An allergic reaction occurs when the body’s immune system, in charge of fighting infection and disease, mistakes a food as harmful and launches an attack against it. Food allergies are more common in children than in adults, and include milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, fish, shellfish, and soy. In adults, the most common food allergies are to shellfish, peanuts and tree nuts. According to The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, allergy sufferers may experience breathing problems, hives, vomiting and diarrhea.
Prevalence of Soy Allergy:
Few Americans actually suffer from a soy allergy. Even in infancy and childhood, when it is more common, the FDA estimates soy allergies are limited to 0.2 percent of children. Furthermore, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology most children outgrow allergies to soy and other allergens such as eggs, milk, and wheat, especially if the allergy occurs before three years of age. In contrast, allergies to peanuts, nuts, fish and shellfish usually persist into adulthood.
If You Have An Allergy:
- Read the food label!
- Companies are required to list any of the eight major food allergens that may appear in the food on the ingredient panel.
- Just ask!
- When you eat at a restaurant, tell your server that you have a food allergy to ensure that your order does not contain the allergen.
Use Soy as an Alternative for Dairy Allergies and Lactose Intolerance:
Soy foods provide a wide range of alternatives for people with allergies to the protein in milk or lactose intolerance. Soymilk, soy yogurt, frozen soy desserts, and soy cheese can add flavorful substitutes to dairy products.
Use Soy In Place of Peanuts:
Soy nut butter can be used in place of peanut butter for sandwiches and cooking. Many schools and summer camps use soy nut butter to accommodate children with peanut allergies. Soy nut are also a great substitute for peanuts and are available in a variety of flavors.
Studies show that soy-allergic individuals can safely eat refined soybean oil. Processing soybeans using the hot-solvent extraction method extracts the oil from the soybean and discards the soy proteins, the actual allergens. Some processing techniques (i.e., cold pressed, expeller pressed, or extruded oil) may not completely remove all of the allergens from the soy oil and may need to be avoided.
Think you may have a soy allergy?
The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network suggests seeking the help of your doctor or registered dietitian. Health professionals can pinpoint problems quickly and coach you on healthy alternatives.