Hello! Welcome to Beyond Soy!
Eating soy-free can often be perceived as eating healthy, but this isn’t strictly true. While we do tend to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, we don’t hold ourselves exclusively to eating healthy things. Nevertheless, this healthy perception can lead people who are unfamiliar with soy-free foods to perceive some foods that actually contain soy as being soy-free.
A great example of this type of mistake is granola. Granola is the ultimate in healthy breakfast, except for maybe avocado on toast (which is a great soy-free option when made with soy-free bread). So it is easy to think about granola as a soy-free food. The typical ingredients are also soy-free: oats, sugar, spices, honey, raisins, etc. None of these are likely to contain soy (do watch out for cross-contamination on rolled oats), but there is one major ingredient that is commonly forgotten: oil.
Granola needs a binding agent and that binding agent almost always includes soybean oil. We aren’t sure why soybean oil is so common in this application, but we expect it is because soybean oil is the cheapest cooking oil and it doesn’t affect the flavor of the granola. Unfortunately, this means that granola is often off the table for us.
Some soy-free granolas do exist, but they are more expensive and tend to be harder to find. This means that we typically avoid granola, as healthy as it is, and instead look for yogurt or fruit options for breakfast. These alternatives offer the same healthy start to the morning without the risk of soy. Although, we’ve never been ones to turn down soy-free donuts either…
The presence of soy in granola hasn’t had a huge effect on our eating, but it illustrates how easy it is to skip over an ingredient when thinking through a product, and the importance of reading through the ingredient list before buying something. If something doesn’t seem like it would contain soy, it never hurts to read through the ingredient list just to make sure.