Gluten-Free Soy Milk

Soy milk and edamame, studio shot
Kristin Lee / Getty Images

There's plenty of call for gluten-free soy milk — lots of people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity don't drink cow's milk.

In some cases, it's due to lactose intolerance (people with celiac disease frequently suffer from this problem, especially when they're first diagnosed). In other people, it's due to another sensitivity or intolerance. But regardless, if you can't have dairy, you still want something to put on your gluten-free cereal ...

and that's where soy milk comes in.

Here's a rundown of popular brands of soy milk, along with their gluten-free status:

  • Earth Balance soy milk. Earth Balance makes four different refrigerated soy milk varieties — original, unsweetened, vanilla and chocolate. All are considered gluten-free to the level of less than 20 parts per million of gluten, also known as GF-20 (for more on different "levels" of gluten-free such as GF-20, see: Why Gluten-Free PPM Numbers Matter). There's also a gluten-free soy nog available around the holidays. Earth Balance soy milk is certified organic, vegan and non-GMO project-certified.
  • EdenSoy. Eden Foods produces two different types of boxed, shelf-stable organic soy milk — EdenSoy and EdenBlend (a blend of soy and rice milks). Be careful when buying Eden soy milk, since most of them are not gluten-free — they contain wheat and barley malt extract as a sweetener and flavoring. EdenBlend is listed as gluten-free to 20ppm (GF-20). EdenSoy comes in original plain, unsweetened, vanilla, chocolate and carob flavors, but note that only the unsweetened EdenSoy is considered gluten-free, again to GF-20 levels. The other EdenSoy products contain malted wheat and barley extract, and so are most definitely not safe, and the ones listed as gluten-free are processed on the same equipment as the ones that contain wheat and barley malt.
  • 8th Continent soy milk. 8th Continent makes eight different kinds of soy milk, including original, vanilla, complete vanilla (fortified with omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and calcium), light original, light vanilla, light chocolate, fat-free original and fat-free vanilla. All are gluten-free to GF-20 levels, according to the company, and all are refrigerated products, meaning you should look for them in the dairy case. The company does not make any gluten-containing products.
  • Pacific Natural Foods. Pacific makes five different varieties of boxed, shelf-stable soy milk: Original, Original Unsweetened, Vanilla, Original Organic Unsweetened, enriched Ultra Soy Original and enriched Ultra Soy Vanilla. All are GF-20 — gluten-free to 20ppm, according to the company. Note that Pacific makes its 7-Grain milk, which includes wheat, barley,  and oats, on the same lines as its soy milks.
  • Silk. In many ways, Silk was a pioneer in the soy milk industry. The company helped to popularize soy milk and gain its acceptance by the mainstream by selling soy milk alongside regular milk in the dairy case, as opposed to in shelf-stable boxes on the grocery shelves. Silk makes many different kinds of soy milks, including a soy-based coffee creamer. The company's statement on gluten says its products are considered gluten-free (to less than 20ppm, or GF-20 levels). "We have extensive testing protocols in place to detect and prevent contamination by gluten or gluten components. Of course, anyone with severe allergies should always consult a doctor before introducing a new food."
  • Soy Dream. Hain Celestial makes both Soy Dream and Rice Dream. Rice Dream is labeled gluten-free, but uses barley enzymes in processing (for more on this, check out Is Rice Dream Gluten-Free?). Soy Dream does not use these barley enzymes and is labeled gluten-free to 20ppm (GF-20). The shelf-stable, boxed beverage comes in Enriched Original, Vanilla, Enriched Vanilla and Enriched Chocolate, while the refrigerated version of Soy Dream comes in Original, Enriched Original, and Enriched Vanilla.
  • Trader Joe's. Quirky supermarket chain Trader Joe's carries both soy milk (original, vanilla and sometimes other flavors) and soy creamer in the dairy section, plus shelf-stable soy milk. Unsweetened shelf-stable soy milk appears on the retailer's gluten-free list, as do organic original, unsweetened and vanilla flavors in the refrigerated section.
  • Westsoy. Westsoy, another Hain Celestial company, makes both organic and non-organic shelf-stable boxed soy milks in a bunch of different flavors, including vanilla and almond. It also makes sugar-free Soy Slender diet shakes. According to Westsoy's frequently asked questions, "Most WESTSOY® Beverages are gluten-free. Look for The Hain Celestial Group gluten-free symbol on these and many other Hain Celestial products that are tested to be gluten-free." Therefore, you always should check for a "GF" symbol on Westsoy products, which will be gluten-free to 20ppm (GF-20).
  • ZenSoy. Certified organic ZenSoy makes plain, vanilla, chocolate, and cappuccino soy milks which you can find in the refrigerator case. It also makes single-serve "soy on the go" in sippy boxes along with soy milk-based puddings, both of which also can be found in the refrigerated section of the store. ZenSoy states that its soy milks are "free of gluten," which means they're at least GF-20, or gluten-free to 20ppm. The company does not make any gluten-containing products.

Unfortunately for those of us who rely on certified gluten-free products because they're tested down to below 10ppm (GF-10), I haven't been able to find a soy milk that's certified or one that's tested for trace gluten to that level.

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