Soy Allergy Diet
The only proven treatment for a person with food allergies is to avoid all of the food(s) that cause
an allergic reaction. Soy allergy is one of the top 8 food allergies in the United States.
The treatment for soy allergy is to remove all soy protein from the diet. Food labels must be
carefully read, as soybeans are used in a large number of commercial foods. Also, products that
contain soy are becoming more widespread. Soybeans are used in making flours, milks, nuts,
and oils. The soybeans may be powdered, granulated, textured, and coarsely or finely ground.
The Food Allergen and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 require that goods must list ingredients
by their common names for the top 8 allergenic foods. The top 8 allergenic foods in the United
States are eggs, milk, soy, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish. However, it is still very
important to read labels of all food purchased and avoid forms of soy protein.
Label ingredients which may show the presence of soy protein.
Meats containing “vegetable protein” or Soy milk
“textureized vegetable protein” Soy sauce
Hydrolyzed vegetable protein Shoyu sauce
Kinnoko flour Soy sprouts
Kyodofu (freeze-dried tofu) Soy yogurt/cheese
Okara (soy pulp) Tempeh
Soy beans Teriyaki sauce
Soy concentrate Textured soy protein
Soy curds Textured vegetable protein (TVP)
Soy flour Tofu
Soy granules Yakidofu
Soy grits Yuba
Studies show that most soy allergic people may safely eat soybean oil (not cold pressed, expeller
processed or extruded oil) and soy lecithin. Ask your doctor or dietitian if you need to avoid
Label ingredients which may contain soy protein.
Vegetable broth Vegetable gum
Vegetable starch Asian foods
Cow’s milk; coffee; tea; fruit juices;
carbonated beverages; vegetable
Coffee substitutes; drink mixes; non-
dairy creamers (check labels); soymilk;
milk substitutes containing soy.
Breads, crackers, rolls, waffles, and
pancakes that do not contain soy
flour or soy products.
Commercial baked goods containing
soybean flour or soy nuts. Check labels
on breads, breadings, crackers, rolls,
stuffings, pancakes, waffles, etc.
Single grain hot cereals such as
oatmeal or cream of wheat;
commercial cereals that do not
Processed breakfast cereals that contain
soy. Many high protein cereals contain
soy. Read labels carefully.
Homemade desserts including: ice
cream, pastries, puddings, pies,
cakes, doughnuts, frostings, sauces,
toppings and cookies all made
without soy products.
Many commercial desserts including:
cakes, dumplings, ice cream, ice cream
cones, pies, puddings, pastries, frostings,
doughnuts, sauces, cookies, creamy
gelatin desserts and whipped toppings
that contain soy.
Fats and oils
Butter; margarine; all vegetable
oils, most vegetable sprays.
Fats containing soy protein (lecithin and
oil are ok)
Fresh, cooked, canned, or dried
Fruits in fritter, cobblers, and dumplings
containing soy; fruits in sauces with soy.
Meat and meat
Plain meats; all cheeses except
those noted; plain eggs; all nuts
except for soy nuts.
Textured vegetable protein; meat
extenders; soy nuts. Commercial frozen
meat patties, hamburger extenders, lunch
meats, sausage, meat loaf and some
processed cheeses may contain soy. Soy
beans/Edamame, soy cheese, soy yogurt.
Potato or pasta Potatoes; rice; soy-free noodles, and
Soy containing macaroni, noodles,
spaghetti, or other pasta; commercial
pasta in sauces.
Salads and salad
Fresh fruits and vegetables. Soy-
free salad dressings.
Commercial salad dressings that contain
Seasonings Pure spices and herbs. Mixed spices containing soy, soy sauce.
Soups Homemade soups; noodle soups
made with soy-free noodles.
Many commercial soups, canned and dry
mixes, and noodle soups; miso soup;
soups containing tofu.
Sweets All sugars; honey, jam, jelly and
Vegetables Fresh, frozen or canned vegetables
prepared without soy.
Soy sprouts. Commercially prepared
vegetables that are breaded or contain soy
sauce; canned or frozen Asian style
vegetables; canned and frozen vegetables
in any kind of sauce that contains soy.
Examples of soy used in foods
▪ Asian cuisine, including Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Lao, and Korean often contains soy.
▪ Hamburgers and veggie burgers served at some restaurants, fast food chains, and school
lunch programs often contain soy protein.
▪ Veggie burgers and meat substitutes, such as Boca®, Garden®, and Morningstar Farms®
products contain soy protein.
▪ Prepackaged meatloaves and meats with stuffing may contain soy.
▪ Prefried products, purchased in the store or served at a restaurant, are often fried in vegetable
oils that have previously been used to fry foods containing soybean flour or soybean protein.
▪ Soybean flour is often mixed with other flours in commercial products.
▪ Fortified texturized soybeans are often used in vegetarian dishes.
▪ Tofu is made from soybean curd.
▪ The Japanese product “miso” is a paste made from crushed soy, rice, barley, or plum, mixed
with salt and water, and then fermented.
▪ “Natto” is barley miso with ginger added.
Substitutions and Tips
▪ Lecithin, a type of fat, is mostly derived from either soybeans or eggs. If the lecithin is fairly
pure, there is little chance it will contain any soy protein. Lecithin is an emulsifying agent
used in many bakery products, and mixes, and is sold as a liquid or spray for oiling cooking
pans. Manufacturers are not required to list the source of the lecithin on the label of their
products. Often they change the source of the lecithin from egg yolk to soy. It depends on
what is economical at the time.
▪ It is unlikely that a person allergic to soy protein will react to soy oil.
In cooking, you can use substitutes for soybean products
▪ Soy flour – use wheat, rice, oat, barley, or potato flour.
▪ Soybean milk – use cow’s milk, rice or potato milk or any formula that does not contain soy.
▪ Soy miso – use barley, plum or rice miso.
▪ Soy sauce – use pure concentrated beef or chicken broth or flavored salts.
Tips to Follow to Prevent an Allergic Reaction:
▪ Avoid foods that cause a reaction. Sometimes just touching foods can cause a severe
▪ Read the ingredients lists on food labels to make sure allergy-causing foods are present.
Read the list even if you have had the product before. Ingredients may change.
▪ If you are traveling, bring along some of your own special foods.
▪ When eating out, always ask restaurant staff about ingredients in food and how it was
prepared. Ask about oils and the foods fried in them to avoid cross contamination.
▪ Contact food companies if you are unsure of any ingredient on the label.
▪ For infants, elemental formulas or formulas with altered protein should prevent food
reactions. Discuss the various formula options with your doctor or dietitian. Do not assume
products labeled “hypoallergenic” will not cause a reaction.
Food Allergy Association of Wisconsin- www.foodallergywis.org or 608-575-9535
Food Allergy Research and Education – http://www.foodallergy.org or 1-800-929-4040
Kids with Food Allergies-http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org or 215-230-5394 (a great
resource for webinars, product information and updates, recipes and forums)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/foodallergy
What is the most important thing you learned from this handout?
What changes will you make in your diet/lifestyle, based on what you learned today?
If you are a UW Health patient and have more questions please contact UW Health at one of the
phone numbers listed below. You can also visit our website at www.uwhealth.org/nutrition
Nutrition clinics for UW Hospital and Clinics (UWHC) and American Family Children’s
Hospital (AFCH) can be reached at: (608) 890-5500.
Nutrition clinics for UW Medical Foundation (UWMF) can be reached at: (608) 287-2770
The Spanish version of this Health Facts for You is #388
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 10/2015 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Clinical Nutrition Services Department and the
Department of Nursing. HF#272