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Living With a Soy Allergy

If all you needed to do for a soy allergy was skip the soy sauce and tofu, it would be a breeze! But soybeans are a big part of processed foods too. Keep this soy food cheat sheet handy to protect yourself or your child from an allergic reaction.

Soy Foods to Stay Away From

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  • Edamame
  • Miso
  • Natto
  • Soy sauce and Shoyu sauce
  • Soy fiber, soy flour, soy grits, soy nuts, or soy sprouts
  • Soy milk, soy yogurt, soy ice cream, or soy cheese
  • Soy protein
  • Tamari
  • Tempeh
  • Textured vegetable protein (TPV)
  • Tofu

Foods That May Contain Soy

  • Baked goods (breads, cookies, and crackers)
  • Canned broth and soup
  • Canned tuna and meat
  • Cereals
  • High-protein energy bars and snacks
  • Infant formula
  • Low-fat peanut butter
  • Processed meats, like deli meats
  • Vegetable oil
  • Worcestershire sauce

Other Names That May Mean Soy Ingredients

  • Glycine max
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP)
  • Mono-diglyceride
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG)

3 Tips for Soy Allergies

  • Always read labels. In the U.S., "soy" must be listed on the label of foods that have it in it.
  • Be careful about eating at Asian restaurants. Even if you order a soy-free dish, you could still be exposed because soy is used so often in Asian cooking.
  • Ask your doctor about soy oil and lecithin. Studies show that eating soy oil is safe for most people with soy allergies. Soy lecithin -- often used in chocolate candy, peanut butter, and margarine -- is also safe for many people. Your allergist can help you figure out if they are safe for you.  

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD on October 25, 2012
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