Peanut Allergy: Do You Need to Avoid Soy and Legumes?

The Need to Avoid Legumes If You Have a Peanut Allergy

Peanut Allergy: Do You Need to Avoid Soy and Legumes?

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If you are allergic to peanuts, you may have heard that you should avoid other legumes. What should you do? Having a peanut allergy is already challenging enough. Do you really need to determine if the food you eat may contain all other legumes in addition to peanuts?

In order to understand this question, it's important to talk about peanuts and similar foods. Peanuts are a legume similar to other legumes which grow underground such as soybeans, lentils, peas, and beans. They are different than tree nuts, such as cashews, almonds, and walnuts which grow on trees.

Intuitively you would think that other legumes should be avoided but tree nuts should be okay, but this is false.

While having a co-existing allergy to another legume is similar to the risk of having any type of food allergy along with a peanut allergy, roughly 20% to 60% of people with a peanut allergy also have a tree nut allergy (depending on the study).

If you are wondering whether you need to avoid other legumes with peanut allergy, the answer is “maybe, but no less than you worry about any coexisting food allergies.” In fact, most people with peanut allergy are able to eat other legumes without a problem (with the exception of lupine).

Then why are so many people told to avoid legumes? The answer is cross-sensitization.

Allergy tests often show a positive result to more than one legume. This is a result of cross-sensitization, meaning that the similar proteins found in legumes bind to the same allergic antibodies directed against peanut proteins.

Studies vary on how often someone who has a peanut allergy has tested positive for other bean allergies using a blood or prick test — some say 35% to all beans, others say up to 60% are sensitized to soy allergies specifically. Cross-reactivity is also seen with other legumes, in which you will see a reaction.

Yet when other legumes are eaten by people who are allergic to peanuts, only 5% react (with the exception of lupin). This is the same percentage of people you would expect to have another food allergy such as a milk allergy.

The only way to know if you have a true allergy to another legume is through an oral food challenge (see below.)

The one exception to the above rule is for lupin. Lupin is a legume commonly ground into flour or eaten whole in European countries.

 There is some level of cross-reactivity between peanuts and legumes, since studies have shown that 11% to 63% of people with peanut allergy experience allergic reactions after eating lupin.

 Lupin is becoming much more of a problem for those with food allergies.

It's uncommon to find lupin in the grocery store in the U.S., but it is fairly common in some European countries. Those who live outside the U.S. or who travel to Europe should keep this in mind. Apparently, the use of lupin (for example, as a substitute for wheat) is becoming more common in the U.S. as well, especially in packaged foods.

If you are told that you have positive allergy tests to multiple legumes, you should check with your doctor before eating any of these foods. While cross-reactivity rates among legumes are low, your doctor will ly perform an oral food challenge to the legume that you are interested in eating to ensure that you are not allergic.

In an oral food challenge, you eat the questionable food, but with medical supervision. Unfortunately, there is not a reliable way to answer this question with a simple blood test or scratch test.

You may wonder exactly which foods are considered legumes. Foods classified as legumes (and hence having a protein profile which could cross-react with peanuts) include:

  • Soy and soybeans
  • Beans
  • Peas
  • Lentils
  • Lupin

Peanut allergy has increased drastically over the past decade and now affects one to two percent of the population. Since this phenomena is occurring in the United States and other developed countries but is not seen in many places in the world, the way in which peanuts are processed may underlie some of this increase.

Going with that concept, recent studies looking at boiled peanuts may offer an approach to overcoming the allergy according to some researchers. Certainly, you don't want to try this without close supervision by your physician, but this research offers hope that breakthroughs in the management of peanut allergy may be nearing.

Until then, avoiding peanuts (and other foods which your allergist feels could be dangerous, (including, at times, legumes), is the only surefire approach to escape the serious reactions and even anaphylaxis which may occur with these allergies.

Take a moment to review the peanut allergy diet guide to make sure there aren't any hidden peanut proteins in the foods you eat.

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  1. Brough HA, Caubet JC, Mazon A, et al. Defining challenge-proven coexistent nut and sesame seed allergy: a prospective multicenter European study. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2019. doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2019.09.036

  2. Bublin M, Breiteneder H. Cross-Reactivity of Peanut Allergens. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2014;14(4):426. doi:10.1007/s11882-014-0426-8

  3. Mennini M, Dahdah L, Mazzina O, Fiocchi A. Lupin and Other Potentially Cross-Reactive Allergens in Peanut Allergy. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2016;16(12):84. doi:10.1007/s11882-016-0668-8

  4. Ramanujam R, Fiocchi A, Smith W. Lupin allergy: Is it really a cause for concern? Agro Food Industry Hi-Tech. 2016;27(1):10-14.

  5. Turner PJ, Mehr S, Sayers R, et al. Loss of allergenic proteins during boiling explains tolerance to boiled peanut in peanut allergy. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2014;134(3):751-753. doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2014.06.016


Allergenic Foods and their Allergens, with links to Informall | FARRP | Nebraska

Peanut Allergy: Do You Need to Avoid Soy and Legumes?


Legumes are important crop plants and account for more than 25% of the primary crop production world wide3. Legumes have a high nutritional value (high-value proteins and oils) but also account for a high incidence and severity of allergic reactions.

Some of the most potent and prevalent allergenic foods belong to the legume family, including peanut. Proteins associated with legume allergy belong predominantly to the family of seed storage proteins (albumins, globulins, prolamins).

They are often found in high abundance and retain their allergenicity after heating.

Peanut is consumed worldwide, often as snacks (roasted, in chocolate bars), but also as ingredient an in Asian foods. Current studies suggest that peanut allergy affects about >1% of children and 0.6% of adults in the United States4, 5.

Symptoms of peanut allergy range from relative mild and local responses (e.g. in the oral cavity) to life threatening systemic reactions (e.g. asthma, anaphylaxis) that require emergency treatment.

The low eliciting dose and the high frequency of fatal reactions make peanut to one of the most potent allergenic foods.

Soybean and its products are widely used in food stuff, not only as a food (e.g. tofu) but also as a technological aid (e.g. emulsifiers, texturizer).

Soy allergy is much less prevalent than peanut allergy, individuals from different regions (e.g. North America, Japan and Europe) reacting to different soybean allergens.

Symptoms of allergy to soybean are similar to peanut and range from relative mild reaction to life threatening system reactions.

Lupin is increasingly found as a food ingredient and its flour may be used as a substitute for soy or wheat in processed foods. Lupin is closely related to peanut and some individuals with peanut allergy can react to lupin. Symptoms include local oral and skin reactions, but also severe asthma and anaphylactic reactions.

In addition to direct consumption of these allergenic foods, consumers are regularly exposed to legumes in processed foods that are present either by design (e.g.

lupin in baking goods) or due to processing mediated cross-contamination (e.g. traces of peanut in chocolate).

While peanut and soybean are included in the Big-8 and the Codex Alimentarius allergen labeling recommendations, lupin has only recently been added to the EU list for mandatory labeling.

There are a number of other legumes for which allergies have been described including chickpea, lentils and peas.

For more detailed information on these foods please follow the links:

Soybean, Soy

Updated 10 March, 2014


Peanut | Food Allergy Research & Education

Peanut Allergy: Do You Need to Avoid Soy and Legumes?

To prevent a reaction, it is very important that you avoid peanut and peanut products. Always read food labels to identify peanut ingredients.

If you are allergic to peanuts, you have a 25 to 40 percent higher chance of also being allergic to tree nuts.1 Also, peanuts and tree nuts often touch one another during manufacturing and serving processes. Discuss with your allergist whether you need to also avoid tree nuts.

Peanuts are one of the eight major allergens that must be listed on packaged foods sold in the U.S., as required by federal law.

Avoid foods that contain peanuts or any of these ingredients:

  • Arachis oil (another name for peanut oil)
  • Artificial nuts
  • Beer nuts
  • Cold-pressed, expelled or extruded peanut oil*
  • Goobers
  • Ground nuts
  • Lupin (or lupine)—which is becoming a common flour substitute in gluten-free food. A study showed a strong possibility of cross-reaction between peanuts and this legume, un other legumes.
  • Mandelonas (peanuts soaked in almond flavoring)
  • Mixed nuts
  • Monkey nuts
  • Nut meat
  • Nut pieces
  • Peanut butter
  • Peanut flour
  • Peanut protein hydrolysate

*Highly refined peanut oil is not required to be labeled as an allergen. Studies show that most people with peanut allergy can safely eat this kind of peanut oil. If you are allergic to peanuts, ask your doctor whether you should avoid peanut oil.

But avoid cold-pressed, expelled or extruded peanut oil—sometimes called gourmet oils. These ingredients are different and are not safe to eat if you have a peanut allergy.

Other Possible Sources of Peanut

Peanuts can be found in surprising places. While allergens are not always present in these food and products, you can’t be too careful.

Remember to read food labels and ask questions about ingredients before eating a food that you have not prepared yourself.

  • African, Asian (especially Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, Thai and Vietnamese), and Mexican restaurant food—even if you order a peanut-free dish, there is high risk of cross-contact
  • Alternative nut butters, such as soy nut butter or sunflower seed butter, are sometimes produced on equipment shared with other tree nuts and, in some cases, peanuts. Contact the manufacturer before eating these products.
  • Candy (including chocolate candy)
  • Chili
  • Egg rolls
  • Enchilada sauce
  • Glazes and marinades
  • Ice creams
  • Marzipan
  • Nougat
  • Pancakes
  • Pet food
  • Sauces such as chili sauce, hot sauce, pesto, gravy, mole sauce and salad dressing
  • Specialty pizzas
  • Sunflower seeds (which are often produced on equipment shared with peanuts)
  • Sweets such as pudding, cookies, baked goods, pies and hot chocolate
  • Vegetarian food products, especially those advertised as meat substitutes

Also, peanut hulls (shells) can sometimes be found in compost, which can be used as lawn fertilizer. Before you hire a contractor, ask whether they use peanut hulls in their compost so you can make an informed decision.

1 Sicherer SH, Munoz-Furlong A, Burks AW, Sampson HA. Prevalence of peanut and tree nut allergy in the US determined by a random digit dial telephone survey. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1999; 103(4):559-62; see also Sicherer SH, Munoz-Furlong A, Sampson HA.

Prevalence of peanut and tree nut allergy in the United States determined by means of a random digit dial telephone survey: a 5-year follow-up study. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2003; 112(6):1203-7.
2 Sicherer SH, Munoz-Furlong A, Godbold JH, Sampson HA. US prevalence of self-reported peanut, tree nut, and sesame allergy: 11-year follow-up. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2010; 125(6):1322-6.

[LINK to ADVANCING A CURE>FARE Research Grants>Selected Completed Studies > Sicherer, Prevalence of Peanut and Tree Nut Allergy in the United States]


Managing Life With Soy Allergy: Educating Others, Restaurants and School

Peanut Allergy: Do You Need to Avoid Soy and Legumes?

The only current treatment for these allergies is to avoid all traces of soy and legumes and products that may contain them.

If your allergic child (or you) eats soy or legumes with a known allergy, an  epinephrine auto-injector may well be needed to halt the reaction. But using epinephrine is an emergency situation only, it’s not a treatment.

This is why “avoidance” is the operative word for managing a soy or legume allergy. However, this isn’t as simple or easy as that one word suggests.

Soy is found in many packaged food products. You may see it listed in the ingredients as “soy”, “soy lecithin,” or even “hydrolyzed plant protein” (which is often from soy).

Soy is a cheap and easy binder, filler and preservative in packaged food products, so it’s very common to find it in crackers, breads, cookies and other foods that have already been prepared.

However, caution must still be used while shopping because it is unly you will find a “soy-free” logo you might for “peanut-free” on some packaged foods.

Beans, Chickpeas

Other legumes beans, peas, chickpeas and lentils are little bit easier to manage. However, they do present their own challenges.

Chickpeas are the main component of hummus and hummus can be used not only as a dip on its own but in sauces as well.

If you have a soy allergy, Asian restaurants are off-limits because it is a staple in their cuisine. However, don’t let this discourage you from re-creating traditional Asian dishes minus the legumes. For example, you can create an equally good stir-fry with broccoli, chicken and rice instead of bean sprouts and peas.

Hand-Washing: When your child (or you) has a soybean or another plant from the legume family, soap and water are your best friends. Hands should be washed thoroughly before and after eating.

If you have a school-aged child, ensure he (or she) is able to wash his hands before snacks and lunch. With younger children, schools usually adopt an allergy protocol of washing hands among all children after eating.

Cross-Contact: It’s important to make sure soy or legumes and any products that contain them don’t come in contact with the food you are eating. That means thoroughly cleaning utensils and kitchen equipment after use. For example, if someone uses a spoon to take out some hummus in a bowl, make sure you do not use the same spoon for your own food.

When there is a child or adult with a soy or legume allergy in the household, many families choose to eliminate the allergens from the house. This is a personal preference and will depend in part on your family’s ability to be vigilant about keeping the allergic person safe.

Label Reading: Whenever you eat a packaged food, you need to read the label in its entirety to check for any mention of soy. Sometimes, soy (more so than other legumes) can have different names. You also have to look for precautionary statements on package labels, such as “May Contain Soy.”

Soy oil is generally considered safe for soy allergy, provided it’s highly refined. But a minority of people with soy allergy have been reported to react to soy lecithin (which is labeled on packages). Ask for allergist for guidance on your allergy.

One thing to be cautious of with soy allergy: imported foods. Not all countries have the stringent labeling requirements of the United States, Canada and the European Union. Don’t take chances if you suspect soy could be an ingredient of an import.

Speak Up About Food: With food allergies, you have to ask questions and get over shyness when someone else wants to serve food to you or your child with this allergy.

We teach kids to respect adults and authority, but with an allergic child, it’s important to teach them not to eat foods that others offer – unless mom or dad has pre-approved or (when they’re older) unless they’re sure of the ingredients.

For adults, get over embarrassment; be certain to ask about ingredients, and learn to do this an efficient, confident manner.

At School: For a parent of a child with soy or legume allergies, sending them off to school can be a time of anxiousness. While soy is on the top 10 list of allergens, it’s unly you will find schools restricting soy or soy milk in a class – nor asking other parents to please not send kids to school with hummus.

It’s important to communicate clearly and calmly with your child’s teacher and the principal, and to create an anaphylaxis emergency plan (also called a food allergy action plan) to protect your child.

Also ensure that the teacher (and other staff e.g. a coach) is receiving at least annual training on using an epinephrine auto-injector and that he or she knows where your child’s “pen” is kept.

Become familiar with the anaphylaxis policy or law in your province or state and use it to develop a plan tailored to your child. Be sure your allergic child knows not to share food with peers and not to take food from anyone, including the teacher, unless you’ve said it’s OK.

At a Restaurant: Dining out with a soy or legume allergy may seem daunting at first, but it is possible to do so safely and enjoyably.

First, find a restaurant you trust. Call ahead to ask the manager or chef about menu items and how they handle pans and utensils in the kitchen to avoid cross-contamination. If he or she is unable to answer your questions, don’t eat there.

When you arrive at the restaurant, tell your server directly of your serious soy or legume allergy and discuss menu items that will be safe to eat.

If you don’t feel he or she is able to answer your questions properly, ask to speak to the chef or the manager. Be mindful of particularly risky foods: sauces, pre-packaged baked products, breads and salad dressing. When in doubt, don’t eat it.

There is often confusion about cooking in soy oil. As long as the oil is highly refined, studies have shown it is considered safe for those with soy allergy, and the FDA doesn’t require manufacturers to label it as an allergen. (If in doubt about your own allergy, speak to your allergist.)

Be Prepared: Make it a rule – no epinephrine auto-injector means no food.

While you’ll do everything to make sure you’re not eating soy or legumes, accidents happen.

Make sure you always have your auto-injector on you when you eat, in case of an emergency. If your child is allergic, make sure this rule is one he or she takes seriously.

Educating Others: In order to successfully manage a soy or legume allergy, those around you/your child need to be aware of the allergy and the serious consequences that could result from eating them.

Plan what you’ll say to others to explain this condition. Be calm, clear about the information and keep the conversation facts. Politely request that they help you keep yourself or your child safe.

You’ll often find that once a person understands about food allergies and anaphylaxis, they’ll be more than willing to help out.

Be mindful that there is a learning curve, and don’t expect people who don’t live with peanut allergy to absorb it all as quickly as you have.


Soy Allergy

Peanut Allergy: Do You Need to Avoid Soy and Legumes?

As with other food allergies, the best way to manage a soy allergy is to avoid consuming products that contain soy.

Soy is one of the eight allergens that fall under the labeling requirements of the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004. This means that manufacturers of packaged food items sold in the United States and containing soy or a soy-based ingredient must state, in clear language, the presence of soy in the product.

Soy or derivatives of soy are found in some infant formulas, canned broths, soups, canned tuna, processed meats and hot dogs, energy bars, baked goods and many other processed foods.

Soy also is a common ingredient in Asian cuisine and is sometimes contained in chicken nuggets, low-fat peanut butter, alternative nut butters and even vodka.

People with a soy allergy should not consume soy milk, soy yogurt or ice cream, edamame, miso, tempeh and tofu.

Most individuals allergic to soy can safely consume highly refined soybean oil. Ask your allergist about avoiding this ingredient.

Also, be cautious when eating foods that have been fried in any type of oil, due to the risk of cross-contact: If a soy-containing food is fried in oil, that oil will absorb certain soy proteins; if a different food that doesn’t contain soy is then fried in that same oil, consuming it could trigger an allergic reaction.

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.

People with a soy allergy sometimes wonder if they should also avoid peanuts — another legume that is a common allergy trigger. The answer is “not necessarily.

” They are separate foods and their allergen triggers are unrelated. Soybeans also are unrelated to tree nuts such as almonds, walnuts and cashews.

Those allergic to soy are no more ly to be allergic to tree nuts or peanuts than they would be to another food.

Talk to an allergist to take control of your soy allergy and live the life you want.

Managing a severe food reaction with epinephrine

Soy is among the most common food allergens. But all food allergies can be dangerous.

Epinephrine is the first-line treatment for anaphylaxis, a severe whole-body allergic reaction that causes symptoms, including tightening of the airway. Anaphylaxis can occur within seconds or minutes of exposure to the allergen, can worsen quickly, and can be deadly.

Once a food allergy diagnosis is made, your allergist ly will prescribe an epinephrine auto-injector and teach you how to use it. Check the expiration date of your auto-injector, note the expiration date on your calendar and ask your pharmacy about reminder services for prescription renewals.

Be sure to have two doses available, as the severe reaction may recur.

Epinephrine should be used immediately if you experience severe symptoms such as shortness of breath, repetitive coughing, weak pulse, generalized hives, tightness in the throat, trouble breathing or swallowing, or a combination of symptoms from different body areas such as hives, rashes or swelling on the skin coupled with vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal pain. Repeated doses of epinephrine may be necessary.

If you are uncertain whether a reaction warrants epinephrine, use it right away, because the benefits of epinephrine far outweigh the risk that a dose may not have been necessary.

Common side effects of epinephrine may include transient anxiety, restlessness, dizziness and shakiness.

Rarely, the medication can lead to an abnormal heart rate or rhythm, a heart attack, a sharp increase in blood pressure and fluid buildup in the lungs, but these adverse effects are generally caused by errors in dosing which is unly to occur with use of epinephrine autoinjectors. Patients with certain pre-existing conditions who may be at higher risk for adverse effects should speak to their allergist about epinephrine use.

Your allergist will provide you with a written emergency treatment plan that outlines which medications should be administered and when (note that between 10 and 20 percent of life-threatening severe allergic reactions have no skin symptoms). Be sure you understand how to properly and promptly use an epinephrine auto-injector.

Once epinephrine has been administered, immediately call 911 and inform the dispatcher that epinephrine was given and that more may be needed from the emergency responders.

Other medications, such as antihistamine and corticosteroids, may be prescribed to treat mild symptoms of a food allergy, but it is important to note that there is no substitute for epinephrine — this is the only medication that can reverse the life-threatening symptoms of anaphylaxis.

Managing soy allergies in children

Because soy allergy reactions, other food allergy symptoms, can develop when a child is not with his or her parents, parents need to make sure that their child’s school, day care or other program has a written emergency action plan with instructions on preventing, recognizing and managing these episodes in class and during activities such as sporting events and field trips. A nonprofit group, Food Allergy Research & Education, has a list of resources for schools, parents and students in managing food allergies.

If your child has been prescribed an auto-injector, be sure that you and those responsible for supervising your child understand how to use it.

This page was reviewed and updated as of 4/9/2019.


Peanut Allergy

Peanut Allergy: Do You Need to Avoid Soy and Legumes?

Peanut allergy is a common allergy among children. Approximately 0.6% of American children have a peanut allergy.  Peanuts are a common allergen reported to cause fatal and near-fatal allergic reactions. It is important to know the symptoms of a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.

Peanut allergy is usually life-long once acquired.  Studies show that about 20% of peanut allergic children will outgrow their peanut allergy.

Children with a peanut allergy must avoid peanut in all forms.  This includes all peanut products. Children with a peanut allergy also must avoid anything containing traces of peanut ingredients in it.

How to Read a Label for Peanut

Always read the entire ingredient label to look for the names of peanut. Peanut ingredients may be within the list of the ingredients. Or peanut could be listed in a “Contains: Peanuts” statement beneath the list of ingredients. This is required by the federal Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA).  Learn more about the U.S. food allergen labeling law.  

FALCPA requires that all packaged foods regulated by the FDA must list “peanut” clearly on the ingredient label if it contains peanut.

Advisory statements such as “may contain peanut” or “made in a facility with peanut” are voluntary. Advisory statements are not required by any federal labeling law.

Discuss with your doctor if you may eat products with these labels or if you should avoid them. 

Highly refined peanut oil will not be labeled as a major allergen on an ingredient statement. There are clinical studies showing that highly refined oils can be safely eaten by food allergic individuals. This is because highly refined oils contain extremely small levels of allergenic protein.

However, people with peanut allergy need to avoid any expeller pressed, extruded or cold pressed peanut oil. These types of oil do contain peanut protein and must be listed on the label as an allergen.

Did you know that arachis, hypogaeic acid and mandelonas all contain peanut? The FDA food allergen label law requires foods to state if they contain a top 8 allergen such as peanut.

But, there are many foods and products that are not covered by the law, so it is still important to know how to read a label for peanut ingredients. Products exempt from plain English labeling rules: (1) Foods that are not regulated by the FDA. (2) Cosmetics and personal care items.

(3) Prescription and over-the-counter medications. (4) Toys, crafts and pet food.  Download and print our Peanut Allergy Avoidance List and Travel Cards to carry with you and share.

The following ingredients found on a label indicate the presence of peanut protein. All labels should be read carefully before consuming a product, even if it has been used safely in the past. Arachic oilArachisArachis hypogaeaArtificial nutsBeer nutsBoiled peanutsCold pressed, extruded or expelled peanut oilCrushed nuts, crushed peanutsEarth nutsGoober peasGround nuts, ground peanutsHydrolyzed peanut proteinMandelonasMixed nutsMonkey nutsNu nuts flavored nutsNut piecesNutmeatPeanuts, peanut butter, peanut butter chips, peanut butter morselsPeanut flourPeanut pastePeanut sauce, peanut syrupSpanish peanuts

Virginia peanuts


Artificial flavoringBaked goodsCandyChiliChocolateCrumb toppingsEgg rollsEnchilada sauceEthnic foods: African, Asian, Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, Thai, Vietnamese, MexicanFried foodsFlavoringGraham cracker crustHydrolyzed plant proteinHydrolyzed vegetable proteinMarzipanMole sauceNatural flavoring


However, if the product is an FDA regulated food, the word “Peanut” must appear on the label.


Lupine is a legume that cross-reacts with peanut at a high rate and should be avoided by peanut allergic patients. It does not fall under the labeling requirements of FALCPA. Lupine is also known as lupinus albus and can be found in seed or flour form.


Peanuts and soybean are in the legume family which includes beans and lentils. Five percent of children allergic to peanuts may react to other legumes. Many years ago, it was common to recommend avoidance of legumes, including soy, because of a peanut allergy; but this practice has been proven unnecessary. Ask your allergist what is best for your child.

Some allergy experts advise those allergic to peanuts to avoid all tree nuts. Ask your allergist what is best for your child.

Download our Hidden Names for Peanut Guide and Travel-Size Cards

Peanut Oil

FALCPA does not require peanut oil to be labeled as an allergen. Studies show highly refined oils can be safely eaten by those with food allergies. Highly refined oils contain extremely small levels of allergenic protein.

However, peanut oil that is expeller pressed, extruded or cold pressed does contain peanut protein and must be clearly listed on an ingredient label as “peanut”.

These types of peanut oil should be avoided by those with peanut allergy.

Cross Reactivity: Do You Need to Avoid Foods Related to Peanuts?

Cross-reactivity occurs when the proteins in one food are similar to the proteins in another. When that happens, the body's immune system sees them as the same.

Birch and Grass Pollen

Peanut contains proteins that cross-react with birch (a type of tree) or grass pollen. Some (but not all) individuals with these pollen allergies may have oral allergy syndrome (OAS) to peanut. And, for those who do have OAS, they may experience symptoms with some, but not all, foods cross-reactive to a particular pollen to which they are allergic.

Soy and Beans

Peanuts are in the legume family, which includes different beans, including soybeans and lentils. A common question that comes up for people with an allergy to peanut is whether they can eat soy-based foods or other beans.

More than half of peanut-allergic individuals will have a positive skin test or blood allergy test to another legume.  But, it turns out that 95% of them can tolerate and eat the cross-reactive legumes. Many years ago, it was common to recommend avoidance of legumes, including soy, because of a peanut allergy.

This practice has been proven unnecessary. One possible exception is lupine/lupin.

Lupin, Lupine, Lupini Warning

“Lupinus albus” is known as lupin, lupine or lupini and can be found in bean, seed or flour form. Studies show that people who are allergic to peanuts appear to have a greater chance of being allergic to lupin. Lupin is a common food ingredient in Europe and it is relatively new to the U.S. market.

It is ly to become more popular, particularly in gluten-free foods. For people allergic to peanut, eating lupin could cause an allergic reaction on the first exposure. The FDA is actively monitoring complaints of lupin allergies by U.S. consumers.

Find out more: Allergies to a Legume Called Lupin: What You Need to Know

Tree Nuts

Peanuts are legumes and are not botanically related to tree nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, etc.). However, about 35% of peanut-allergic toddlers in the U.S.

have or will develop a tree nut allergy.  Doctors often recommend that young children avoid tree nuts if they are allergic to peanuts.

This is because it is fairly common to be “co-allergic” to tree nuts if a child is peanut allergic.

Another reason for peanut allergic individuals to avoid tree nuts is due to safety concerns. Young children may have a hard time distinguishing a tree nut from a peanut. Also, there is the potential of cross-contamination or cross-contact of tree nut products with peanut.

However, the larger issue is that allergy to tree nuts is common in peanut allergic individuals. Your doctor should check for a tree nut allergy if your child has a peanut allergy.  The doctor can then make recommendations that are just for your child about whether you need to avoid tree nuts.

Your doctor also can make recommendations just for your child regarding seeds, such as sesame seed. There are a few individuals who are allergic to both peanut and seeds.  This is ly due to highly allergic individuals developing another food allergy, rather than cross-reactivity.

Nutrition for a Peanut-Free Diet

Peanuts are a good source of protein in a child's diet. Peanuts also provide a source of niacin, magnesium, vitamins E and B6, manganese, pantothenic acid, chromium, folacin, copper and biotin. Your child can get vitamins and nutrients by consuming a variety of foods from other food groups.

Protein, Vitamins, MineralsIncrease other protein foods such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs,dairy (if safe for your child);fruit, vegetables, and enriched grains

Peanut Substitutions in Recipes

It is very easy to replace nuts in a recipe. There are many seeds and seed products available including sunflower butter and pumpkin seed butter. Roasted chickpeas can replace nut snacks.

Learn more about PEANUT SUBSTITUTES.

Peanut-Free Recipes

Over 1,200 peanut-free recipes are available in KFA's Safe Eats™ Recipes. Search for Peanut-Free Recipes

Chocolate MousseBerry Berry Ice Cream PiePecan Tassies

Early Introduction to Prevent Peanut Allergy

In 2015, the Learning Early About Peanut Allergy (LEAP) study found that introducing peanut early to infants may prevent peanut allergy. The study showed that the group of at-risk infants who ate 2 grams of peanut three times a week had significantly less allergy to peanuts at 5 years of age compared with infants who avoided peanut.

this study and others, an expert panel of doctors, scientists and public health experts created new guidelines on how to introduce peanut to infants. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases released new guidelines in January 2017.

Download our handout Preventing Peanut Allergy: Introduce Peanut Foods Early to Your Baby.

Medical review July 2015.


Legumes (Including Pulses)

Peanut Allergy: Do You Need to Avoid Soy and Legumes?

Legumes are a family of plants used for food. They include peanuts, soya, lupin, green beans, green peas and fenugreek.

Dried seeds known as pulses are also part of the legume family. These include chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans and other dried beans.

If you know or believe you are allergic to any legume, this article will provide you with the basic facts to help you better understand your allergy.

What is a food allergy?

Food allergy occurs when a person’s immune system reacts inappropriately to a food. The first stage of the process is called sensitisation – when the immune system’s “memory” registers the food as a threat.

Antibodies to that food are produced, and at a subsequent encounter, these antibodies connect with the food’s proteins and trigger the release of certain substances in the body, such as histamine.

This results in an allergic reaction.

Symptoms of food allergy

The symptoms of a food allergy can come on rapidly. These may include nettle rash (otherwise known as hives or urticaria) anywhere on the body, or a tingling or itchy feeling in the mouth. Many people’s allergy symptoms are mild but on rare occasions serious symptoms occur.

More serious symptoms of a food allergy may include:

  • Swelling in the face, throat and/or mouth
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Severe asthma
  • Abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting

The term for this more serious form of allergy is anaphylaxis.  In extreme cases there could be a dramatic fall in blood pressure (anaphylactic shock). The person may become weak and floppy and may have a sense of something terrible happening. This may lead to collapse and unconsciousness. On rare occasions, death from a food allergy can occur.

See the links at the end of this article for more details about anaphylaxis and its treatment.

Types of legumes

Peanuts: Peanuts are a common cause of allergic reactions, especially among children, and reactions can be severe.

In our experience, the number of people with peanut allergy who react to other legumes is relatively small and this is supported by research from the USA.

Care is needed, but most people with peanut allergy find they can tolerate these other legumes without problems. Raise this with your allergy specialist for specific advice. Read more about peanut allergy.

Soya: Allergy to soya is uncommon in the UK compared with milk, egg, peanut and fish allergy. Read more about soya allergy.

Lupin: The seeds from some varieties of lupin are cultivated as food. These can either be eaten whole or else crushed to make lupin flour, which can be used in baked goods such as pastries, pies, pancakes and in pasta. Read more about lupin allergy.

Others legumes including their dried seeds (pulses): Any food containing protein has the capability of causing an allergic reaction. The following list includes just some of the legumes that may trigger allergic reactions for some people. Many people with a legume allergy will only be sensitive to one or two foods on this list.

  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Green peas
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Kidney beans
  • Haricot beans (navy beans)
  • Adzuki beans
  • Butter beans (lima beans)
  • Broad beans (fava beans)
  • Fenugreek
  • Cannellini beans
  • Flageolet beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Borlotti beans
  • Mange-tout
  • Tamarind

Diagnosis and treatment

If you suspect you have an allergy to a food – in this case any member of the legume family – it is important to see your GP as soon as possible. Some GPs have a clear understanding of allergy, but allergy is a specialist subject and your doctor may need to refer you to an allergy clinic. Anyone who has suffered anaphylaxis should certainly be referred.

Your GP can locate an allergy clinic in your area by visiting the website of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Once you get a referral, the consultant will discuss your symptoms with you in detail as well as your medical history. Skin prick tests and blood tests may help form an accurate picture. If your reactions are ly to be severe you will be prescribed an adrenaline auto-injector for self-use in an emergency.

The presence of asthma – especially when poorly-controlled – is known to be a major risk factor for the occurrence of more severe allergic reactions.

Avoiding legumes

Read ingredient lists carefully every time you shop. When buying catered food, such as that sold in restaurants and takeaways, it is important to question staff directly. Staff may not be aware that legumes can cause allergic reactions. Make sure you name the specific legume or pulse that causes the problem.

Foods to watch out for:

  • Dahl, or dal, in Asian cooking is made up of lentils, peas or other legumes
  • Houmous, or hummus, is a thick paste made using chickpeas
  • Most commercial canned baked beans are made from haricot beans
  • Falafel is a deep-fried ball made from ground chickpeas, fava beans, or other legumes
  • The seed of the fenugreek plant is used in Indian-style spiced foods such as curries. See our separate article on fenugreek.
  • Tamarind can be an ingredient of Worcestershire sauce and BBQ sauce

There appears to be a trend in the food industry for using pea protein in a variety of goods. These foods include some meat and fish products, processed foods, soups, sauces, pancake mixes, baked goods, cereals, snacks and some gluten-free products. The key message is read ingredient lists carefully.

It is also worth noting that researchers based in Canada reported on five children who had various allergy symptoms upon eating cooked peas, but were able to eat raw peas. Although this may not be a common occurrence, we believe doctors should consider allergy to cooked legumes even in patients who can tolerate them when eaten raw.

Our helpline has been asked whether guar gum is a problem for people allergic to legumes. Guar gum is a chemical extracted fromguarbeans and used as a thickening and stabilizing agent in food. It is also used in some medicines.

Medical experts have made us aware of an extremely small number of allergic reactions to guar gum contained in foods.  However, it is probable that the risk to people who are allergic to other legumes (such as peanut or soya) is minimal.

As far as we know, allergy to guar gum is extremely rare.

What else might you react to?

If you react to one member of the legume family, it is possible you could react to another member of this group. This process is known as “cross-reactivity” – where the proteins in one food share certain characteristics with those in another food. Cross-reactivity among different legumes is not common, but this is something that should be discussed with your doctor.


To find out more about anaphylaxis and its treatment (adrenaline), click on the links.


The above information sheet has been peer reviewed by Dr Patrick Yong, Consultant Immunologist in the Department of Clinical Immunology and Allergy, Frimley Park Hospital, Surrey. He has no conflicts of interest in relation to his review of this information sheet.

Our sources

All the information we produce is evidence based or follows expert opinion and is checked by our Clinical and research reviewers. If you wish to know the sources we used in producing any of our information products, please let us know, and we will gladly supply details.

Published:  March 2019

Review date: March 2022