Soy Allergy Diet

General guidelines for soy allergy

The key to an allergy-free diet is to avoid all foods or products containing the food to which you are allergic. A soy allergy is an abnormal response of the body to the proteins found in soy. Soybeans are classified as a legume. Other foods in the legume family are navy, kidney, string, black and pinto beans, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), lentils, carob, licorice, and peanuts. Sensitivity to one legume can often be in association with sensitivity to another legume.

The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 requires U.S. manufacturers of packaged food items to state clearly on the label if it contains soy or a soy-based ingredient.

Foods Allowed Not allowed
Breads & starches
  • Breads, baked goods, cereals not containing soy ingredients
  • Potato chips or popcorn cooked in soy oil (Note: Most soy oil does not contain soy protein, which causes soy allergy, because the soy protein is removed during processing. Thus, soy oil generally does not cause allergy symptoms. However, those with soy allergies should check with their doctors about consuming products containing soy oil or processed with soy oil.)
  • Plain macaroni, rice, barley, rye, wheat, oats, or grits
  • Breads, crackers, cakes, rolls, or pastries containing peanuts, peanut oil, soy flour
  • Processed and "natural" cereals that contain soy ingredients
  • Soy pasta
  • Fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables (except those listed as not allowed) without sauces or breading containing soy ingredients
  • Soybeans, soybean sprouts
  • Any vegetables prepared with sauces or breading containing soy products
  • All fresh, frozen, or canned fruits and juices processed without soy products
  • Fruit drink mixes, sauces or toppings for fruit that 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 that 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 is 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 or cookies, that 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 Some Worcestershire and other sauces, 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

  • Edamame

  • Natto

  • Soy albumin

  • Soy cheese

  • Soy fiber

  • Soy yogurt

  • Soy ice cream

  • Soy bean (curd, granules)

  • Shoyo sauce

  • Soy flour

  • Soy grits

  • Soy nuts

  • Soy milk

  • Soy sprouts

  • Soy protein concentrate

  • Soy protein isolate

  • Soy protein hydrolyzed

  • Soy sauce

  • Tamari

  • Tempeh

  • Textured vegetable protein (TVP)

  • Tofu

Other possible sources of soy or soy products

  • Asian cuisine

  • Flavorings

  • Hydrolyzed plant protein

  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein

  • Natural flavoring

  • Vegetable broth

  • Vegetable gum

  • Vegetable starch 

  • Flavorings may be soy-based

  • Vitamin E contains soybean oil

  • Hydrolyzed plant and hydrolyzed vegetable protein are likely to be soy

Contact the manufacturer to identify the natural flavorings in foods. Ask if soy is used as a carrier protein for the natural flavoring.

Contact the company to identify the vegetable broths, gums, and starches, as they have the potential to be soy.

Please note: The risk for an allergic reaction to soy lecithin and soy oils is low, but a reaction can occur. Studies show that most people who have an allergy to soy may eat products that contain soy lecithin and soy oils. This is because these substances are fat-based, and people with allergies react to the protein portion of the food. 

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