Soy milk, which is high in proteins, is one the best alternatives for people with dairy allergy and lactose intolerance. Despite many misconceptions about the potential side effects of soy milk, recent research-based evidence suggests that soy milk may actually have a number of benefits that were not known until now. Here are some myths that surround soy milk.
1. Soy Milk Inhibits Thyroid Function
There is little evidence to show that soy milk affects thyroid function. However, soy milk is known to increase the requirement of thyroid hormone in hypothyroid patients who are also iodine-deprived. Therefore, hypothyroid adults are not required to avoid soy milk completely as long as they ensure that their iodine intake is optimal.1
2. Soy Milk Causes Breast Cancer
Soy contains plant-derived compounds called isoflavones. These isoflavones are classified as phytoestrogens because of estrogenic activities. Early consumption of soy milk may reduce the risk of developing breast cancer as adults. Though data suggest that breast cancer survivors are better off not consuming soy milk in excess, an intake of about 10 mg or more of soy foods per day has been linked to a 25 percent decreased risk of tumor regrowth in these women.2 Soy milk may also prevent or decrease the progression of prostate cancer.
3. Soy Milk Reduces Bone Mineral Density
Though the positive effects of soy milk did not show any definitive results in postmenopausal women, the benefits of the isoflavones are to be considered as a potential alternative for bone-strengthening treatments in menopausal women.
4. Soy Milk Causes Cardiovascular Problems
Soy milk might increase the levels of good cholesterol (HDL) formed in the blood. It may also contain cardiovascular benefits and enhance vascular function in a controlled trial of postmenopausal women.
5. Soy Milk Is Ineffective For Menopausal Hot Flashes
Over 75 percent of women report menopause-related symptoms including, but not limited to, hot flashes and night sweats. Supplements such as soy that mainly contain the isoflavone genistein are known to consistently reduce the intensity of these menopausal hot flashes.3
6. Soy Milk Causes Alzheimer’s Disease
There is no scientific evidence that soy milk triggers Alzheimer’s and the associated cognitive decline in any way. While research has shown that 100 mg per of soy milk does not benefit older men and women with Alzheimer’s, any other cognitive benefits of soy milk are yet to be proven.4
7. Soy Milk Clots Red Blood Cells
Vitamin K-rich foods, such as soy beans, are known to thicken the blood. Therefore, patients using blood thinners will benefit by including soy in their diet as it reduces the potential side effects of their blood-thinning medications.5
A Word Of Caution
Soy is very rich in phytoestrogens. The percentage of soy in infant food and other food products may not be high, but it is wise to check the consumption in kids and teenagers.
|↑1||Messina, Mark, and Geoffrey Redmond. “Effects of soy protein and soybean isoflavones on thyroid function in healthy adults and hypothyroid patients: a review of the relevant literature.” Thyroid 16, no. 3 (2006): 249-258.|
|↑2||Soy Isoflavones. Oregon State University.|
|↑3||Williamson-Hughes, Patricia S., Brent D. Flickinger, Mark J. Messina, and Mark W. Empie. “Isoflavone supplements containing predominantly genistein reduce hot flash symptoms: a critical review of published studies.” Menopause 13, no. 5 (2006): 831-839.|
|↑4||Gleason, Carey E., Barbara L. Fischer, N. Maritza Dowling, Kenneth DR Setchell, Craig S. Atwood, Cynthia M. Carlsson, and Sanjay Asthana. “Cognitive effects of soy isoflavones in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.” Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 47, no. 4 (2015): 1009-1019.|
|↑5||Glendening, Mary Beth, and Ernest W. Page. “The site of inhibition of blood clotting by soy bean trypsin inhibitor.” Journal of Clinical Investigation 30, no. 11 (1951): 1298.|