Soybeans are a species of legume (bean) that are used in various culinary and industrial applications. Soy is a common allergen.

Health considerations

Soy allergy affects roughly 0.4% of children, with roughly 50% of children outgrowing the allergy. This allergy has been shown to cause rhinitis and atopic dermatitis, and has also been linked to cross-reactivity with many foods, including apples and almonds. Studies of soy’s other health effects are inconclusive and dependent on level of processing. Minimally processed soy contains enzymes that impair digestion; it also contains isoflavones, phytoestrogens with hormone-like activity in the body. This has been associated with both positive and negative effects. Processing reduces isoflavone content. See: Phytoestrogens.

Keep in mind

Today 85% of North American soy is genetically modified (GM). Provided that certain soy allergens have been found to be 7 times more abundant in GM soy as compared to organic soy, there may be some association between GM soy and soy allergy. Regardless, studies have yet to demonstrate a causal link between GM soy and soy allergy prevalence.

May be found in

Miso, tempeh, tahini, edamame, canned soybeans, soy flour, soy protein concentrate, vegetable oil, energy bars, soy milk, prepared foods, baked goods


Clinical Reviews in Allergy and Immunology


Food Allergy Research & Education

The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology

The Doctors’ Laboratory

Klinik für Dermatologie, Venerologie und Allergologie

GMO Compass

Biology of Growing Animals

Toxicology Letters

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