There is no sure way to prevent a food allergy from occurring. But if you have an infant, breast-feeding instead of using a soy-based or milk-based formula may help. Breastfeed for at least the first four months to reduce the risk of food allergies and for other health benefits.

If you know you're allergic to soy, the only sure way to avoid an allergic reaction is to avoid soy products. It's not always easy to know which foods contain soy, however, and it's a commonly used ingredient in many foods.

Try to learn as much as you can about what you're eating and drinking. Be sure to read food labels carefully. Because soybeans and peanuts contain common allergy-causing components, you may also need to avoid peanuts as well. Some processed soy foods, such as soy oil or soy sauce, may not cause a reaction because processing removes certain allergy-causing proteins.

Soy milk, edamame, tofu and other soy products have become more popular because of their apparent health benefits. Soy may be called any of the following on a product label:

  • Soy
  • Soya
  • Soybeans
  • Glycine max
  • Edamame

But soy is also a common ingredient in other food products, and it's not always easy to know if a product contains soy. It's used in meat products and meat substitutes, baked goods, candies, ice creams and desserts, condiments, butter substitutes, and in other foods.

Products with soy as a main ingredient

  • Tofu
  • Miso
  • Natto
  • Tempeh

Hidden sources of soy products

  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP)
  • Textured vegetable protein (TVP)
  • Lecithin
  • Monodiglyceride
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • Vegetable oil
  • Vitamin E

Also, check for the statement "contains soy" on the product label.

May. 20, 2011