One of the first alternatives to plant milk on the market, soy milk helped millions of people avoid dairy products when veganism was in its infancy and lactose intolerance was less understood. Now that there are so many more alternatives to milk, you may be wondering how to compare your diet to soy milk.
In fact, many concerns have been raised about the safety of soy milk consumption. Over the years, he has been accused of disrupting hormonal health, harming people with thyroid disease or even causing several types of cancer. Then it is understandable that you can think twice before putting a box of soy milk in your shopping cart.
But does soy milk deserve such a bad reputation? Here we will take a closer look at its nutritional value and potential health benefits. And if you want to learn more about the plant-based diet and how it can benefit your health, check out our plant diet for beginners for more tips.
Soy milk: nutritional information
|Nutrient||Amount per serving (1 cup)||% daily value|
|Dietary fiber||0.5 g||2%|
|vitamin D.||2.7 mcg||14%|
|Riboflavin (vitamin B2)||0.45 mg||35%|
|Cobalamin (vitamin B12)||2.07 mcg||86%|
How long does soy milk last?
Just like milk, soy milk can be divided into two categories: UHT (ultra-high temperature) / stable and fresh / chilled. UHT beverages are subjected to extensive heat treatment to extend their shelf life, while chilled ones do not. As a result, they come with different expiration dates and storage guidelines.
Durable soy milk usually has a shelf life of six to 12 months. Chilled ones tend to have a much shorter shelf life – usually a few weeks from the time of production – and stay fresh for about a week after opening.
What are the benefits of soy milk?
Soybeans are one of the best sources of plant protein. One cup of cooked soybeans provides almost 30 g of this macronutrient, so if you do not use the best vegan protein powderSoy milk can be a great way to meet some of your daily protein needs.
According to a comprehensive review published in Nutrients (opens in a new tab), soybeans also contain significant amounts of calcium, manganese and selenium, as well as highly bioactive polyphenols called isoflavones. Numerous studies included in a review published in Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (opens in a new tab) have shown that high intake of soy products can lead to a reduced risk of death from several different cancers, including breast, stomach, colorectal, prostate and lung cancers, as well as cardiovascular disease and metabolic conditions.
Many of these positive effects are attributed to isoflavones. According to a review published in Molecules (opens in a new tab) magazine, these polyphenols can play many important roles in the human body. It is assumed that they can be protected from hypertension, regulates blood sugar levels, lowers cholesterol levels, prevents atherosclerosis and reduces inflammation levels. Soy isoflavones have also been shown to improve the flexibility of arteries, contribute to better gastrointestinal health and prevent bone loss associated with osteoporosis.
Much fewer studies have been conducted on soy milk, but it is possible to assume that this alternative to plant milk will show similar benefits, although less pronounced due to the high water content.
However, the results of the available research are quite contradictory. A review published in Functional Food Magazine (opens in a new tab) found that regular consumption of soy milk can significantly contribute to lower blood pressure, better blood lipid profile and improved waist circumference. At the same time, no significant differences were found in body weight, “good” HDL cholesterol, fasting blood sugar or markers of systemic inflammation.
Another review published in Complementary therapies in medicine (opens in a new tab) A journal evaluates the effects of soy milk on blood serum lipids and finds no significant association between the two factors.
However, soy milk remains popular among vegans, vegetarians and consumers who care about their health because of its affordability and affordability. You can easily find cheap boxes of soy milk in most grocery stores and supermarkets across the country and there are usually a range of different brands and flavors to choose from. Moreover, most manufacturers enrich their drinks with many vitamins and minerals that are likely to be deficient in plant foods, making them a convenient dietary supplement for vegans and vegetarians.
Is Soy Milk Harmful to You?
Soybeans and soy milk can have a number of health benefits, but there are some risks and considerations.
If you compare soy milk with cow’s milk, the latter has better intestinal protein absorption. Moreover, soy milk contains several compounds, often called anti-nutrients. Anti-nutrients have the ability to interfere with the natural processes of digestion and reduce the absorption of certain nutrients in the intestine. According to a review published in Journal of Agricultural Sciences (opens in a new tab), there are several of these compounds present in soy. These components can lead to lower intake of micronutrients, especially vitamin A, vitamin B12 and vitamin D and even affect the formation of red blood cells. Fortunately, modern production processes are getting better at removing most of these anti-nutrients.
Another concern is the potential negative impact of soy isoflavones on thyroid function and iodine metabolism. It has also been suggested that they may interfere with the absorption of synthetic thyroid hormones. However, researchers from Thyroid (opens in a new tab) The journal collected the results of 14 different studies and concluded that there was no evidence that soy consumption posed a risk to adults with hypothyroidism or people with iodine deficiency. However, to minimize any potential problems, soybean users are advised to ensure that their iodine intake is adequate.
Because isoflavones can mimic the effects of female reproductive hormones, many people are concerned about the potentially negative effects of soy on men’s health. But the evidence suggests that is not the case. According to a meta-analysis published in Reproductive toxicology (opens in a new tab)isoflavones do not affect testosterone, estradiol, estrone or sex hormone binding globulins in older men.
Some soy milks may also have large amounts of added sugars, especially if they are flavored. As excessive sugar consumption is harmful to your health, always check that the product is artificially sweetened.