According to a recent news article, research out of Illinois and Madrid shows that fermenting soybeans reduces the allergenicity of the beans by breaking down the proteins into small pieces so that they don’t provoke an allergic reaction. This research suggests that soy products in the future could be made to be hypoallergenic, allowing allergic individuals to eat them.
What is not clear from the article is if the fermentation process has to be done with specific bacteria (the bacteria that was used in the study) in order to break down the proteins, or any bacteria. There are already soy products that are fermented — soy sauce, miso, tempeh — but to my knowledge soy allergic or intolerant people cannot eat these things.
So, while this study seems promising, the reality is that food producers would have to change their manufacturing processes to include a fermentation step, and perhaps a very specific one. This of course means more time and more money on the part of the manufacturers… and therefore, we probably will not see this change come about anytime soon, if ever.
Sorry to be seeing half-empty, but I would rather (in the long meantime) see manufacturers take the soy out of their products. It is unbelievable to me how many products contain soy! My daughter has, and I believe I do also, an intolerance to soy, and while it is avoidable, it is just plain annoying how many foods contain soy for no reason (except that it’s cheap). I think it’s time that food manufacturers take responsibility for their ingredients and stop feeding people crap. Seriously. It’s disgusting. Am I right people?
Related reading: Soy Allergy Basics