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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.

To prevent a reaction, it is very important that you avoid soy and soy products. Always read food labels and ask questions about ingredients before eating a food that you have not prepared yourself. Soy is one of the eight allergens that fall under the labeling requirements of the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) of 2004. This means that manufacturers of packaged food items sold in the United States and containing soy or a soy-based ingredient must state, in clear language, the presence of soy in the product. If you do not know what is in the food, do not give it to your child.

Soybeans are classified as a legume. Other foods in the legume family are beans, peas, lentils, and peanuts. People with soy allergy may wonder if they should also avoid peanuts – another legume that is a common allergy trigger. The answer is “not necessarily.” They are separate foods and their allergen triggers are unrelated. Those allergic to soy are no more likely to be allergic to peanuts than they would be to another food. Talk to your allergist if you have questions.

Soy or derivatives of soy are found in some infant formulas, canned broths, soups, canned tuna, processed meats and hot dogs, energy bars, baked goods, and many other processed foods. Soy also is a common ingredient in Asian cuisine and is sometimes contained in chicken nuggets, low-fat peanut butter, alternative nut butters and even vodka.

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 ("edamame"), 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
  • natto
  • shoyo sauce
  • soy flour
  • soy grits
  • soy nuts
  • soy milk
  • soy sprouts
  • soy protein concentrate
  • soy protein isolate
  • soy sauce
  • soya
  • Tamari
  • 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 or highly refined soy oils. But, avoid cold pressed, expelled, or extruded soy oil – sometimes called gourmet oils. These ingredients are different and are not safe to eat if you have a soy allergy.
  • Contact the company to identify the natural flavorings in foods (as these can be soy based). Ask if they use soy as a carrier protein for the natural flavoring.  
  • 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

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: 11/2017