Soybeans are legumes, and many people are allergic to more than one type of legume. Soy allergy is caused by an immune reaction to soy proteins.
Allergy to soy protein has many features similar to those of cow's milk protein allergy. In infants, soy allergy can cause loose stools and diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, irritability, crying, intestinal blood loss, anemia, and poor weight gain. Other symptoms include coughing, wheezing, asthma, runny nose, hives, tissue swelling, and eczema.
A totally soy-free diet is essential if an allergy to soy exists or is suspected. If soy proteins in any form are consumed, it is likely that you would have an allergic reaction. An anaphylactic reaction to soy is extremely rare. If you have a soy allergy, you may also want to avoid other legumes such as navy beans, kidney beans, string beans, black beans, pinto beans, chickpeas, lentils, carob and licorice.
reading food labels for soy
Avoid the following foods and ingredients if you are on a soy-free diet:
- Hydrolyzed plant protein (HPP)*
- Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP)*
- Soy products (Soy, Soy albumin, Soy beans, Soy flour, Soy lecithin, Soy milk, Soy nuts, Soy oil, Soy protein, Soy protein isolate, Soy sauce, Soy sprouts, Soy-based infant formulas)
- Textured vegetable protein (TVP)*
- Unspecified sprouts*
- Vegetable broth*
- Vegetable gum*
- Vegetable oil*
- Vegetable paste*
- Vegetable protein*
- Vegetable shortening*
- Vegetable starch*
Be aware that pet foods often contain soy. Keep away from children to prevent accidental ingestion. Some cosmetics contain soy oil and should be avoided.
*These items may not contain soy, but the source is seldom listed on a food label.
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