Is Soy Allowed On AIP?
You’d be surprised at how common soy is…
There’s the soy sauce you find in a stir-fry or ramen dish, and the dairy/meat alternatives of soy milk, tofu, and tempeh.
Not to mention the soybean oil and soy lecithin which find their way into processed and pre-packaged foods.
But despite its trendy reputation as a “health food” –
Soy and soy-derived products are bad for your health.
And you’ll want to cut them out of your diet if you’re fighting an autoimmune disease.
What’s Wrong With Soy?
Here are just a few of the reasons you’ll want to avoid soy…
1. IT DISRUPTS YOUR DIGESTION
Like all legumes, soy contains gut-irritating components called lectins.
And soy is particularly high in a type of lectin called agglutinin.
Agglutinin can create holes in your gut lining and cause “leaky gut syndrome,” a condition linked to autoimmune disease(1).
It also feeds “bad bacteria” in your gut (E.coli) (2) which can cause a bacterial imbalance in the intestine.
2. IT MAY CONTAIN HARMFUL HERBICIDES
Roundup Ready Soy was 75% of the world’s crop in 2011 (5), which means if you’re eating soy products, there’s a good chance that’s what is on your plate.
3. IT COULD CAUSE HORMONAL IMBALANCES
That’s because soy is rich in phytoestrogens (6) – compounds found in plants, sometimes referred to as “dietary estrogens”.
As the name suggests, these substances have effects similar to human estrogen.
4. IT CONTAINS ANTINUTRIENTS
Soy contains phytic acid, which is an antinutrient –
5. IT IS A COMMON ALLERGEN
Soy is considered one of the 8 “major food allergens” by the FDA (12).
Because of this, food manufacturers in the US must clearly indicate the presence of soy on food labels.
Soy allergy is especially common for children. Often people outgrow it as they get older, but some people remain allergic to soy throughout their lives (13).
Allergic reactions to soy are usually mild but can be severe or even life-threatening. Symptoms include hives, itching, wheezing, and nausea.
So, Is Soy Allowed on AIP?
The short answer is…
Soy and soy-derived products are not allowed on the AIP diet.
For a full list of soy-derived products to avoid (and potential substitutions to use instead), read on.
Is Soy Milk Allowed on AIP?
Soy milk is made of ground, boiled and filtered soybeans.
It’s one of the worst forms of soy:
- It’s highly processed – which means it could contain unwanted additives, like sugar or MSG.
- It concentrates the antinutrients, allergens, and pesticides found in soybeans.
Should you drink soy milk and eat soy yogurt on AIP?
A good alternative to use is coconut milk –
You can either make it yourself or buy it from a store (just make sure it doesn’t contain guar gum or other additives).
And you can use coconut milk to make your own coconut yogurt too.
Is Tofu Allowed on AIP?
Tofu is a well-known vegetarian/vegan food…
…but did you know it’s made from soy milk?
The soy milk is curdled, pressed and processed into blocks of tofu.
Is tofu an AIP-compliant food?
No, you’ll need to avoid tofu for the same reasons you avoid soy milk.
- It’s highly processed
- It concentrates allergens and antinutrients
- It’s likely to contain herbicides
Is Soy Protein Powder Allowed on AIP?
Soy protein powder comes from soy protein isolate (SPI) –
It is made by washing dried and defatted soybeans before dehydrating them to form a powder.
Can you include soy protein powder in an AIP diet?
No, you’ll need to exclude soy protein powder from your diet.
Thanks to all the processing and added chemicals, soy protein powder is even worse for your health than regular soy!
Plus, it also contains high levels of…
- Antinutrients like phytic acid
- Hormone-disruptors like phytoestrogen
All the more reason to leave it out of your diet.
Are Edamame beans Allowed on AIP?
Edamame beans are young green soybeans:
They’re soybeans which are picked before they’re mature, while they’re still unripe and in their pods.
Should you eat edamame beans on AIP?
No, they’re just as unhealthy for you as regular soybeans.
Although edamame beans are lightly cooked before eating, this isn’t enough to neutralize the antinutrients and hormone disruptors they contain.
Is Soy Lecithin Allowed on AIP?
Soy lecithin is often used as an emulsifier in packaged foods (you’ll find it on food labels).
But just because it’s common, doesn’t mean it’s good for you!
Soy lecithin comes from the “sludge” left over from the manufacture of soy oil.
Is soy lecithin AIP-approved?
No, it’s best to avoid soy lecithin on AIP:
- Soy lecithin may still contain phytoestrogens (15), which can contribute to hormonal imbalance.
- Soy lecithin may also alter the bacteria in your gut (16), favoring a family of bacteria called Enterobacteriaceae that is known to cause health problems (17).
Is Natto allowed on AIP?
Natto is a food made from fermented, cooked soy, with bacteria called Bacillus subtilis added to the mix as part of the fermentation process.
It’s traditionally eaten as part of breakfast in Japan.
Is natto AIP-friendly?
Natto is not AIP-friendly. It may have some beneficial qualities – for instance, it is rich in vitamin K2 (18), and the fermenting process helps to reduce lectins and phytates.
Still, it is produced from soy that contains:
- Hormone disruptors
- Harmful herbicides
Plus, most store-bought brands contain additional non-AIP ingredients.
Is Soy Sauce Allowed on AIP?
Soy sauce is made of fermented soybean paste, salt, water and sometimes grains.
That should be setting off your alarm bells already…
Grains aren’t AIP-compliant!
Can you use soy sauce on AIP?
It’s best to avoid all soy sauce during the elimination phase of AIP.
Even gluten-free tamari soy sauce.
Looking for a healthier alternative?
Try using coconut aminos –
They have a rich sweet-and-savory flavor and are full of good-for-you amino acids.
Is Tempeh Allowed on AIP?
Tempeh is a processed food made from cooked and fermented soybeans –
It looks similar to tofu, but it’s much firmer and is made from soybeans rather than soy milk.
Is tempeh AIP compliant?
No, tempeh isn’t AIP compliant.
Even though the soybeans used in tempeh are fermented and cooked…
This doesn’t remove all traces of allergens and herbicides.
Is Soybean Oil Allowed on AIP?
Soybean oil is made from the seeds of the soybean plant.
The beans are dried, heated and turned into a refined oil which is often partly hydrogenated and used as an ingredient in processed foods.
This bad news:
Partially hydrogenated oils contain harmful molecules called trans-fats.
Which have been scientifically proven to raise your risk of heart disease (19).
Should you be cooking with soybean oil on AIP?
There are so many easy and delicious alternatives to soybean oil, you should just skip it and use one of these instead:
- Olive oil
- Avocado oil
- Coconut oil
- Lard/tallow/duck fat
Is Miso Allowed on AIP?
Miso isn’t just made of crushed soybeans –
The soybean paste is also mixed with wheat, rice or barley before it’s fermented for up to three years.
Something might have caught your attention about that ingredient list…
It’s full of grains!
Is miso an AIP-friendly food?
Nope, you’ll need to leave it out of your diet altogether.
Not just because of the soy it contains, but also because of the other ingredients.
It’s best to avoid all soy and soy-derived products during the elimination phase of AIP.
Always make sure to read food labels carefully – so you can spot any hidden soy in the products you eat.
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