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Soy Allergy Basics

Soy Allergy:

A soy allergy is an immune reaction to soybean proteins. Many babies who are allergic to cow’s milk will also react to soy-based formulas.

Symptoms of soy allergy:

The symptoms of soy allergy can be divided into 3 categories:

  • Gastrointestinal – loose stools or diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain
  • Respiratory – cough, wheeze, asthma, rhinitis (stuffy or runny nose)
  • Skin – hives, swelling, eczema

Anaphylaxis is the most severe allergic reaction, involving every above organ system. It can lead to anaphylactic shock and death. Anaphylaxis due to soy allergy is rare.

The soy-free diet:

Following a soy-free diet requires the elimination of the following types of foods:

  • Soybeans
  • Tofu,
  • Soymilk
  • Soy sauce
  • Soy flour
  • Many milk substitutes
  • For a more detailed list, read the Soy-Free Guide

Soy oil and soy lecithin may not contain any or enough soy protein to cause a reaction, and therefore may be tolerated by soy-allergic individuals. However, products can also be contaminated with soy protein during processing, so a highly sensitive person may still react to products containing these forms of soy.

Nutritional needs:

Soybeans provide calcium, folate and iron, but these nutrients can easily be found in other foods. Therefore, nutrient deficiency is not a concern when eliminating soy from the diet.