Check the Label!

  • Post by Manda Nicole
  • Jan 03, 2020

If you’ve ever picked up a bottle of salad dressing or maybe mayo, you’re first thought probably isn’t “This might have soy in it. I should check.” It might. I’ve recently found that almost all the salad dressings and mayo at my local grocery stores have soybean oil. They carry one soy-free mayo and one soy-free vegan mayo. Feel free to check out my many salad dressings to come and vegan mayo recipes.

Another ingredient to watch out for is soy protein. I’ve found this in meat alternatives, veggie burgers, ice cream, and even cereal. One time, I made the mistake of eating a mushroom burger without looking at the ingredients. I sure checked the label afterwards. I was super excited when they announced that the impossible burger was being sold in stores. That was until my boyfriend told me it had soy protein in it. I checked. It was the second ingredient. I guess I’ll never know if it’s as good as people say.

For many, soy lecithin is the one exception. According to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources “Soy lecithin does contain trace levels of soy proteins and these have been found to include soy allergens. However, apparently, soy lecithin does not contain sufficient soy protein residues to provoke allergic reactions in the majority of soy-allergic consumers. Many allergists do not even advise their soybean-allergic patients to avoid soybean lecithin when it is included as an ingredient on food products” (, 2018). The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology states “People with a soy allergy often can eat foods that contain soy lecithin — a mixture of fatty substances derived from soybean processing. If you have a soy allergy, ask your allergist if soy lecithin is safe for you” (ACAAI Public Website, 2019). I’ve found that it certainly doesn’t affect me, but you probably should ask an allergist.

Eating out is also risky if you haven’t found that out yet. For example, many dishes at Olive Garden and Pizza Hut contain soy. Thankfully, they both have allergy charts online. Many chain restaurants do. When you decide to go out to a local restaurant, don’t feel bad about asking your server if the meal you want has soy. If you don’t feel comfortable asking, I recommend at least trying to avoid mayo and salad dressings. I went to lunch recently with some coworkers and ordered a veggie panini with a garlic mayo sauce. I found out later that they use mayo with soy. The second time I went I made sure not to get it.

The lesson here is to check the ingredients list for everything. You never know what may contain soy. I tend to find out the hard way. Don’t be like me; check the label.

ACAAI Public Website. (2019). Soy Allergy. [online] Available at: [Accessed 3 Nov. 2019]. (2018). Soy Lecithin | FARRP | Nebraska. [online] Available at: [Accessed 3 Nov. 2019].

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