Fact sheetDiet specifications

Published on 1 Nov 2019

Allergy diet - soy free

This document is part of the ACI Diet Specifications for Adult Inpatients. It is not to be used for patient education.


To provide a diet that excludes all foods containing soy protein.


Avoids all foods with soy ingredients, including soybeans, tofu, soy sauce, soy milk, soy yoghurt and soy cheese. Research indicates that most individuals allergic to soy can safely eat soy lecithin (E322) and soybean oil. However, some individuals with soy allergy are confused and concerned about the potential presence of soy due to Australian labelling legislation requirement to declare that these ingredients are derived from soy. Other individuals choose to avoid soy due to other concerns, where the removal of the protein fraction does not address their reasons for excluding soy from their diet. For these reasons a decision was made to apply a strict exclusion approach to avoiding all soy or soy derived ingredients.


Soy allergy or patients who wish to exclude all sources of soy from their diet.

Nutritional adequacy

Nutritionally adequate.


It is not possible to provide a full list of all permitted commercial products – the following are general guidelines only. Soy-based ingredients (e.g. flour) are found extensively in prepared and commercial products, especially breads, biscuits, cereals, bakery items, sauces, soups and condiments.

The following ingredients indicate the likely presence of soy: bean curd, edamame, hydrolysed plant protein, hydrolysed vegetable protein, miso, natto, okara, soy protein isolate, tamari, tempeh, textured vegetable protein (TVP) and yuba. Stock and flavourings may have soy ingredients. Soy lecithin (E322) may be used for a number of functions including as an emulsifier, wetting agent and stabiliser.

All packaged food with soy ingredients must carry a mandatory warning statement under Standard 1.2.3 of the Food Standards Code. Products with advisory statements that they may contain soy are not suitable.


Suitable for use in paediatrics when combined with an age-appropriate diet.

Specific menu planning guidelines

Allowed Not allowed
Hot main dishes Plain cooked beef, lamb, pork, poultry, fish, eggs and legumes other than soybeans, free of soy-containing additives

Soybeans, tofu and tempeh and textured vegetable protein (TVP), hydrolysed vegetable protein (HVP)

Any products containing soy ingredients such as soy flour, e.g. sausages, pizzas, pies and pastries

Sauces, gravies All others Soy sauce, tamari and any sauces with soy ingredients, e.g. teriyaki sauce, ketjap manis
Starchy vegetables / pasta / rice All others Pasta or noodles with soy flour as an ingredient
Vegetables All others Soybeans, soybean sprouts
Soups Soups made from soy free ingredients Most commercial soups contain soy-based ingredients
Sandwiches Sandwiches made with soy-free ingredients including soy free bread, soy free margarine and soy free butter

Sandwiches made with soy-containing ingredients

Note: Most breads contain soy flour. Margarine may contain soy lecithin

Salads, dressings

Plain roasted meat, cheese, egg, tuna, salmon, salad vegetables

Dressings, if soy free

Pasta or other salads containing soy ingredients

Mustard, pickles, dressings and mayonnaise containing soy

Check all other ingredients (e.g. roasted meats) for soy-containing ingredients including soy lecithin

Breads, cereals

Soy-free bread only

Soy-free commercial breakfast cereals

Most breads are made with a soy starter and many contain soy flour

Many commercial breakfast cereals contain soy and will need to be checked

Spreads Butter, jam, honey, peanut butter, or margarine that does not contain soy derived lecithin Any soy-containing spreads and spreads containing soy lecithin.
Hot breakfast choices


All others that exclude soy containing ingredients

Many hot breakfast dishes may have soy containing ingredients and will need to be checked. E.g., sausages, tinned spaghetti, pancakes, baked beans
Fruit All fruit -
Yoghurt Dairy and other non-soy yoghurts, e.g. coconut or almond yoghurt Soy yoghurts

Custard, creamy rice, jelly, ice-cream, sago or tapioca without soy ingredients

Other desserts made without soy containing ingredients

Any dessert containing soy flour, soy lecithin or other soy ingredients. Many commercial desserts may have soy containing ingredients and will need to be checked
Milk and cheese All others, e.g. cow, goat, rice or oat milk or cheese derived from these Soy milk and soy cheese
Beverages All others Any soy-based beverages
Biscuits All others Any biscuits containing soy flour, soy lecithin or other soy ingredients

Cream, salt, pepper, wine vinegar, nuts and seeds

Herbs and spices

Honey, jam, marmalade and preserves

Commercial supplements without soy containing ingredients

Commercial thickened fluid without soy containing ingredients

Tamari, miso

Commercial sauces may contain soy and so will need to be checked, e.g. Worcestershire sauce

Many commercial supplements, baby formula, and thickened fluid products may have soy containing ingredients and will need to be checked


  1. Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy. Dietary Guide for Food Allergy – Soy Allergy. [accessed 22 October 2019]
  2. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (USA). Nutrition Care Manual. Online. [accessed 23 October 2019] Soy Allergy Nutrition Therapy. (Online subscription required.)
  3. Food Standards Australia New Zealand. Food allergies. [accessed 22 October 2019] January 2019
  4. The Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network. Allergy – Soy Allergy. [accessed 22 October 2019]
  5. Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia. Food Allergen – Soy. [accessed 22 October 2019]; January 2017
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