Soy Allergies on the Rise

Posted 8.19.09 | Christine Graham-Garo

We’ve posted before about soy allergies and noted that according to the American Academy of Pediatrics as many as 70% of babies with milk protein allergies are also allergic to soy. Typically, soy allergies are associated with infants who have reactions to soy-based formulas and outgrow the allergy by the time they reach kindergarten.

However, as demand for soy continues to rise and more soy ingredients are being used in processed foods, a growing number of adults are developing soy allergies as well.

Soy is now considered one of the most common potential food allergens — along with peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, milk, eggs, and wheat, but it wasn’t always so. According to, soy allergies increased by 50% in 1996. The reason? While the true cause of such a startling increase is not known, some experts attribute it to a new type of genetically engineered soy that was introduced that year.

Unfortunately, researchers haven't been able to identify exactly what parts of soy cause allergic reactions. Like milk and other common allergens, there are several proteins found in soy that have been shown to be allergenic.

If you or your little one do develop an allergy to soy, make sure to read all labels. Some common ingredients to look for that contain soy include:

  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP)
  • Textured vegetable protein (TVP)
  • Lecithin
  • Monodiglyceride
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • Vegetable oil
  • Vitamin E
  • Natural flavoring
  • Vegetable broth
  • Vegetable gum
  • Vegetable starch
- Christine

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Food Allergy Living is a resource for parents of children with food allergies, brought to you by Nutricia, the makers of Neocate. For more in-depth information about our purpose & authors, see our About Food Allergy Living page.