Editorial: Soy milk may not be the answer.

EditorialEditorial

Soy milk is not an ideal replacement for milk!

If you’re allergic to dairy or lactose intolerant, you may be reaching to soy milk as a comparable alternative.  May vegans feel it is a great alternative, but is it?  Generally, soy has a longer shelf life than dairy milk, and some may prefer the taste, but is it nutritionally complete?  

Soy milk also has a number of nutritional advantages, although some varieties of soy milk come loaded with sugar, which can pose a health risk.  Soy milk or soymilk is a plant-based drink produced by soaking and grinding soybeans, boiling the mixture.  The mixture is then filtered to remove the remaining particulates.  Its original form is a natural by-product of the manufacture of tofu, but it may not match the same nutritional quality of dairy milk.  

Soy milk:  Soy milk is a nutritious replacement for dairy for those that cannot tolerate dairy.  Soy milk is nutritionally similar to cow’s milk because it is a rich source of protein and carbohydrates, but it must be fortified with calcium, vitamins A and D, and riboflavin to be more complete like milk.  Soy milk has plenty of available options.  Soy is a popular alternative to dairy milk.  Soy milk is a bean extract created by mechanically crushing soybeans.   You can find it in the grocery store sold in sweetened, unsweetened and flavored varieties.  My store has chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla.  During the holidays, there is even soy eggnog.

    • Nutrition: One Cup: 100 calories, 4g fat, 0.5g saturated fat, 6g protein, 2-8g sugar, 30 percent DV calcium, and 30 percent DV vitamin D. Soy milk also offers vitamin A, iron, riboflavin, folate, vitamin B12, potassium, and magnesium. Soy provides beneficial phytoestrogens that provide heart health benefits too.
    • Advantages: Soy milk contains less saturated fat than milk. It can also contain isoflavones, which have been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.
    • Disadvantages: Soy milk tastes good but is not similar to milk.  Soy allergies can also happen, and soy milk must be avoided if you are.  Soy might also negatively impact fertility in men because it contains estrogen-like compounds. Soy lacks the calcium content of cow’s milk and must be fortified.  

The bottom line: Soy milk is probably a healthy drink, but it is not a replacement for milk.  I personally would recommend milk, and if you cannot tolerate it or if you are opposed to animal products, I would recommend that you just supplement and avoid soy milk. 

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About the Author

ChuckH
I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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