To Eat or Not to Eat: Soy

soySoy is found in many of our foods, and is processed as the main ingredient for many meat and dairy substitutes. This is because soy is a plant-based protein that can also be liquefied into a milky substance or solidified like a cheese. In addition to soymilk and soy-based cheese, it’s also the main ingredient in soy sauce, tofu, tempeh, vegetarian burgers, TVP (textured vegetable protein), soy bran, some meal replacements and supplements, and also can be eaten whole as edamame or soy nuts. As a result, many people eat soy daily. But is this a good choice?

Pros

  • Soy is an adequate source of Vitamin D for those who are allergic to cow’s milk[1]
  • Soy protein can trigger weight loss for obese or overweight people where meat protein does not[2][3]
  • Soy may help prevent cancer or stroke, as well as reduce cholesterol[4][5][6][7]

Cons

  • Soy is often processed in the same facilities as wheat and grown alongside wheat pastures, meaning it may not be the best option for people avoiding gluten[8]
  • Overconsumption of soy could boost your estrogen levels, which can result in male infertility[9]

Conclusions

Soy appears to be a great choice for gluten-tolerant people looking to diversify their sources of protein. It may help promote weight loss and contains many beneficial properties.  Personally, I’ll eat it a few times a week, but just like anything else, soy should be eaten in moderation.

Excess soy consumption can lead to wonky hormones and consequential health problems. If you find that you’re eating too much soy, then the fix may be easier than you think. Substitutes are readily available, including almond milk, rice milk and hemp milk-based dairy products.  Also, consider alternative plant-based sources of protein. Keep diversifying your diet and include some soy occasionally, just make sure not to over do it.

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