Testing A Food For Soy

Hello! Welcome to Beyond Soy!

Sometimes we can’t tell if a food contains soy or not. We'll do research, check recipes, look at common ingredients for that type of food, and try to find similar soy-free options, but sometimes at the end of the day we just don’t know. A great example of this is beer: since the ingredients in alcohol aren’t required to be labeled, we can never really be certain that a brand of beer is soy-free and Ashley has exhibited symptoms from some beer in the past.



Very occasionally, Ashley and I will test a product for soy. It isn’t really fun (since a “soy-positive” results in Ashley feeling pretty bad), but we’ve done it to be certain that we can or can’t eat a certain food. This is only worth it if we plan to eat this food often in the future. And even after we check a food, there is still a risk of soy because manufacturers can change ingredients without notice.

We are able to do this only because Ashley has an intolerance that isn’t life threatening. While she feels bad for a few days after eating soy, she isn’t at risk of dying or becoming seriously injured. IF YOU HAVE AN ALLERGY, ESPECIALLY A LIFE-THREATENING ALLERGY, DO NOT INTENTIONALLY EAT FOODS YOU ARE ALLERGIC TO.

When we test for soy, we make sure there aren’t any confounding variables (no chance we would have eaten something else questionable during the same time). Here is what we do:

  1. We eat a reasonably sized quantity of the food in question. The quantity is important--eat what you normally would, because you want to know if you’ll have a reaction when you eat the food normally. With too small of a sample, you might be tempted to test the food again in a larger amount if you can’t tell if it is soy-free.
  2. Ashley tracks exactly how she feels using a food journal over the next couple of days. For us a reaction can be immediate or up to a couple hours to a day later. Track how you feel for at least a full day to ensure you catch any symptoms.

In practice, testing a particular food for soy is something that we hardly ever do. As we’ve gotten more adept at guessing about food ingredients, we’ve started to test foods less and less. Especially since testing a particular food doesn’t provide much certainty about similar foods, it is rarely worth the pain of a bad experience. If you do test a food for soy, try to get clear results and be smart about it!