Soy milk was once thought to cause health concerns, but for most people, soy milk is a healthy, nondairy alternative to cow's milk.
Soy milk is a great way to get some protein into your diet, despite the fact that soy's reputation as a healthy food has seesawed in recent years. However, as registered dietitian Alex Caspero writes in Women's Health, experts are now confident that drinking soy milk every day is good for you, with few side effects that can cause concern or discomfort.
Soy Milk's Reputation
Soy milk and other foods made with soybeans were once hailed as superfoods with no downsides. Soy is a nutrient-dense form of protein, eaten in many parts of the world more regularly than in the United States.
But then, an American Cancer Society study published in March 2017 indicated that soy could increase breast cancer risk, especially in premenopausal women, and researchers questioned the health benefits of soy. Newer research, however, doesn't bear this out.
A study led by researchers at Tufts University followed women who were diagnosed with breast cancer. Those who ate foods containing isoflavones, found primarily in soy foods, showed a 21 percent decrease in death rates from all causes. Furthermore, a study in the journal Fertility and Sterility showed no ill effects from the protein or isoflavones in soy on male testosterone.
The experts from the Nutrition Source at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health think that doubts about soy milk benefits were premature and that questionable study results may stem from wide discrepancies in how soy consumption is evaluated.
Soy Milk Benefits
The primary ingredient in soy milk is soybeans. Soy milk is packed with protein. Drinking soy milk every day, even three glasses of it, is unlikely to have negative side effects, and it is good for you. One advantage is that it does not have lactose, which makes it especially good for people who are lactose intolerant.
Soy milk has less saturated fat than almond milk. It also has the same amount of protein and similar nutrient content to cow's milk, except it has less calcium. Soy milk is often fortified with as much calcium as cow's milk has, however. Soy is high in isoflavones, which can reduce inflammation, and may help the body fight cancer-causing agents.
In a study at McGill University, researchers who compared unsweetened soy milk with rice milk, coconut milk and almond milk found that soy milk has the most balanced nutrient profile of the milk alternatives. The only negatives may come from added sugar, flavoring or other additives, so check the label carefully.