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Living with Soy Allergy: Management, Diet and Nutrition Tips

Team AckoDec 11, 2023

Soy allergy is a growing concern for many people. While there is sadly no cure for a soy allergy, with proper awareness and knowledge of the condition, affected individuals can lead safe and healthy life. Thus, this article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of soy allergy, including the symptoms, triggers, avoidance measures, treatment options, and much more.

soy-allergy

Contents

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What is Soy Allergy?

Soy allergy, also known as soybean allergy, is a common food allergy that affects many individuals worldwide. It is triggered by the consumption of soybeans or food products derived from soy. An allergic reaction occurs when a person’s immune system mistakenly identifies the harmless soy proteins as something harmful and releases histamine and other chemicals in response, as a defense mechanism.

Signs and Symptoms of Soy Allergy

The signs and symptoms of a soy allergy may vary in severity and may range from mild reactions such as hives (red, itchy wheals) to more severe reactions such as anaphylaxis (a life-threatening, multi-organ reaction). Common signs and symptoms include:

  • Hives or generalized itching

  • Swelling of the skin around the mouth, throat, eyes, or face

  • Coughing, wheezing, or shortness of breath

  • Vomiting or nausea

  • Stomach pain, cramps, or nausea

  • Diarrhea

  • Dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness

  • Low blood pressure

  • Redness of the skin

In some cases, symptoms such as skin rashes, conjunctivitis (eye inflammation) and/or dysuria (painful urination) may also occur.

Triggers of Soy Allergy

The most common trigger for soy allergy is consuming soy products, or foods that contain soy. However, individuals who are allergic to soy can also be triggered by environmental exposure to soy, such as contact with the skin or inhaling soy particles from cooking fumes. Some medications, supplements, and products such as cosmetics, may also contain traces of soy.

Foods to Avoid

Due to the pervasive presence of soy in many processed and packaged foods, those with a soy allergy have to be extra vigilant when shopping. There are many products that contain hidden sources of soy, such as:

  • Mock meats

  • Baked goods

  • Canned soups and broths

  • Cereal, granola, and energy bars

  • Protein shake mixes and supplements

  • Chocolate and candy

  • Sauces (e.g. teriyaki, barbecue, and chili sauce)

  • Crackers and chips

  • Flavored coffees and teas

  • Nut milks and cheeses

  • Mayonnaise and salad dressings

  • Gravies and marinades

  • Vegetarian recipes

Treatment and Management of Soy Allergy

The best way to manage a soy allergy is by avoiding all forms of soy. Depending on its severity, a soy allergy may be managed with antihistamines, decongestants, epinephrine, and/or steroids. It is also important to recognize the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis so that medical help can be sought in time.

Who’s at Risk of Soy Allergy?

Soy allergy typically arises in early childhood and mostly affects infants and children (though it can affect adults as well). It is estimated that 2-3% of children may develop a soy allergy, but it is even rarer in adults.

In addition, those suffering from other allergies such as peanut allergies are more likely to have an allergy to soy. Likewise, those with atopic dermatitis (eczema) or asthma may be at an increased risk of developing a soy allergy.

Diagnosing Soy Allergy in India

A soy allergy can be safely and accurately diagnosed with the help of a doctor. A skin prick test or a blood test (called a radioallergosorbent test, or RAST) is usually done to diagnose a soy allergy. If a doctor suspects that a person is allergic to soy, they should avoid consuming products containing soy until a diagnosis is made.

Long-term Prognosis of Treating Soy Allergy

Although there is no cure for soy allergy, it can usually be managed through avoidance of soy products. It is important to understand, however, that allergies can change over time. So, it is possible that some individuals may outgrow a soy allergy, while a few others may develop it. To prevent serious allergies, people with a family history of allergies should avoid soy as much as possible.

Conclusion

Soy allergy is a common food allergy, which can cause severe allergic reactions if not managed properly. While there is no cure for a soy allergy, it can be managed with an avoidance diet and other treatments. In addition, proper awareness of the signs and symptoms of a soy allergy can help prevent serious allergic reactions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the commonly asked questions about soy allergy and their answers.

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What are some common foods that contain soy?

Common foods that contain soy include mock meats, baked goods, canned soups, energy bars, sauces, gravies and marinades, and vegetarian recipes.

What are the signs and symptoms of soy allergy?

The signs and symptoms of soy allergy may range from mild reactions such as hives (red, itchy wheals) to more severe reactions such as anaphylaxis (a life-threatening, multi-organ reaction). Common signs and symptoms include hives or generalized itching, swelling of the skin around the mouth and throat, coughing, wheezing, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, and low blood pressure.

How is soy allergy diagnosed?

A soy allergy is typically diagnosed through a skin prick test or a blood test, called a radioallergosorbent test (RAST). If a doctor suspects a soy allergy, it is important to have a diagnosis made before consuming any soy-containing product.

How can soy allergy be managed?

The most effective way to manage a soy allergy is by avoiding all forms of soy. For severe allergies, antihistamines, decongestants, epinephrine, and/or steroids may also be prescribed for proper management.

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