You have probably heard ‘soy is great for your health’, and then the next day ‘soy is bad for you’. So what’s the deal? Typically, the media makes everything about nutrition confusing. Here is the bottom line.
Based on research, the FDA approved the nutrition claim “consuming 25 g of soy protein per day may reduce the risk of heart disease”. Over the years research has shown soy to have a powerful effect on reducing cholesterol, lowers risk of prostate and breast cancer, and may relieve hot flashes associated with menopause.
With all this hype, the nutrition world has produced lots of soy-derived products including supplements and enriched foods thus increasing our consumption as a population overall.
Studies show that one type of soy, isoflavones, may increase risk of breast cancer. These are mainly found in soybeans, which have been shown to produce an estrogenic effect within the body, which may increase breast cell reproduction.
So what to do??
Follow 2 general nutrition rules:
- Always try to have the “whole food” (less processing is better)
- Have everything in moderation (More is not always a good thing!)
Consume 25 g of soy protein per day. This is equivalent to:
- 3 ½ cups of soy milk (1 cup has 7g)
- 1 ½ cups of edamame (1/2 cup has 8g)
- 5/8 cup tofu (1/4 cup provides 10 g soy protein)
- 2 cups of kashi go lean cereal (1 cup has 12.5 g)
- 2 ½ Cliff Bars (one bar has 10 g)
Estelle L. Benoit, RDN, LDN