Hidden Soy

Here is an article for everyone who needs to avoid soy and is unsure as to what ingredients are made from soy.

Pure “Soy” Ingredients

While soy is hidden in many vague lists of ingredients, the most obvious word to watch for is “soy” itself. Some manufacturers and restaurateurs contend that soy oil does not contain soy proteins and so does not present a problem for an allergic response. While this may be the case for some who are allergic to soy, those who are intolerant or sensitive to soy will still need to avoid soy oil and all soy-related ingredients.

Some ingredients including the word soy are: soybean oil, soy sauce, soy curd, soy flour, soy grits, soy nuts, soy milk, soy sprouts, isolated soy protein, soy protein concentrate, hydrolyzed soy protein, textured soy protein, soy meal, soy isolate, soy isoflavones.

For chocoholics, the hardest of these to avoid is soy lecithin, which is used as the emulsifier in most forms of chocolate bars, baking squares and chocolate chips. Sometimes ingredients list only list the word Lecithin. This is usually only derived from soy, and should also be avoided.

Some ingredients that are 100% soy, but may not say so, include: tofu, miso, shoyu, yuba, tamari and edamame.

When Ingredients Lists aren’t specific Enough

Food manufacturers are listing ingredients in increasing detail, but sometimes they will simplify their nutrition facts with general terms (which contain a number of ingredients themselves). These generalized terms which should also be avoided include: akara (bean cakes that may or may not contain soy), margarine, mayonnaise, teriyaki, tempeh, and brand-name low-fat oil, Olean.

“Vegetable Protein” and Other Mysteries

Ingredients including “hydrolyzed vegetable protein” and “textured vegetable protein” generally contain either a form of soy, or gluten, or a combination of the two plant proteins.

Similar mysterious ingredients that frequently (if not always) include soy are: hydrolyzed plant protein, isolated vegetable protein, vegetable gum, vegetable broth, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, isolates, methylcellulose, mono- and diglycerides, vegetable broth, vegetable oil, vegetable protein, vegetable starch, and vegetable fat.
“Natural Flavors” Indicates Soy

Again, because soy can be grown organically, and it is a naturally occurring plant, it is not seen as dishonest labelling practice to include “natural flavors”, or “flavoring” when manufacturers really mean soy.

Unless the ingredient is specified, such as “natural vanilla flavors”, or “natural cocoa flavors”, do not trust this catch-all of ingredient euphemisms. The other vague term, “spices”, however does not usually mean soy at all, and is usually used to preserve the proprietary recipe for the special sauce.

Be Alert for Responses to Other Legumes

Because soy is a member of the legume family, those with food intolerance, allergy or sensitivity to soy should watch carefully for reaction to other legumes such as peanuts, chickpeas, lentils, black beans, and several other kinds of beans.

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