Most soy products are gluten-free and make a great substitution for people on gluten-restricted diets. Soy in its natural form, like soy nuts or edamame, is naturally gluten-free. It is important to be aware, though, that some processed forms of soy may contain wheat or barley.
Some soy products are fermented and processed with wheat
Traditionally, soybean-derived products like miso, soy sauce, and tamari are produced by fermenting the beans with wheat or barley. Since wheat and barley both contain gluten, these fermented products cannot be considered gluten-free.
Fortunately, there are now alternative processes that make it possible to produce these items in a gluten-free way. Such processes do not involve any grains and instead use ingredients like rice or chickpeas that are naturally free of gluten.
Additionally, some producers include additional filtering and testing steps in their production process to further ensure that only certified gluten-free ingredients make it into the final product.
Labels are your friend
For those who must adhere to a gluten-free diet, it is important to read labels carefully. While soybeans themselves do not contain any gluten, those same beans could end up on an ingredient list alongside wheat and barley when they ferment together in traditional processes.
By paying attention to labels and understanding which processes were used, discriminating consumers can enjoy all the delicious flavors of miso, soy sauce, and tamari without fear of unleashing uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms.
Naturally gluten-free soy products
Luckily, for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities, there are plenty of soy-based products that are naturally gluten-free.
Here are the top 5 gluten-free natural and processed soy products that can be consumed without concern.
Tofu is a traditional soy product that is made by coagulating soy milk and then pressing the resulting curds into blocks. Tofu is naturally gluten-free and a good source of protein, iron, and calcium. It can be used in a variety of dishes, such as stir-fries, soups, and salads.
Tempeh is a fermented soy product that originated in Indonesia. It is made by culturing soybeans with a Rhizopus mold, which binds the beans together into a cake-like form.
Tempeh is naturally gluten-free and is a good source of protein, fiber, and vitamins B6 and B12. It can be used in place of meat in burgers, sandwiches, and stir-fries.
Edamame are immature soybeans that are typically sold fresh or frozen.
They are often boiled in salt water and served as a snack or side dish. Edamame are naturally gluten-free and a good source of protein, fiber, and vitamins K and C.
- Soy Milk
Soy milk is a dairy-free milk alternative that is made from soybeans that have been ground up and soaked in water. Soy milk is naturally gluten-free and a good source of protein, calcium, and potassium. It can be used in place of cow’s milk in cereal, coffee, or baking recipes.
- Miso Soup
Miso soup is a traditional Japanese soup that is made with miso paste, an ingredient that is made from fermented soybeans. Miso soup is naturally gluten-free and is also a good source of protein, vitamin B12, and zinc.
In addition to its other nutritional benefits like supplying protein and iron, these gluten-free options mean soy still be enjoyed by those living with special dietary restrictions regarding the need to avoid gluten. Soy is gluten free most of the time.
With just a bit of extra precaution when it comes to checking labels and knowing what ingredients are involved in your meal’s preparation process, you can still enjoy the full benefits of eating this popular plant-based alternative!
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