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Soy free diet

Related Terms

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Background

  • The soy free diet is a way of eating that does not include soy or soy derivatives, such as tofu, tempeh, and miso. Usually, an individual will adopt a soy free diet to test for, or after discovering that they have, a soy allergy. Soy contains estrogen-like isoflavones, called phytoestrogens. The exact mechanism of these constituents is not clear. Soy may be beneficial in individuals with low estrogen levels, particularly post-menopausal women.
  • Soy has been a dietary staple to many Eastern cultures for thousands of years. Recently adopted into Western culture, soy offers many documented benefits including cholesterol reduction, improving thyroid function and weight control.
  • However, the World Health Organization includes soy in a list of the eight most significant food allergens. The incidence of allergy to soy is estimated to be 6%, but this is thought to be an underestimate due to difficulty in recognizing the symptoms of allergy. Soy allergy typically manifests in asthma-like breathing problems and skin rashes. In older adults, soy intolerant symptoms may include bloating, nausea, constipation, migraine headache, acne or eczema-like skin conditions, fatigue, and weakness.
  • At least 16 potential soy protein allergens have been identified, but the clinical relevance is unknown. Those most commonly affected are infants and young children with serious allergies to peanuts. Soymilk is often used as an alternative to cow's milk in lactose intolerant or allergic infants, however some potential exists for allergic cross reactivity.
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Diet Outline

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Theory/Evidence

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Safety

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.