Soy: Friend or Foe?

I was inspired today by Kristen’s post on online health and nutrition stories, in regards to their viability.

I have recently been reading a lot of articles about the Pros and Cons of Soy and am still confused by all the information that is out there.


Soy has been around for ages, but has only recently been touted as the new health food from the gods. Soy advertising campaigns show us how soy is the perfect health food, praising  it as a high in protein, low fat substance,  which is a good source of fiber and can prevent certain forms of cancer, as well as preventing heart disease.

The health claims surrounding soy make it seem like the perfect food that everyone should be incorporating into their diets, but I think this information is shrouded by all the money that has been rolling into the pockets of soy manufacturers since these claims have become mainstream and popular.

Soy is now sold to the upscale consumer, not as a cheap, poverty food but as a miracle substance that will prevent heart disease and cancer, whisk away hot flushes, build strong bones and keep us forever young. The competition – meat, milk, cheese, butter and eggs – has been duly demonized by the appropriate government bodies. Soy serves as meat and milk for a new generation of virtuous vegetarians.”

Could something that sounds so healthy actually be dangerous? (This is where my confusion lies)

Maybe soy is too good to be true.  As I did some further reading I have found some pretty strange things that are in Soy products, which I had no idea about….and the manufacturing process also frightens me a bit.

“Soy production takes place in industrial factories where a slurry of soy beans is first mixed with an alkaline solution to remove fiber, then precipitated and separated using an acid wash and, finally, neutralized in an alkaline solution. Acid washing in aluminum tanks leaches high levels of aluminum into the final product. The resultant curds are spray- dried at high temperatures to produce a high-protein powder. A final indignity to the original soybean is high-temperature, high-pressure extrusion processing of soy protein isolate to produce textured vegetable protein.”

I have yet to form a conclusive opinion, but like any other health foods, moderation is the key.

If anyone has an opinion on this topic I would love to hear your thoughts.

Do you think soy milk is safe to drink?

Should tofu be a staple in our diets?


8 thoughts on “Soy: Friend or Foe?

  1. I REALLY appreciate you writing about this! Soy is something I’ve thought about using, and only do so on occasion, simply because I know there are MANY health benefits to skim milk that I don’t completely feel comfortable with losing. I’ll be interested to hear what you find out next!

    • I have only just begun my research into it, so I’ll keep you posted if I find some more cool/helpful info.
      I’m with you though, I really only use soy products on occasion.

  2. I think this is a great topic! I tend to avoid soy because I had hypothyroidism and nodules on my thyroid. I have been told by more than 5 doctors that it would be wise to avoid it. I think for others, everything in moderation is fine. 🙂

    • Yeah I have heard that it can have that effect. I just don’t understand why North America promotes soy products so heavily while so many other countries, such as France, Germany, Israel, New Zealand etc. are issuing public health warnings against it. Seems a little backwards to me, like we are missing out on some vital info.

      “One UK study involving pre-menopausal women gave 60 grams of soy protein per day for one month. This was found to disrupt the menstrual cycle, with the effects of the isoflavones continuing for a full three months after stopping the soy in the diet. Another study found that intake of soy over a long period causes enlargement of the thyroid and suppresses thyroid function. Isoflavones are also known to modify fertility and change sex hormone status, and to have serious health effects — including infertility, thyroid disease or liver disease.”


  3. I just read an article about this in Bon Apetite. I can’t really make up my mind. I think (like a lot of things) in moderation, soy is fine – but it can’t be the single element of any diet.

    • I read that article too 🙂
      And yes, like it said in that article, probably incorporating soy into your diet once and a while
      is safe and healthy.

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