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Soy Allergy Diet

General Guidelines for Food Allergies

An allergy free diet avoids all food you are allergic to. The food you are allergic to is called an allergen. Even tiny amounts of allergens can be life threatening.

The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) is a law that requires food makers to list common food allergens on food labels in simple terms. Food allergens that must be listed are: milk, egg, peanut, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat, and soy. All food must be labeled. The law does not have rules for labeling foods that may contain or may have touched an allergen. This can make it hard to know if the food is safe. If you do not know what is in the food, do not give it to your child. It can be helpful to call the company that makes the food. Ask them how they prepare their product and ask if there is a chance it may contain or have come in contact with the food your child is allergic to.

Try to prepare baked goods, sauces, soups, and casseroles “from scratch” yourself as often as you can. The Food Allergy Network (1-800-929-4040/ www.foodallergy.org) has many good and easy to make allergy free recipes that will give your child many safe food choices. They also will let you know if the food company has changed their products or if they have things that are not listed on their labels. Always read the label on each food each time you buy it. Call the company that makes the food if you are not sure what is in their product.

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. Sensitivity to peanuts is the most common, but soybean sensitivity is also common. If your child is sensitive to one legume he/she may also be sensitive to others.

FoodsAllowedNot Allowed
Breads & Starches
  • Breads, baked goods, cereals not containing soy ingredients
  • Potato chips or popcorn cooked in soy oil
  • Plain macaroni, rice, barley, rye, wheat, oats or grits
  • Breads, crackers, cakes, rolls, or pastries containing peanuts, peanut oil, soy flour
  • Process and “natural“ cereals which contain soy ingredients
  • Soy pasta
  • Fresh, frozen or canned vegetables (excepts those listed as not allowed) without sauces or breading containing soy ingredients
  • Soy beans, soybean sprouts
  • Any vegetables prepared with sauces or breading containing soy products
  • All fresh, frozen or canned fruits and juices process without soy products
  • Fruit drink mixed or sauces/toppings for fruit which contain soy ingredients
  • Soft drinks
  • Tea, coffee
  • Fruit juice
  • Soy-based formulas, coffee substitutes with soy, instant coffee, hot cocoa mixes, malt beverages, fruit drink mixes made with soy ingredients
Meat & Meat Substitutes
  • Any fresh or frozen beef, chicken , lamb, pork, turkey, veal or fish served without prepackaged sauces, breading, or gravy
  • 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)
Milk & Milk Products
  • Milk, cheese, cottage cheese or yogurt without soy products
  • Milk drinks or milk substitutes that contain soy
Soups & Combination Foods
  • Homemade soups and commercial soups that do not contain soybeans
  • Soy are used in many canned soups, commercial entrees, and combination foods
Desserts & Sweets
  • Ice cream, gelatin, cookies made without soy ingredients
  • Baked goods, such as cakes, 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
Fats & Oils
  • Butter, margarines, shortening
  • Margarine and butter substitutes
  • Some salad dressings, mayonnaise, sauces or gravies containing soy products
  • Roasted soybeans or “soy nuts”
Condiments & Miscellaneous
  • Sugar, honey, molasses, catsup, mustard, jelly, jam, plain sugar candies, syrup, pickles
  • 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

How to read a label for a soy-free diet

AVOID foods that contain any of these ingredients:

  • hydrolyzed soy protein
  • miso
  • shoyo sauce
  • soy flour
  • soy grits
  • soy nuts
  • soy milk
  • soy sprouts
  • soy protein concentrate
  • soy protein isolate
  • soy sauce
  • tempeh
  • textured vegetable protein (TVP)
  • tofu

Ingredients that MAY indicate the presence of soy protein:

  • flavorings
  • hydrolyzed plant protein
  • hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • natural flavoring
  • vegetable broth
  • vegetable gum
  • vegetable starch
  • Most people with soy allergy may safely eat products that contain soy lecithin and soy oils. These substances are fat based, and people with allergies react to the protein portion of the food.
  • Contact the company to identify the natural flavorings in foods. Ask it they use soy as a carrier protein for the natural flavoring.
  • Flavorings may be soy based.
  • Hydrolyzed plant and hydrolyzed vegetable protein are likely to be soy.
  • Contact the company to identify the vegetable broths, gums, and starches, as they have the potential to be soy.

For an updated list of further information, call the Food Allergy Network at 1-800-929-4040 or visit their website at www.foodallergy.org.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.

Reviewed: 11/06