Soy is a common ingredient that is essential to many vegans. But is soy gluten free? Find out what you need to know.

Also check out the Best Vegan Protein Sources, 8 Health Benefits of Tofu, and How to Grow Edamame.

What is soy?

The term “soy” refers to any food that has been derived from soybeans. East Asia is the most common location for the discovery of new varieties of legumes, including soy.

You might be surprised to learn that soy, which refers to both soybeans and soy, is used in a far wider number of applications than you might assume.

Tofu, soy milk, and edamame are just a few of the numerous foods that can be made from soybeans, which are used in the production of a wide variety of other items.

Gluten cannot be found in soybeans that have been purified. Wheat, barley, and rye are the only grains that contain gluten protein, which causes responses in people with celiac disease and others who are sensitive to gluten but do not have celiac disease.

Unfortunately, that is not the end of the tale when it comes to soy and gluten… and the remainder of the narrative may explain why you have a reaction to soy despite the fact that it is meant to be naturally devoid of gluten.

You also need to exercise caution when it comes to items that have soy as a primary component, as there are many products containing soy as a primary ingredient that also contain gluten.

What is soy used for?

Vegetarians frequently consume soy. It is strong in protein and may be readily adapted to produce a variety of food products suitable for a dairy-free diet. It’s a terrific plant-based protein choice for folks who don’t consume meat because it’s so high in protein.

The usage of soy in a healthy diet is controversial since it is thought to have the power to change your estrogen hormone levels.

This is especially concerning for persons suffering from thyroid disorders. In fact, one of the reasons many people rely on a gluten and dairy-free diet is to manage symptoms.

If you have thyroid disease, you should be aware of the effects of soy on estrogen and how they affect your body.

As with any food, diet, or lifestyle choice, you must decide what is best for you and conduct research to make an informed conclusion.

soybean pods on the plant

Health benefits of soy

Soy, when consumed in moderation as part of a well-balanced diet, may provide a plethora of possible advantages to your life. Let’s look at some of the health benefits of including soy in your diet:

  • Cholesterol levels may be improved: According to research, eating meals high in soy may help decrease bad cholesterol levels while increasing good cholesterol levels.
  • Cardiovascular health: Legumes are considered to be anti-inflammatory, so including soy in your diet is a smart idea if you want to keep your heart healthy.
  • Lower blood pressure: The amino acids found in soy are known to help control your blood pressure.
  • Strengthening bones: Soy, being a strong source of calcium, can help to preserve muscle and enhance bone strength.

Is soy gluten free?

According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, plain soybeans do not include any of the three primary grains that are considered to be sources of gluten—namely wheat, rye, or barley.

As a result, plain soybeans are naturally free of gluten. Include more soy in your diet because it is a plant-based food that is high in protein and it will benefit you tremendously.

Soy, in contrast to the majority of plant-based sources of protein, is a complete protein. This means that it includes all nine necessary amino acids, which your body is unable to manufacture on its own.

In spite of the fact that there is some truth to the assertion that eating soy raises estrogen levels, it is typically safe to consume and will not alter your hormones in any substantial or potentially detrimental way if you do so.

This bean, in its natural condition, is perfectly fine to consume provided that you do not suffer from any soy sensitivity (soy is one of the most common allergens).

However, this does not mean that all items made from soy are gluten-free; for instance, many soy sauces do contain gluten.

Because of the way that soy is produced, it has the potential to be tainted with gluten, and in certain instances, there may be a significant amount of gluten cross-contamination.

When consuming soy-based foods or purchasing soy-based items, you should also be aware of the possibility of cross-contamination.

According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, this takes place whenever meals are exposed to gluten-containing substances.

People who have celiac disease or are gluten sensitive should avoid consuming soy products that have been prepared or kept in the same area as gluten-containing foods. This increases the risk of cross-contamination.

Reactions caused by soy vs. gluten

A significant number of individuals have reported that they respond to soy in a manner that is analogous to how they respond to wheat and other gluten-containing cereals.

Now, soy is a food that a lot of people are allergic to; in fact, it’s one of the most common allergens. Therefore, there is no reason to doubt the possibility that you suffer from a genuine allergy to soy. It’s true for a lot of folks.

It’s possible that the high amounts of gluten cross-contamination in the soy are to blame for the large number of celiacs and gluten-sensitive persons who report “soy intolerances” (not real allergies), rather than an issue with the soy itself.

If you have any reason to believe that this could be the case with you, your best bet will probably be to seek for soy products that have been verified to be free of gluten.

Gluten-free certification programs require food manufacturers to follow strict sourcing guidelines for their raw materials. This means that the finished products will contain less cross-contamination, as well.

In fact, gluten-free certification programs require products to test at less than at least 10 parts per million of gluten in order to be certified as gluten-free.

You might be curious in the gluten-free status of soy lecithin, which is an ingredient that can be found in a wide variety of processed foods.

As a food ingredient, soy lecithin can improve the flavor of dishes and give the impression that they are creamier.

Even if the soy that was used to create the soy lecithin was substantially cross-contaminated, the soy lecithin itself is unlikely to contain any gluten due to the extensive processing that it undergoes.

Where to buy gluten free soy products?

Check the package and read the nutrition label on the goods you buy to avoid any cross-contamination. Tempeh, tofu, and soy milk are just a few examples of soy-based foods that may or may not be safe to consume.

Look for a “gluten-free” label on the package first. The Food and Drug Administration regulates this label, which indicates that the food you’re eating contains fewer than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten, making it safe for persons with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

If you want extra assurance, buy gluten-free items verified by third organizations such as the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO).

According to the organization’s website, the GFCO has very stringent requirements, certifying goods with no more than 10 ppm of gluten.

Check the ingredient label for any wheat, rye, or barley-based items and the allergy statement for wheat or gluten if a product does not contain a gluten-free label.

block of tofu partially sliced on wooden cutting board

Is soy lecithin gluten free?

According to the FDA, lecithin is obtained from a variety of plant sources, including soy. Lecithin is commonly found in a dry, granular form and is used as an emulsifier, stabilizer, dispersion aid, accidental additive, and baking release agent.

According to the FDA, lecithin is used in modest amounts and seldom surpasses 1% by weight of the finished food product. Lecithin is sometimes sold as a dietary supplement.

Because soy lecithin is derived from soy rather than wheat, barley, or rye, the FDA classifies it as “gluten-free”. According to Beyond Celiac, soy lecithin is considered safe for gluten-sensitive people.

Is soy sauce gluten free?

Technically, no. Soy sauce can be dangerous since wheat is a common element in soy sauce, which many do not know. Wheat contains gluten proteins and should be avoided on a gluten-free diet.

However, several gluten-free soy sauces available are prepared with rice rather than wheat. Also, there is an alternative called tamari that can be used interchangeably with soy sauce.  

Is soy flour gluten free?

Soy flour is gluten-free by nature. Many gluten-intolerant people or celiacs replace soy flour for wheat flour – and it’s a terrific option!

It is crucial to note, however, that when purchasing soy flour, always choose a brand with a clear gluten-free indication.

Different varieties of flour are often farmed and produced in the same location…this includes wheat flour! This implies that if your soy flour is not gluten-free or doesn’t have a gluten-free label, it might have been contaminated by cross-contact.

Cross contact occurs when a gluten-free product comes into touch with a gluten-containing one. Therefore, traces of gluten may be included in the finished product.

How to know if you have a soy allergy?

If you have a soy allergy, you may have one or more of the following symptoms after eating it: tingling lips, itchy skin, hives, swelling (especially around the face), breathing problems, coughing, stomach discomfort, vomiting, diarrhoea, nausea, and flushing.

If you believe you have a soy allergy, your doctor will most likely be able to test you with a blood test or a skin prick test. Both are generally painless and have immediate effects.

So, is soy gluten free?

Yes! I hope this article has answered your questions. Furthermore, it informs you of which soy items to avoid while following a gluten-free diet. Simply avoid eating too many soy-rich meals and read the ingredient labels on everything you buy.

Other related articles:

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  2. Is Buckwheat Gluten Free?
  3. Is Quinoa Gluten Free?
  4. High Fiber Gluten Free Foods
  5. Are Avocados Good For You? 
  6. Cumin Nutrition And Benefits
  7. Health Benefits Of Ginger
  8. Are Garbanzos Good For You?

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