Soy Allergy – Could You Have One?

I started adding soy protein drinks and soy protein bars as a snack when I read ads that said “Soy Serves Up Healthy Benefits.”

For eight years I complained to doctors that I was always nauseous, bloated and having unusual weight gain.

One night I ate a soy veggie burger and in the morning I was rushed to the emergency room because I thought I was having a heart attack! I went into anaphylactic shock.

Doctors diagnosed food poisoning after four days in the intensive care unit. I didn’t agree and knew something was wrong.

I had no appetite when I came home, and after two weeks I was feeling better, so I had a soy protein drink and within ten minutes started having shortness of breath, palpitations, and anxiety. I looked up soy allergy on the Internet and I had almost every symptom!

That is when I removed all soy products from my diet I lost 32 pounds and have never gained it back.

The problem with a soy allergy is that it’s very challenging going to the grocery store because over 60% of the food on the shelves have some form of soy. You have to know what to look for because it’s hidden in so many ingredients.

If you are experiencing the same symptoms as I did, or just not feeling like yourself, you may have a soy allergy or soy intolerance.

Please feel free to share your experiences and successes with your soy allergy. We can all learn much more on how to prevent years of suffering from each other in the comments below!

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About the Author

Dianne Gregg (94 Posts)

After developing a severe allergy to soy that nearly killed her, Dianne Gregg learned the truth behind this supposed health food. “The Hidden Dangers of Soy” is the culmination of her efforts to educate others on the issue in hopes more will avoid soy’s underreported—yet widely researched—negative health impacts.

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  1. GW GW
    June 10, 2010    

    I found out about 4 years ago that I have a soy allergy. It is VERY tough to find food with out soy. I think you number should be in the 90% in a grocery store has soy. I try to shop at Whole Foods but it is so expensive. I end up cheating and paying for it when I start swelling and breaking out in large hives. I take antihistamine medicine but I don't want to take it forever. Thanks for your site. I have your book, great recipes. Thanks! I try to spread the message about soy when ever I can.

  2. June 10, 2010    

    Thanks for sharing your comment. I know how difficult it is. That's why I cook from scratch so I know what I am getting.

    I really appreciate your support.

  3. July 18, 2010    

    I got off soy this last year and feel great.

    Truth for the Company to put organic seeds in our soil and use natural pest control also.

  4. Katie Katie
    July 19, 2010    

    Thanks for the article Diane! I went through a similar set of circumstances 5 years ago. I decided to go vegan and to supplement my diet with soy protein shakes. I had these shakes for breakfast for only about a month or so. One morning I made my shake as normal and went on my way to work. Apparently that was the bit of soy that sent me over the edge- I went into anaphylactic shock. I've had several reactions since due to my own lack of vigilance (because soy is just about everywhere, as you know) but am now extremely cautious about absolutely everything I eat.

    I just wanted to thank you for getting the word out there about soy's dangerous side. I have never met or come into contact with another person with a soy allergy and at times feel extremely isolated and frustrated with my situation. I have grown extremely tired of having to explain my allergy over and over again, frequently to be met with blank stares and little compassion. Knowing that there is a community of people out there with similar experiences and understanding that soy is NOT a health food, makes me feel positively thrilled! Keep up the good work!

  5. Amy Amy
    July 19, 2010    

    I discovered by accident that I am allergic to soy. Gives me gastro issues, and I'm glad to know I'm not alone. A teensy bit once in a while won't hurt, like soy lecithin in chocolate, but raw soy–UGH. And nobody gets this! So I don't mention it anymore. But it's amazing how many people think soy is HEALTHY!!

  6. Shirley Mapes Shirley Mapes
    August 11, 2010    

    Grateful for your information, Dianne and am looking forward to getting your book.

    Soy is a nightmare for me. It seems to interact with my hormones. I bloat and cramp for 4 to 5 days (making it even hard for me to walk and sit!!!) when I have too much of it. I am trying to avoid eating it at all and am sticking to whole foods and reading labels on everything. It's even in candy!!!!

    I can't help but wonder what years of all this extra soy in our foods will cause. What about kids that are eating huge amounts of this stuff??

    I'm sure I'll have more comments after reading your information. Many thanks for caring about the rest of us in spreading the warning. Do you think it is possible to get Food Companies to listen and take it out of all the various products?

  7. August 11, 2010    

    Hi Shirley, I look forward to your feedback when you finish reading the book.

    Unfortunately for us, soy is cheap and manufacturers are not going to remove it. The new concern now is GMO

    (genetically modified products) – they do not have to list it on the label.

    Thanks for contributing your comments.

  8. sanc sanc
    September 13, 2010    

    Widespread soy allergy is a recent phenomenon. 90% of soy produced in the US nowadays is Bt soy. Courtesy of Monsanto. It has the appearance of soy, but inside is a gene from a bacteria and what not.

  9. mahler mahler
    June 6, 2011    

    My mother found out I was allergic to soy when I was very young and I've had to be careful and become an avid label reader my whole life. Sometimes it's hard to stay away from products with soy, and soy by products, in them. Thank you for this website. I have been having a lot of health issues lately, and realized that some of my favorite products suddenly have soy in them, when they didn't before. This "soy revolution" is going to hurt us.

  10. Rob Rob
    August 18, 2011    

    This happened to me too. The doctors did not know what was wrong and tested me for everything. Ulcers, intestinal parasites, heart problems, liver issues. Nothing! My symptoms were burning along the rib on the left side, bloating, cramps, bad bowl movements. Before my symptoms started, I had switched to using soy milk for cooking and coffee thinking it might be more nutritious.

    I realized I had a soy allergy when my coffee started to give me a funny feeling in my throat that got progressively worse- difficulty swallowing, heart racing, laborious breathing. I stopped using soy milk and coffee stopped giving me reactions. Now I react to most bread and cereal products. It sucks hardcore. Soy is in everything including meat products as filler. It is so hard to shop now, I even make my own bread and cereal now. Thanks for your site and sharing your experiences!

  11. Bill J Bill J
    October 23, 2011    

    I have a severe allergies to soy and wheat.

    When I eat anything with soy in it my breathing becomes very difficult and I have severe shortness of breath. I don't get hives like when I eat wheat. Wheat puts me in the emergency room but with ingesting soy I have to take steroids (prednizone) to restore my breathing somewhat. It usually takes several days until the soy is out of my system so I have to take the medicine every six hours. Initially it takes several hours to start feeling better and breathing a little better. Wheat, on the other hand, acts like an antiflactic onset. I was bed ridden for about a year with this. If I ingest anything with soy be it lichiten, oil or any small amount, I have severe problems breathing.

    If I don't have medication it is a horrible few days where I gasp for oxygen every second as if I am having an asthma attack. My mother died from this. The doctors didn't know what was causing her severe breathing problems and eventually she passed. I tried to tell my family to merely stop feeding her soy but the said the doctors knew best.

    I avoid lots of things that I now know has soy (as well as wheat) but most doctors don't even have a clue. The allergy clinics try to rely on a scratch tests. That won't indicate my allergy to soy or wheat. I have to ingest it. My stomach usually swells greatly and I feel as if my stomach is pushing up on my diaphragm. I am not sure exactly what causes the severe shortness of breath but I did have to change my lifestyle.

    I don't eat out much and have established safe foods that I can trust. I watch everything that enters my mouth. I introduce a new food one at a time so I can see if it has soy in it. If I eat several foods at once and don't know if they have soy then I won't know which one is the offender. I don't grab a potato chip from anyone or a stick of gum or small piece of candy. Before, I wasn't counting those. The thing I had to realize is: anything I put into my mouth could cause problems or even some skillets are seasoned in soy oil so buyer beware.

    Its a jungle out there when it comes to food allergies. Very few doctors know much about allergies and the manufactures really don't care. They are interested in selling a product to the masses for the mostis:>))

  12. December 14, 2013    

    I had a special interest in soy products earlier, but then after reading this blog, I shall soon start preventing myself from these harmful products, thank you for the information, but is there anything similar to soy, that can help us to solve our fat problem.

    • hiddensoy hiddensoy
      December 14, 2013    

      In my book I have a whole chapter on indgredients to look out for.Dianne Gregg

  13. Lulu Lulu
    March 3, 2014    


    Have you ever head of anyone having a soy oil allergy? I'm having a terrible time here. Not sure if this is it? If I have something with soy oil in it – a small piece of cake, a cookie, a slice of bread – I mean the tiniest bit of soy oil – a single bite- the next day I'm fine – but that night I stay awake the entire night, I manage to sleep from 7:00 am to 3:00pm or later, drag myself out of bed (it's a real struggle!) and then I feel so weird! I feel anger, rage, totally irritable, brain fog, exhaustion. And this will go on for several days up to a week – No sleep at night, exhaustion, anger, etc. Sometimes I even feel like I can't talk right! I'm even afraid to drive – my family gives me a really hard time about that… but I just don't think it's safe when I feel this sick.

    Have you ever heard of anyone with this sort of reaction? It's just all so bizarre because I didn't have these problems until I went away to college. I'm wondering if it's because at home I only was given organic, local, whole foods – but at school in the cafeteria it was all commercial breads and stuff – so I would have been eating soy oil multiple times a day vs. very rarely if ever.

    Do you have any suggestions for a quick detox? Anything to reduce the reaction time would be great. Is there information about this in your book?

    • Ashley Ashley
      March 3, 2016    

      I have the same problem! I have a reaction to any form of soy, but through experimenting, I have realized that soy oil causes the WORST reaction in my body. It’s TERRIBLE. I’m exhausted from trying to explain to people what it does to me because 90% of them have no idea. It made me fearful of food! Paranoid about anything I ate. Soy oil makes me unbelievably sick. Horrible stomach problems, awake all night, diarreah, nausea, hives on my face, swelling in my mouth and throat,, depression, brain fog. I had the tiniest bit of salad dressing last month and got incredibly sick. I talked to the chef at the restaraunt I ate at and he swore up and down he didn’t use soy oil, and then a few days later came to me timidly saying he did in fact use an oil blend that contains soy oil. I You aren’t alone! I literally feel your pain!

      • March 5, 2016    

        Also, when it comes to bread, if they buy it frozen (par-baked)and bake it in their ovens, you can be assured that soybean oil was used. If they bake it on premise from scratch, make sure you ask if they used cooking spray. Cooking pray whether is vegetable oil or Pam, it contains soybean oil. Just wanted to give you a “heads up.”

        Thanks for sharing your story.

    • Ashley Ashley
      August 19, 2016    

      Hi!!! I have a VERY severe soy allergy and through my own experimentation and hyper-vigilance, I’ve realized that while ALL forms of soy make me sick, soybean oil by FAR makes me the sickest and I have EVERY single one of the symptoms you’re listing. I cannot even get out of bed for an entire week. It’s TERRIBLE. And they aren’t required to list soybean oil as an allergen because it’s considered “safe” since there’s no proteins in it. I call bullshit because I KNOW it makes me deathly ill! You’re the first person I’ve heard say the same. You’re not alone!!!

  14. March 28, 2016    

    Thanks for sharing the information. It was really helpful.

  15. March 30, 2016    

    Thanks for sharing the post. It was really helpful.

  16. July 20, 2016    

    I took some Nattokinase, started having trouble breathing. I was warned it contained soy, wow, soy is deadly. Feels like I have someone sitting on my lungs, just can’t get a full breath.

    • July 20, 2016    

      Hi Adam, Thanks for sharing your experience!

  17. Louis Louis
    December 8, 2016    

    I started going vegan 2 months ago. I only eat practically unprocessed foods as oats, rice, fruits and veggies, seeds, nuts, beans, lentils, chickpeas,… I also eat seitan, tempeh, firm tofu and drink soymilk. Before I go to bed I eat my tofu, and I notice quite heavy shortness of breath, gasping for air and yawning a lot, so bad it takes hours to fall asleep. I don’t really notice it when I have my soymilk twice 1 cup during the Day though. I guess I’m gonna leave soy products out from now on, and do an allergy test to be sure.

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