When you decide to implement a soy-free diet for yourself, it can be shocking to learn how many foods contain soy (or soy-based ingredients). While soy does seemingly saturate the food market, you won’t be the only one following a soy-free diet. At Kate’s Real Food, we are proud to offer great-tasting, soy-free snacks that provide sustainable energy. Check out our nutrition blog that highlights more benefits of soy-free snacks!
What is Soy?
The soybean is technically considered a legume and is, like other legumes, known for its protein content. The soybean is often processed to utilize that protein in a variety of foods and beverages-- not just the tofu, soy sauce, and soy milk that come to mind.
Typically, the processing of the soybean is to extract the protein element contained in the soymeal and soybean oil. Soybean oil is more commonly used for human consumption--and soy is commonly found in cooking oils, flours, sauces, beverages, processed meats, milk substitutes, soups, and butter substitutes.
Why a Soy-Free Diet?
Often, individuals choosing soy-free have an allergy or sensitivity to the protein. Of course, if your body presents an allergy to a food you should avoid it in its entirety. If you notice a sensitivity to foods containing soy, you might want to consider getting an allergy test. A soy allergy can be life-threatening-- but simply adjusting your diet can make a world of difference.
Choosing Minimally Processed Foods
Not everyone eating soy-free does so because they're allergic; some individuals choose this eating style to avoid heavily processed foods.
Tips for Eating Soy-Free
The wide use of soy-based ingredients in foods can make the switch to a soy-free diet intimidating; after all, it seems to keep appearing in all your go-to meals. And identifying tasty soy-free foods can feel out of reach. Here are a few tips to make the transition easier:
1. Check Nutrition Facts: Soy products are found in all food groups. Check every label-- every time.
2. Know your Labels: While many products are labeled soy-free, the USDA’s only regulation is that companies must use phrases like “Contains: soy”.
3. Track Macros: No matter what your health goals may be, it is great to familiarize yourself with your daily intake of macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Because soy is a good source of protein, you may need to increase your protein intake through other foods.
Do your Research: In addition to familiarizing yourself with foods you buy, it is important to research safe foods for a soy-free diet. Here is a simple guide from John Hopkins Medicine to break down some soy-free food choices.
At Kate’s Real Food, we know that real energy and health benefits come from organic, whole foods. In addition to providing soy-free snacks for those with soy allergies, we are also proud to provide a USDA-certified organic, non-gmo product. Shop Kate’s soy-free energy bars here!