There are lots of positive and negative health benefits of soy milk (soya) It might not be the best option when it comes to dairy free milk substitutes. Also, it is suggested that you should take soy milk instead of skim milk, as the latter contains much sugar and saturated fat.
Soy milk is still marketed as a healthy product, but there are loads of reasons to avoid it and also why you should take it. Here are a few reasons why you should consider taking soy milk or not to.
Soy milk is a highly processed product. The soybeans are heated at high temperatures and acid washed in aluminum tanks, so the aluminum may be transferred into the soy milk. Processed soy in general has been shown to disrupt endocrine and thyroid function and may negatively affect hormones as well. Read more about the downside of soy.
About 75 percent of the world population cannot tolerate lactose. Some ethnic groups are more affected than others. For example 75 percent of Africans and 90 percent of Asians have lactose intolerance.
As an additional benefit, soy milk contains the prebiotic sugars stachyose and raffinose. These prebiotic sugars boost immunity and help decrease toxic substances in the body.
Soy contains high levels of phytic acid, a compound that reduces the absorption of minerals like calcium, magnesium and zinc. As a result, soy milk also contains problematic amounts of this anti-nutrient.
The saturated fats in cow’s milk are unhealthy and increase your cholesterol. The protein in cow’s milk has no benefits for the cholesterol. Soy protein can decrease cholesterol levels. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration of US) confirms that soy protein, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may significantly reduce the risk of coronary heart. The FDA recommends to incorporate 25 grams of soy protein in your daily meals.
When it comes to processed foods, the sum of the parts does not equal the whole. Just because a soy milk claims to have as much calcium as regular milk does not mean the body absorbs and utilizes the calcium from both items the same way.
Case in point: calcium supplementation raises the risk of heart disease. Why?
The body requires vitamin co-factors to use calcium properly. Vitamin K2 is the most important because it shuttles calcium into the bone. Without adequate K2, the body cannot use calcium and the calcium can create plaque in the arteries, raising the risk of heart disease
Rich in Isoflavones
The presence of isoflavones is the most important and unique benefit of soy milk. Each cup of soy milk contains about 20 mg isoflavones (mainly genistein and daidzein). Cow’s milk does not contain isoflavones. Isoflavones have many health benefits including reduction of cholesterol, easing of menopause symptoms, prevention of osteoporosis and reduction of risk for certain cancers (prostate cancer and breast cancer). Incidents of these cancers are very low in countries with high intake of soy products, including soy milk. Isoflavones are also antioxidants which protect our cells and DNA against oxidation.
Most soy milks on the market contain a substance called carageenan, which can cause digestive disruptions, inflammation and can be carcinogenic. There are two types of processed carrageenan. One type is used to induce colitis in lab rats. The other type is supposedly safe for human consumption. However, food-safe carrageenan has been found to cause inflammation and stomach problems.
Soy milk contains no hormones
Cow’s milk contains natural hormones (from the cow) but also synthetic hormones, which can influence the good working of our own body. The synthetic hormone rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone) increase milk production by as much as 20 percent.
It’s your choice – If you do choose to consume soy, either you take a moderate quantity or substitute with homemade almond milk or hemp milk which are both delicious!