Foods You Didn’t Know Contain Soy
More and more people are developing Soy allergies. Anyone with a soy allergy will tell you, it seems like this small legume is in just about everything- and they’re right, it can be in most products but there’s also lots of foods and recipes out there that are soy free- you just have to find them!
In foods they are desirable as they are high in protein and low in carbohydrates, and fats. They supply all 9 essential amino acids, they’re high in vitamins and nutrients, they contain no cholesterol and they are easy to digest. The legumes consistency allows them to be transformed into oils and flours, as well as dairy and meat substitutes. Soy lecithin is often used in chocolate and baked products such as cupcakes and cakes to keep the ingredients from separating. Soyabeans are not expensive to grow and can thrive in a wide variety of climates, this is why they are so desirable for a range of products.
Allergic reactions to soy can differ. Sometimes the same person can react differently at different times. Many reactions to soy are mild and involve only one symptom such as hives on the skin or itchy throat. Other times the reaction can be more severe and involve more symptoms.
Having tested positive with a Soy allergy, I realised I had already been eating some soy based products such as soy sauce and felt fine however, I would sometimes have random reactions to veggi burgers, or some frozen pre-made meals or soups, which I later realised contained a higher concentration of soy than the soy sauce I had used. Unsure if I could eat soy or not I tried soy milk and tofu (soy based protein) and experienced a mild reaction with one symptom such as an ichy throat.
After experiencing a number of reactions with foods that didnt contain my main allergen, nuts, I realised they must have a high soy content. This led me to investigate products further and I discovered some other foods that I had no idea contained soy so I felt it right to share this with the allergy community.
Sauces/ Dressings & Dips
- Salad Dressing- A lot of salad dressings contain soy or soy bean oil.
- Dips & Spread – Peanut Butter, Gravy
- Vegetable oil & Cooking Spray- Olive oil is fine however some vegetable oils that do not list soy as an ingredient can contain soy
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Seasoning mixes & Spices
- Vegetable Starch/ Vegetable Gum/ Vegetable Broth
- Steak Sauce
- Sweet & Sour Sauce
- Bread/ Pancakes – Some breads list soy as an ingredient. Some list vegetable oil as an ingredient which could consist of soy oil among other oils.
- Flour Tortillas
- Crackers – Some brands of crackers contain soy
- Breakfast/Granola Bars & High Protein energy bars and snack
- Fresh Cream
- Some Yogurts
- Non-Dairy Creamers
- Thickening Agents
- Meal Replacement Snacks
- Infant Formula
- Meats – Some meats such as deli meats bacon, ham, sausage contain soy. Canned meat and tuna may contain soy. Meats or Turkey that have an ingredient list with “natural flavours added” may contain soy.
- Burgers – Some Hamburgers and veggie burgers and meat substitutes contain soy protein.
- Canned broth and Soup
- Some Fruit & Vegetables – Some are coated with a waxy coating that is almost pure soy. Often apples are sprayed with soy oil to make them look more appealing and shinier so make sure to peel the fruit or Veg before eating however, it is possible that some soy has been absorbed into the food. Opt for fruits and vegetables that have not been treated, or buy from a farmers market- the fruits and vegetables may not look as attractive as the glossy ones in the stores, but they will be safer for you to eat. Frozen Veg or Canned Veg are better options as they are usually soy-free. Check ingredients first.
- Frozen Pre-made meals – Almost always contain some form of soy, but soy may not always be listed as an ingredient. Three ingredients to watch out for and avoid… natural flavour, vegetable oil, and vegetable broth. Almost without exception these terms mean soy.
- Crisps/Chips/ Pretzels
- Cookies/biscuits – Lots of biscuits contain soy such as Oreos. Goldfish cookies
- Baking products and mixes – Cakes & brownies
- Chewing Gum
- Energy Drinks
- Hot Chocolate
- Coffee Substitutes
- Drink Mixes
Soy Foods to Stay Away From
- Soy sauce and shoyu sauce
- Soy-based fiber, flour, grits, nuts, or sprouts
- Soy-based milk, yogurt, ice cream, or cheese
- Soy protein
- Textured vegetable protein (TVP)
- Soy Oil
- Soy Lecithin
- Soy Albumin
- Canned and Frozen Oriental Style Vegetables/Canned and Frozen Vegetables in Sauces
- Soy-Containing macaroni, noodles, pasta, rice, instant potatoes, canned and dry pizza mixes
- Teriyaki Sauce
- Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) found in frozen patties, lunch meats, hot dogs, sausage, cheese, canned tuna in vegetable oil
- Check ingredients for possible soy in tea bags
Ingredients that may Indicate Soy is Present
- Glycine max
- Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP)
- Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
- Vegetable Starch
- Vegetable Gum
- Vegetable Broth
- Natural Flavoring
- Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
- Hydrolyzed Soy Protein
- Hydrolyzed Plant Protein
- Natural Flavorings
- Thickening Agents
- Liquid Smoke
- Vitamin E
- Citric Acid
- Guar Gum
- Vegetable Gum
- Protein Isolates
- Protein Concentrate
- Vegetable Oil
Soy Free Foods
(ALWAYS Check the Label BEFORE Eating)
- Whole Grain Breads, Crackers, Waffles, Pancakes not containing soy flour or soy milk
- Cereals Not Containing Soy
- Rice Milk
- Oat Milk
- Coconut Milk
- Culinary Coconut Milk (in BPA-free cans)
- Alternative Flours such as Almond Flour, Coconut Flour
- Soy-Free Pasta
- Fresh and Frozen Vegetables without Soy Dressings
- Fresh and Frozen Fruit without Soy Additives
- Cheese, Milk, Yogurt without Soy Additives
- Lean Meats, Cheeses, Eggs
- All Nuts except Soy Nuts
- Ice Cream, Sauces, Pies, Cakes, Frosting without Soy Additives
- Jelly, Jam, Date Syrup, Coconut Sugar, Honey
- Organic Popcorn (buy organic because corn is a highly GMO food when it’s not organic)
- Candy without Soy Additives
Depending on the severity of your allergy you may be able to eat many of the products thatcontain soy listed above if they have a very low soy content. I have had a skin prick test and blood test for my allergies and soy flagged up as an allergen for me however I can eat the majority of foods above with soy labelled as an ingredients safely however I would experience a reaction with the foods with higher soy content such as soy milk, tofu, veggie burgers. So ultimately you know best what you can and can’t eat- you’re the expert of your own allergies. If in doubt speak with your doctor about your allergies.