydrolyzed soy protein
  • Soy sauce
  • Soy fibre
  • Edamame
  • Soy nuts
  • Soy protein isolate
  • Natto
  • Soy albumin
  • Soy cheese
  • Shoyo sauce
  • Soy flour
  • Soy grits
  • Tamari
  • Soy protein concentrate
  • Soybean (curd, granules)
  • Textured vegetable protein (TVP)
  • Cold-pressed, expelled or extruded soy oil
  • Miso
  • Soya
  • Soybean (curd, granules)
  • Tempeh
  • Tofu
  • Soy milk
  • Soy sprouts
  • Kinako
  • Kouridofu
  • Kyodofu
  • Textured soy flour (TSF)
  • Textured soy protein (TSP)
  • Mono- and diglycerides
  • MSG (monosodium glutamate)
  • Yakidofu
  • Yuba
  • Asian cuisines such as Korean, Japanese, Thai, or Chinese
  • Soy yoghurt
  • Soy ice cream

Check before Eating

There will not necessarily be any soy allergens present in the following foods but always check for these on labels beforehand:

  • Baked goods
  • Cereals, cookies, crackers
  • Canned broths and soups
  • High-protein energy bars and snacks
  • Canned tuna and meat
  • Infant formulas
  • Pet food
  • Processed Meats
  • Sauces
  • Soaps and moisturisers
  • Low-fat peanut butter

Tips for avoiding soy foods

Check food labels

Identifying soy names in a food product is not always easy since companies use other names for soy in its place. Make it a habit of knowing and learning all the other names for soy as an ingredient in food products. Always try to avoid those food products that do not have any labels on it. You do not want any unnecessary trouble heading your way.

Soy Lecithin

Some people can eat products with soy lecithin and soy oil normally. However, people too sensitive might experience some symptoms with these as well.

Environmental Sources

Soy free diet alone is not enough for you to stay away from soy. Soy is not only present in food items but also in other environmental things too such as products for shower, lip balms or cosmetics, medications. So be careful about that.

Allergy Cross-Reactivity

Since soy comes from a family of legumes, you might develop an allergy from proteins present in other legumes as well. It is not essential that you will experience allergy through all the legumes.

However, if you experience any allergy related symptoms while consuming any legumes, see to it if it is because of that legume and not soy. Such other legumes could be beans, peas or peanut.

Other protein sources

If you are going for soy free diet then substitute your protein intake from soy with protein-rich diets such as dairy and meat, eggs, vegetables, beans (if you are not allergic to it), nuts and whole wheat.

Eating out

Plan your meals well when you plan to go out. Check in with the restaurants beforehand if they can provide you meals as a soy free diet.