Soy Protein: Is it bad or good?

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 It’s a great controversy in the nutrition world right now. I’ve heard statements: “It causes breast cancer” and “It raises estrogen levels in men and negatively affects women’s fertility.” The internet is where false myths go to prosper, and ultimately turn from myth to “fact.” Well, unfortunately, this is what happened to soy. Soy is GOOD for you, and all of the said myths above are false. 

The soy bean contains plant estrogen. At some point, some genius decided to spread that ingesting plant estrogen meant your human estrogen will be affected. BOLOGNA. In no way can plant estrogen have any impact on human estrogen. As far as breast cancer goes, regular soy-ingesting females can carry on. Experts have conducted studies in Asia and the United States that conclude eating soy reduces the risk of breast cancer by 30%! Wow, that’s a quite of a different result than it “causing cancer.” 

Soy protein also is a great source of isoflavones, which can act as an antioxidant, trapping oxygen for good use in the body. Let’s also not forget that soy beans are plant based. They are GOOD for the heart! There are so many bad studies out there on soy, and I can tell you why. Supplement companies rely heavily on selling whey protein (animal derived protein) to body builders and those that want to increase muscle mass (this is a whole other topic for a later date). As prosperous as the supplement industry is these days, they spend their time bashing soy to make people think twice about spending their money on up-and-coming companies such as Body By Vi. I never would endorse a protein-heavy diet, whether it’s whey or soy. Too much of either protein has negative effects on the body (also, a topic for another date). In regards to soy, not ALL soy products are created equal.

Here is a best to worst list of soy products that are on the market and doing pretty well among soy users. The ones toward the bottom of the list are there because they contain excess added sugars or are usually highly processed at the factory in order to stay fresh. The products at the top spots can be found at health food stores such as Fresh Market or Naturally Yours. 

  1. Tempeh – aids in digestion; a fermented type of soy beans
  2. Tofu, Edamame – edamame is just a fancy name for boiled soy beans; great with any dinner and is actually a lot better tasting than it sounds
  3. Soy milk – make sure it’s “whole bean milk”; avoid milk with added sugars such as brown rice syrup and evaporated cane juice; also, avoid expiration dates that last longer than your normal gallon of milk would
  4. Soy chips – not too different than your normal bag of fat-free Lay’s
  5. Soy burger – not as fresh as it may seem; go with the turkey burger, instead
  6. Soy protein bar – lots of extra sugars; in my opinion, avoid all protein bars

So, men and women both, continue your soy ways. If you don’t have this in your diet, you may be missing a few essential things that could be useful. All that is needed is a serving of soy beans/edamame at dinner, or even included in a salad, once or twice a week. Keep calm and soy on. 

 

Move to the beat of your own drum.

 

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