Thursday, March 3, 2011

Food for Thought Thursday - The Scoop on Soy

Depending on what sources you read, soy is either the best food on the planet or the worst. I'm always continuing to read and research on the topic, and today, I stumbled across one of the best articles I've seen about it on Alicia Silverstone's blog, The Kind Life.

A few things to keep in mind about soy . . . First, there are several groups of food manufacturers that stand to benefit financially from discrediting soy. I always consider the source of the research, who it was funded by and if that group has any potential for financial gain.

Also, "soy" encompass a really wide range of foods. As with any type of food, soy in its least processed and/or fermented states - edamame, tempeh, miso, etc. - will have the greatest health benefits. Too often, however, soy loses health benefits and even becomes potentially harmful when it is used as a concentrated protein (such as soy protein isolate) or as an ingredient highly processed in junk foods (which have many other unhealthy ingredients as well). Research conducted on soy isolates or processed soy really aren't really relevant in determining the health value of more natural soy products. Consider how far removed your soy is from the actual bean when making decisions on whether or not to include it in your diet.

Finally, soy is one of the crops most likely to be genetically modified. Be sure to look for products containing organic, non-GMO soy.

I like that Alicia's article includes links to Dr. Neal Barnard's recent research on soy, along with five non-dairy milk alternatives for those avoiding soy milk.

As for us, we generally drink almond milk at home, but since soy milk is typically the only non-dairy milk alternative we find when we're out, I feel fine about having it at a coffee shop or restaurant. We also do eat the more processed soy products on occasion but don't rely on them as part of our daily diet.


  1. I try to avoid soy protein isolate as often as possible after learning about the effects of "unnatural" soy. However I find the fat in Almond Milk too much so I alternate each couple of weeks between Almond, Rice & Soy so I'm not getting too much of one thing. Also thanks for the tip about looking out for non-GMO. That's something I forget to look out for!

  2. Is the almond milk that much higher in fat? I guess I've never looked. Although I did make my own for the first time this week and wondered how much of the fat stayed in the pulp vs. ended up in my milk. I used a lot of almonds! :)