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July 9th, 2009 1 Comment

SOY VEY! — By Nutritionista

I’ve already addressed the soy versus dairy milk debate from a weight-loss perspective, but what about for general health? I’ve gotten some questions about it recently and I wanted to clarify my thoughts on soy here.

Recently, I’ve been transitioning to almond milk instead of soy. Why? The answer is quite simple: Most soy and soy derivatives are highly processed and already in EVERYTHING! Seriously. Check the label on any packaged food. Go ahead, pick one up. I’d be surprised if it didn’t contain one of the following:

  • Soy lecithin: An emulsifier and supplement derived from soy.
  • Glycine: An amino acid derived from soy.
  • Tocopherols: Vitamin E supplement, whose natural form comes from soy or wheat germ.
  • Phospholipids: Derived from lecithin.
  • MSG/glutamic acid/etc.: Derived from various vegetable proteins such as corn or soy.

I already avoid processed food as much as possible, but I’m sure soy is sneaking into my diet in ways I don’t even realize. To avoid gettingexcess soy in my diet, I strive to only eat soy in its LEAST PROCESSED forms. To me, that means edamame (unprocessed) and tofu (minimally processed) and avoiding everything else. That’s not to say I never drink soy milk or eat soy yogurt. Because I shoot for a relatively low-dairy diet, I’ve definitely eaten many soy products in the past, ocassionally still do, and probably will in the future. I just try to choose equally tasty alternatives when possible (that’s where the almond milk comes in).

The fact is, science is still out on soy and whether it’s beneficial or harmful. However, eating anything in excess isn’t a great idea. So whether or not you choose to eat soy, do your homework and decide what’s best for you! I wrote a somewhat objective post about the pros and cons of soy here that concludes it’s beneficial to include both soy and dairy into a healthy diet. Gena at Choosing Raw doesn’t eat soy at all and you can read her rationale here.

As you’re learning, nutrition isn’t always black and white, so the bottom line is figuring out what’s best for you, your lifestyle, and your health. I’m always here to offer my opinion, but it’s certainly not the only one out there. Carry on, soy lovers!

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  • Gena

    Hey there! Thanks for the link. I will have tempeh or edamame on rare occasions — especially if there are no other vegan options present. But for the most part, I avoid it for digestive reasons. Glad my info helped. :)