Health

Benefits of Soy Milk: Understanding the Controversies

Soy products have been involved in some serious controversy – We’re here to squash it! It’s time to learn about the benefits of soy milk and stop wondering.

With all the different flavors and benefits of soy milk it’s no wonder so many people have been switching to it from animal milk. But all this switching has led to some interesting findings. Read along to find out what effects your favorite beverage may be having on you.

The good effects

soy milk with soy beans

It helps lower cholesterol: Animal milk has a ton of cholesterol, but soy milk has absolutely none whatsoever.

Also, fitday.com adds that, “The monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids in soy can inhibit the transport of cholesterol into your blood stream. Studies have shown that regular intake of soy can significantly lower you blood concentrations of triglyceride and low density lipoproteins (LDL), and raise the level of high density lipoproteins (HDL). This combined effect makes soy milk an ideal drink if you have high cholesterol or have a family history of coronary heart diseases.”

It helps you lose weight: Soy milk is packed with fiber which helps you feel fuller and satiated for a longer period. It also helps to rid the body of toxins.

It’s a good source of protein: While soy milk has been processed a bit and may have a little less protein, it is still a good source.

Huffingtonpost.com states that, “Soybeans are what's known as a complete protein, meaning they contain all of the essential amino acids we have to get from food because they can't be made by the body. A cup of cooked soybeans contains about 22 grams of protein, almost as much as a serving of steak. Tofu, however, contains significantly less, with just nine grams in a three-ounce serving of extra firm, and just six grams in three ounces of soft tofu.”

That’s not bad if you ask me! For vegetarians or those with strict diets who find it hard to get enough protein, soy may be the answer.

The bad effects

First and foremost, we’re going to answer the most burning question: Will soy milk cause men to get man boobs? The truth is that it has happened, but it doesn’t happen to every man who drinks soy milk. In most cases where it did occur, the men were drinking very large amounts of it over a long period of time.

In fact, studies show that some men who consume soy milk products have a whole lot of health issues such as decreased sperm count, erectile dysfunction, and strange behavior issues. But what can these findings in men mean for women? Read below to see the answer.

Breast cancer: There have recently emerged suggestions that soy milk may increase a woman’s risk for breast cancer, because it contains ingredients that mimic estrogen in the body and can affect the hormones.

However, cancer.org insists that there is no conclusive data to support these ideas. They claim that “More research is needed to understand the relationship between specific forms of soy and doses of isoflavones on cancer risk and recurrence.

We also need to learn more about childhood exposure to isoflavones and risk of cancer. Until more is known, if you enjoy eating soy foods, the evidence indicates that this is safe, and may be beneficial (but note that miso, a fermented soy product, is high in sodium.)

It is prudent to avoid high doses of isolated soy compounds found specifically in supplements, as less is known about their health effects. As for other “hidden” sources of soy proteins, the evidence to date does not suggest harm or benefit. However, if you are concerned about these products, you can choose to avoid them.”

Less Calcium: As a replacement for regular animal milk, soy milk is great for reducing your cholesterol intake, but it’s also reducing your intake of one essential and important nutrient: Calcium. However, many soy milk brands now offer fortified soy products to make sure that soy consumers still receive good amounts of Calcium.

Pear shapes gain weight: New studies in how we look at weight loss are saying that we should stop looking at just diet and exercise and start focusing on hormones. Our hormones decide where each individual stores fat and depending on where that fat is stored, we can tell what hormones may be involved.

For example, pear shaped bodies tend to hold their weight lower (around there hips and thighs). This is often caused by excess estrogen. Having too much estrogen can cause weight gain, water retention, bloating, unstable moods and many other health issues.

The number 1 food to avoid for pear shaped women is, you guessed it, soy. Soy milk can increase the amount of estrogen in the body making some women gain weight or making it difficult for these women to lose weight. To learn more about dieting depending on your body type, click here.

Make your own decisions

There are conflicting studies about soy products and soy milk all over the place! It seems the best answer is no answer, until there is some rock solid scientific data to prove something. As always, consult a health care professional if you are thinking of changing your diet to add or take away soy.

And if you are just fed up with it, either way, you can also try almond milk. If you’re like the rest of us, and you’re just thinking, “I love soy! No way am I giving it up!” Then just keep on reading because we’re going to get into some really yummy soy recipes to keep your love for soy alive!

Make your own soy milk

homemade soy milk

There are a lot of mysteries when it comes to buying foods at the supermarket these days. Sometimes you just don’t know what is in your food, and quite frankly, that’s really scary. Luckily, you can do it yourself and have some piece of mind with a cup of homemade soy milk!

Soy milk recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup organic yellow soybeans
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp honey or sugar (Leave it unsweetened if you wish!)
  • ½ tsp vanilla, optional
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Soaking beans: 480 minutes
  • Total time: 520 minutes

Preparation:

  1. Soak beans overnight in a large bowl.
  2. The next day, discard any beans that have not softened or expanded.
  3. Rinse beans and discard loose skins.
  4. Put beans and 2-3 cups of water in blender.
  5. Puree until smooth, adding more water as necessary.
  6. Strain milk and pulp through a sieve lined with a cheesecloth a few times, pressing beans to remove milk.
  7. Put soymilk and 2-3 cups of water in a stockpot and bring to a boil. Stir and skim foam.
  8. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.
  9. Add more water as necessary.
  10. Add honey or sugar to taste. If you like vanilla, you can add that as well.
  11. Chill the milk and store in the refrigerator.

Curry

Simple-Coconut-Curry-over-Coconut-Quinoa

Just getting into soy milk for the first time? Welcome to the club! And no, you don’t have to give up all your favorite foods just because you’re not drinking animal milk. In fact, here is a great 30 minute coconut curry recipe from Minimalistbaker that is vegan, gluten free and tastes great!

Ingredients:

For the curry:

  • 1 Tbsp coconut or olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger (or 1 tsp ground)
  • 1/2 cup broccoli florets (or green bell pepper), diced
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots
  • 1/4 cup diced tomato
  • 1/3 cup snow peas (loosely cut)
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • pinch cayenne or 1 dried red chili, diced (optional for heat)
  • 2 cans light coconut milk (sub full fat for richer texture)
  • 1 cup veggie stock
  • Sea salt and black pepper

For the coconut quinoa:

  • 1 can (14 oz) light coconut milk
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed in a fine mesh strainer
  • 1 Tbsp agave nectar (optional)

For Serving:

Fresh lemon juice, cilantro, mint and/or basil, red pepper flake

Instructions:

  1. If serving with coconut quinoa, begin by washing thoroughly in a fine mesh strainer. Add to a medium saucepan over medium heat and toast for 3 minutes. Add 1 can light coconut milk and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes or until the quinoa is light, fluffy and the liquid is absorbed. Set aside until serving.
  2. In the meantime, heat a large saucepan or pot to medium heat and add 1 Tbsp coconut oil. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, carrot, broccoli and a pinch of salt and pepper and stir. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened – about 5 minutes.
  3. Add curry powder, cayenne (or chili pepper), veggie stock, coconut milk, another healthy pinch of salt and stir.
  4. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat slightly and continue cooking for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Add the snow peas and tomatoes in the last 5 minutes so they don’t overcook.
  6. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. I added another pinch or two of salt.
  7. Serve over coconut quinoa and garnish with fresh lemon juice and herbs.

Ice cream

Vanila ice Cream

Wait, what? You can make ice cream with soy milk? Yes, you can! And it’s really delicious too. Here is a fantastic recipe from soy milk maker Silk.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Silk Original or Vanilla soy, almond or coconut milk
  • 2 cups Silk Original or French Vanilla Creamer
  • 1/2 cup honey, agave or sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 Tbsp arrowroot or cornstarch

Preparation:

  1. Place Silk and Silk Creamer in a medium saucepan and whisk in honey, agave or sugar.
  2. Slice vanilla bean in half lengthwise, and use the tip of a knife to scrape the seeds from the bean into the saucepan. Add bean pod as well.
  3. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and remove about 1/4 cup from the pan and whisk it together with the arrowroot in a small bowl.
  5. Whisk the arrowroot mixture back into the pan, cover and let the mixture infuse for 20 minutes.
  6. Cool completely and process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  7. Make the recipe your own by adding your favorite toppings such as bananas, chocolate, brownies… whatever you want! Milk lovers won’t be able to deny this tasty treat either.

Alfredo

Fettuccini Alfredo sauce

Silk also provides this yummy recipe on how to use their soy milk to make a creamy Alfredo sauce! Note: This recipe is lactose free.

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz fettuccine
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil or soy margarine
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 4 Tbsp dry white wine or vegetable stock
  • 2 cups Silk Unsweetened soy or almond milk
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • Fresh chopped parsley for garnish

Preparation:

  1. Prepare fettuccine according to package directions.
  2. While pasta is boiling, heat olive oil or margarine in a medium saucepan. Add flour and wine or stock and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in Silk and remaining ingredients, except parsley. Bring to a simmer and stir until thickened, about 3 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat.
  5. Toss with cooked pasta, arrange on six plates and sprinkle each serving with fresh parsley.

We hope you’ve learned enough about soy milk and soy products to make some educated decisions about which products to include in your diet. Let us know about your experience with soy milk in the comments below, and be sure to like and share this article with your friends and family.

About the author

Lauren

Lauren is a writer and painter. When she's not painting or writing, she enjoys cooking, exercising, playing music, singing, and getting lost on YouTube for hours on end.

1 Comment

Click here to post a comment

  • Maybe you should check out the Weston Price foundation site to understand the dangers of soy products. By the way cholesterol has been wrongly identified as a “bad guy” we absolutely can’t function without it.