Sunday, August 21, 2005

Soy

I never paid much attention to soy until we learned that my daughter is severely allergic to it. Have you read any food labels lately? Soy (aka guar gum, food starch, natural flavoring, vegetable oil, broth, vitamin E, lecithin, and on and on and on) is in everything. Yes, I'm exaggerating, but only slightly. It's in things you would have never thought of, like tuna, chocolate bars, and nearly every vitamin or mineral supplement on the market. I finally found a chocolate bar yesterday that doesn't contain soy and it tastes good. Only problem is it costs about $3.50 for a three ounce bar.

While researching soy allergy, I found this very interesting and informative article. One of the things I found most interesting was this:

The increasing amount of "hidden" soy in the food supply is undoubtedly responsible for triggering many allergic reactions not attributed to soy. French researchers who studied the frequency of anaphylactic shocks caused by foods reported that the food allergen remained unknown in 25 per cent of cases. They noted the prevalence of "hidden" and "masked" food allergens and stated that they saw "a strikingly increased prevalence of food-induced anaphylactic shock in 1995 compared to a previous study from 1982".21 This period coincided with a huge increase in the amount of soy protein added to processed foods. (In fact, the amount has continued to rise. Per capita consumption of soy protein increased from 0.78 g/day in 1998 to 2.23 g/day in 2002, according to industry estimates obtained by the Solae Company which, in March 2004, filed a petition seeking FDA approval of a health claim for soy protein and cancer reduction.21a)

Here is my favorite (though perhaps a bit morbid) excerpt:

Some of the most allergenic fractions appear to be the Kunitz and Bowman–Birk trypsin inhibitors. Food processors have tried in vain to deactivate these troublesome proteins completely without irreparably damaging the remainder of the soy protein (see chapter 12). Having failed to accomplish this, the soy industry has decided to promote these "antinutrients" as cancer preventers. To date, its proof remains slim, although cancer statistics might improve if enough people died from anaphylactic shock first.

3 comments:

Arevanye said...

So, by extension then is she allergic to peanuts and other legumes?

My first thought was wow, she's young to be exhibiting allergies, but then I remembered that my oldest was allergic to cow's milk pretty much right off the bat. I've heard from other parents that if they kept the offending allergen from the child's environment for a couple of years, they can re-introduce it later on and the symptoms will not reoccur.

If soy and peanut allergies are related, then I can see where there might be an increase in the unknown food allergen problems.

Beth said...

She is not allergic to peanuts - so far! - and the doctor said that it is unlikely that she will become so. She believes that our daughter will outgrow her allergies by the time she is three or so. However, my aunt who has studied nutrition extensively says that I should probably avoid peanuts just in case. I must say I'm not quite ready to give up my peanut butter-smeared chocolate bars (now that I've found chocolate I can eat).

The article I linked to talks about those with peanut allergy becoming allergic to soy, so there is defininely a cross-reaction in some people.

By the way, she is also very allergic to dairy and possibly to gluten, so I'm pretty much eating meat, fruit, and vegetables. (She's exclusively breastfed.) Not a bad diet, but rather expensive.

TheGreyOne said...

Just a comment on the article you provided: Do you realize what Nexus is? It is a scientific tabloid... it is highly likely that the article published here was not accepted for publication in a reputable scientific journal, and that is why it appears here.
If you look at the self-description on the magazine's website, it is "an international bi-monthly alternative news magazine, covering the fields of: Health Alternatives; Suppressed Science; Earth's Ancient Past; UFOs & the Unexplained; and Government Cover-Ups"
Drawing conclusions about your child's allergies from this article would not be wise. I would highly encourage checking all the data from this article against reputable sources before assuming any or all of it is true.