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The benefits and side effects of soy milk and cows milk

Posted Mar 31 2010 10:47pm
In my last post, I asked the question “is coffee good for you?” and mentioned that drinkers should also consider the effects of the milk they are drinking with their daily latte’s.

Here is a rundown on the differences between soy and cow’s milk. I hope this helps you better understanding the benefits and potential side effects of each.

Soy milk is made by soaking and grinding dry soybeans or soy protein with water. Usually a combination of oil, sugar, salt is added. Soy milk made from whole soybeans is recommended as it is a more natural food. Many products contain genetically modified soy, so check this if you’re trying to avoid GM foods.

The benefits of soy are that is has little saturated fat or cholesterol, contains vitamin E and B vitamins and research has found it can help to decrease bad cholesterol. Finally, isoflavones (read below as they are also in the side effects section) in soy may help prevent some cancers and osteoporosis. There are also environmental benefits as growing soy doesn’t require as much land and water as raising dairy cows.

The side effects of soy mainly relate to the lack of calcium, additives, and the isoflavones or phytoestrogens (big words for chemicals found in plants). These phytoestrogens can affect the body in the same way that the female hormone estrogen does, which can cause problems for those who consume a lot of soy - More information . Many products labelled "soy drink" are derivatives of soy milk that contain more water or other ingredients than actual soy, and most soy milks contain various additives. In 2010, a popular soy milk Bonsoy was recalled in Australia when 10 people fell ill with thyroid problems after the product was found to contain 7500 micrograms of iodine per serve, which is more than seven times the suggested daily dose for adults. Read more

Dairy cow’s milk is produced by the mammary glands of cows to provide nutrition for baby cows before they can digest other kinds of food. Humans have been consuming cow’s milk for many centuries, and we are the only animal that consumes milk past infancy! Studies have shown that many adults show a degree of lactose intolerance (especially those of African and Asian descent) - More information The benefits of cow’s milk are that it contains calcium, phosphorous, zinc, vitamins A and B, and iodine and riboflavin. Side effects are it’s high saturated fat (increase risk of cancers and raise cholesterol levels), it can trigger eczema, can increase phlegm production (bad news for those with respiratory conditions like asthma). Some people can’t break down the lactose (the sugar in milk) which makes them lactose intolerant, and calcium slows the absorption of iron.
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