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Can soy milk potentially lead to health problems?

Posted by Theresa T.



Has anyone heard of an article stating that Soy Milk has something  that acts like estrogen and that could potentially cause health problems ?

Thank you for any information you can provide regarding this.

Answers (1)
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Soy dangers and benefits, the myths and the facts

There is an urban myth that soy dangers are greater than the facts reveal.  First, let’s look at Asian cultures, where soy has been an integral part of the diet for centuries.  The drastic consequences of soy have not appeared there, and meanwhile, those societies report lower risks of breast and prostate cancer than we do in the West.

Dr. Andrew Weil has this to say about soy on his web site,, “Critics of soy allege that it is bad for the thyroid, can cause cancer, Alzheimer's disease and mineral deficiencies.  None of these sensational claims has ever been proven.  Based on the weight of available evidence, I remain convinced that soy is safe and nutritious when eaten in relatively whole and unrefined forms in reasonable amounts.”

Notice the key requirements that Dr. Weil suggests regarding healthy soy intake - it should be ‘whole’ and ‘unrefined’.  In other words, the problems associated with soy have more to do with the genetically modified and isolated soy versions.  When soy is in a natural, whole food form it is easily assimilated by the body, and in fact is one of the most beneficial forms of protein on the planet.

Many of the problems associated with soy arise from ‘isolated soy protein’ used in fake meats and other products sold at health food stores as vegetarian food.  When soy is modified in this way, or when it is genetically modified, then the body does not understand how to process it.  That’s why some people may experience digestive problems after consuming soy-based products.  It is important to be sure that the soy being consumed is in a whole food form, not isolated, and it is equally important to look for the Non-GMO label when buying soy products.

While soy milk is often touted as a healthier alternative to cow’s milk for several reasons, there are a few things to remember when buying soy milk. Dr. Weil writes, “I recommend certain precautions when buying soy milk. Since many soy crops are heavily treated with pesticides, always buy organic soy products. I also recommend avoiding brands of soy milk that contain the thickening agent carrageenan, a seaweed derivative, which I believe may be harmful, especially to the intestinal tract.

So, while there are a few precautions pertaining to refined versions of soy, the benefits of whole soy in its natural form outweigh unsubstantiated claims of danger.

Here are other resources fo information on this topic:

Is Soy Milk Safe?

Is It Safe to Eat Soy? By Virginia Messina, MPH, RD & Mark Messina, PhD

Is Soy Safe?
Q&A with Brenda Davis, R.D.

NOTICE: The information provided on this site is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on Wellsphere. If you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.
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