Milk Alternatives, Part 3: Soy Milk


Soy Milk: Not Quite Milk!

Important Considerations
Important things to review when you make a decision on a milk replacement: added sugar, adequate calcium content, adequate B12, additives, dietary needs, and cost.  

Ten years ago, all you have to cover your cereal was dairy or cow’s milk. Oh my, how the world has changed. My local grocery store has dozens of options for those wanting or required to avoid dairy. One such option is soy milk. I write a prior article on Soy and the fact that it might increase satiety. The fact is that if you can increase satiety, you should improve weight loss. There is even some research that going dairy free or vegetable and soy heavy might help with weight loss. Then again, dairy and milk have also been shown to help with weight loss.

Soy Milk

Soy milk:  Because it comes from plants, soy milk is naturally free of cholesterol and is low in saturated fat. Because it is not a dairy product, Soy is also devoid lactose and milk proteins. Soybeans and soy milk are a good source of protein, calcium (if fortified), and potassium. Simply, 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 unfortunately, soy is not a good source of calcium, so it must be fortified. In fact, most soy milks are fortified with not just calcium, but also 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.

Glass of soy milk withs pilled soy beans.
  • 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.  
Soy vs. Fairlife Milk
Soy vs. Fairlife Milk

The Bottom Line: Soy is a decent replacement for milk. I am drinking a glass right now. It has a nut-like flavor and is very tolerable. It is not too sweet, but in my opinion, soy is no match for a rich and creamy flavor of milk. Also, the color is an off off-white that is no match for milk and just not as appealing at the titanium white of dairy. That being said, it might be a good choice for those that can’t have dairy and those trying to lose weight.

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About the Author

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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