About 15 million Americans have food allergies, soy being one of the most common. Soy is one of eight types of food that make up 90 percent of food allergies. Soy allergies are normally developed during childhood and sometimes people outgrow them with age.
The most common allergic reactions to soy include a rash, hives, itching around the mouth and swelling of the lips, face, tongue and throat. Anaphylaxis can occur with soy allergies, and more likely to occur with someone who has asthma and/or additional food allergies. Anaphylaxis symptoms can include throat swelling, difficulty breathing, lowered blood pressure, fast pulse, dizziness, and warm, red skin.
If you have a soy allergy (or other food allergy), check labels each time you buy groceries, as ingredients can change. The US requires ‘soy’ to be on product labels, so always double check the label if you are unsure. If product labels have ‘Glycine max,’ ‘Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP),’ ‘textured vegetable protein (TVP)’, ‘Monodiglyceride,’ or ‘Monosodium glutamate (MSG),’ the item may contain soy. If you are out to eat, let your server know about your allergies, and ask about ingredients and how the food is cooked.
Foods that contain soy include: soy milk, soy cheese, soy ice cream, soy yogurt, cereal, tofu, soy sauce, miso, edamame, vegetable oil, vegetable broth and more. Soy can also be found in foods you wouldn’t expect, such as: baked goods, canned tuna, protein bars, frozen dinners, mayonnaise, salad dressing, gravy and meats.
If you are concerned about food allergies, schedule an appointment with an Allergist to be tested. If you have symptoms after eating certain foods, keep a food diary of what you ate and the symptoms you had. There is no cure for food allergies, however, your Allergist may prescribe an antihistamine and Epi-pen depending on the type of allergy and your medical history. Knowing what you are allergic to and what to avoid is the first step to living symptom free!