Is soy milk good: Health Benefits, Nutrients per Serving, Preparation Information, and More
Health Benefits, Nutrients per Serving, Preparation Information, and More
Written by WebMD Editorial Contributors
In this Article
- Health Benefits
- How to Add Soy Milk to Your Diet
from the WebMD Ingredients Guide
Serving Size 1 Cup (243 g)
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 114 mg
Potassium 0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 12 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Sugar 9 g
Protein 6 g
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
- Vitamin C 0%
- Iron 6%
- Vitamin B6 0%
- Magnesium 0%
- Calcium 23%
- Vitamin D 0%
- Cobalamin 0%
- Vitamin A 9%
Soy milk is a well-known dairy milk replacement, but it’s not just a substitute ingredient. Soy milk can be a worthwhile addition to your diet on its own. This healthy, flavorful beverage first came about as a waste product on the way to making tofu. Today, soy milk can be found around the country as a lactose-free dairy substitute with health benefits that are all its own.
The vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in soy milk can provide important health benefits. For example, the forms of vitamin B found in soy milk are important for helping your body maintain your nerve cells and DNA. They can also help you avoid certain forms of anemia, which can prevent tiredness and fatigue.
Soy milk is also high in protein. The protein in soy milk is healthy, plant-based, and can help support healthy muscles and organs.
In addition, soy milks can provide other health benefits like:
Soy milk is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are “healthy” fats that your body cannot form on its own. Omega-3 fatty acids are linked to a reduced risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Soy milk is still being studied for its effect on these diseases, but soy in general is one of the best non-animal sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
Improved Heart Health
Soy milk can also help support your cardiovascular system. Soy milk is an excellent source of potassium, whether or not it has been fortified. Potassium is deeply connected to maintaining lower blood pressure and a regular pulse. Furthermore, soy milk has been linked to lower cholesterol levels, especially in people who have high cholesterol.
Reduced Symptoms of Menopause
Soy milk contains isoflavones, which are a class of chemical known as “phytoestrogens.” These isoflavones react in the body like a weak form of estrogen. Because of that, studies have shown that consuming soy milk and other soy products might help reduce the symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes.
Most soy milk found in supermarkets and health food stores is fortified with added nutrients. This makes fortified soy milk a great source of calcium, which is the most common mineral in your body. Consuming enough calcium can help strengthen your bones and reduce your risk of osteoporosis.
Soy milk is also an excellent source of:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B
Nutrients per Serving
A one-cup serving of soy milk contains:
- Calories: 100
- Protein: 7 grams
- Fat: 4 grams
- Carbohydrates: 8 grams
- Fiber: 1 gram
- Sugar: 6 grams
Things to Watch Out For
While isoflavones can help reduce symptoms of menopause, they may also have negative effects. More research is needed, but some studies point towards isoflavones being linked to reduced thyroid function. These isoflavones may affect how your body produces thyroid hormones. However, these studies are still inconclusive and need further support. As long as you consume enough iodine in your daily diet, there are no signs that drinking soy milk will significantly affect your thyroid function.
Anyone with an allergy to soy products should avoid drinking soy milk. Soy milk used in recipes can also trigger allergic reactions, so it’s best to avoid soy milk entirely if a member of your household has soy allergies.
Soy milk can be found in grocery stores, health food stores, and restaurants around the country. You can also make soy milk at home.
Soak ten ounces of soybeans in water overnight. Then boil these beans in twelve cups of water for ten minutes. Blend the water and soybeans together until smooth, then simmer for another forty minutes. If you like, you can add a pinch of salt or sugar to taste. When you finish simmering the soybeans, strain the mixture through cheesecloth to remove solids. You can store the soymilk for up to a week — about as long as dairy milk lasts.
Here are some ways you can include soy milk in your diet:
- Add soy milk to a smoothie
- Use soy milk in your coffee
- Eat cereal with soy milk
- Use soy milk in baked goods
- Make a bechamel sauce with soy milk
- Use soy milk in curry
Nutrition, Benefits, Risks, and More
What Is Soy Milk?
Soy milk is a plant-based nondairy beverage that’s a popular alternative to cow’s milk. It’s made from soybeans, and many brands, such as Silk, fortify their soy milk with vitamins and minerals such as vitamin D and calcium. “Soy milk offers culinary diversity, creamy texture, and a healthful nutritional profile, including essential omega-3 fatty acids [if fortified] and flavonoids that exert antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and cardioprotective properties,” says Julieanna Hever, RDN, who specializes in plant-based diets in Los Angeles and is the author of The Vegiterranean Diet.
Besides soy milk’s sterling nutritional profile, there are many reasons why you might want to try his beverage in your coffee, smoothie, or cereal. Maybe you dislike the taste of cow’s milk or are trying to avoid dairy, and you prefer soy milk to other nondairy alternatives.
Or maybe you’re living with a milk allergy or are lactose intolerant, which means you have trouble digesting a sugar called lactose (the carbohydrate found in cow’s milk), says Barbara Schmidt, RDN, the nutrition lifestyle program specialist at Norwalk Hospital in Norwalk, Connecticut. Per the Mayo Clinic, this intolerance can cause a variety of uncomfortable gastrointestinal side effects, including diarrhea, gas, and bloating; in this case, drinking a plant milk is a wise choice.
Common Questions & Answers
Is soy milk good for you?
Yes! Soy milk is considered a whole soy food, and it has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and potentially heart-protective properties, says Hever. Research also suggests that soy foods may play a role in preventing cancer, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease and osteoporosis.
Is soy milk bad for men?
Soy foods, including soy milk, are not bad for men. Rather, some studies suggest consuming soy isoflavones (plant chemicals that are part of a class called phytoestrogens) is associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer.
How is soy milk made?
To make soy milk, soybeans are soaked in water, blended with water, and then strained. Certain brands add vitamins and minerals, like calcium, to fortify the beverage. It is a vegan food.
If you DIY soy milk at home, your soy milk won’t contain calcium. But most packaged products are fortified with calcium.
Does soy milk have lactose, calcium, and gluten?
While cow’s milk traditionally has lactose, soy milk does not, meaning you can enjoy soy milk if you are lactose intolerant. Soy milk is also gluten-free, so it’s safe for people with celiac disease. Most brands add calcium to their soy milk products, but check product labels to be sure.
Does soy milk have estrogen?
No. Soy is rich in plant chemicals called isoflavones, including phytoestrogens that weakly mimic human estrogen. But this does not mean that soy contains estrogen.
Soy Milk vs. Other Milk Options
You may be wondering how soy milk compares with other milks, such as dairy milk and plant-based milks. Here’s a glance.
Soy Milk vs. Dairy Milk
Of all the plant milks, soy milk is broadly speaking the most nutritionally similar to a low-fat cow’s milk. (It’s included in the “dairy” category in the USDA’s 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans for this reason!)
“I call the soybean the incredible, edible bean. With all nine essential amino acids, soy milk is a good source of protein and is balanced in fats and carbs,” says Schmidt.
Soy Milk vs. Other Plant-Based Milks
Soy milk also bests almond milk in terms of protein, as traditional almond milk may have fewer calories (just 47 per cup), but offers just 1.6 g protein, per the USDA. There are some “added protein” versions of almond milk that use pea protein to bump up the protein content, but you will need to check product labels to verify. Pea milk itself is a good source of protein, offering 8 g protein per 240 milliliter (ml) serving, says the USDA.
Rice, oat, and coconut milks are other popular choices. Like almond milk, rice and oat milk contain less protein per serving than soy milk, according to information provided by Rice Dream and Planet Oat products. According to Califia Farms, coconut milk offers 4 g fat (of which 3.5 g is saturated) per 1 cup serving, and no protein.
Potential Health Benefits of Soy Milk
Expert opinions differ on how cow’s milk compares with nondairy, alternative milks. Here are some of the possible perks of adding this soy milk to your grocery list.
It’s a Nutritious Choice
Schmidt prefers cow’s milk and other dairy products, like yogurt, because it offers a stellar source of calcium. Hever, on the other hand, recommends plant-based foods, and she advises her clients to choose soy milk as their milk (nondairy or otherwise) of choice because it’s rich in protein and low in saturated fat.
Like Other Plant-Based Foods, Soy Milk May Fight Disease
Plant-based foods like soy are associated with a lower risk of diabetes and heart disease, plus lower blood pressure, “bad” cholesterol, and body weight, per Harvard Health Publishing.
“I love soy because it’s rich in isoflavones [plant chemicals that belong to a group called phytoestrogens], particularly genistein,” says Schmidt. A review published in January 2022 in Frontiers in Pharmacology suggests that genistein has anti-inflammatory properties that may potentially reduce the risk of various chronic diseases.
“More research needs to be done, but some studies show that it reduces the risk of cancer and potentially osteoporosis, and the compound can also help reduce menopausal symptoms,” she says. For example, one clinical review found that genistein may not only reduce the risk of cancer, but may also act as a complement to certain anti-cancer drugs. According to other research, soy isoflavones may reduce the bone loss that contributes to osteoporosis.
The plant compounds in soy may also be heart protective, though this remains a topic of controversy among some scientists. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency can’t support any specific claims about soy lowering the risk of heart disease, because studies conflict on whether this is a direct relationship. Per an article published June 2019 in the Journal of the American Heart Association, it’s worth noting that the majority of studies evaluated by the FDA to assess soy’s potential benefits for heart health have examined soy protein isolate (that is, just the soy protein), rather than soy-based foods (like soy milk or tofu).
Soy Milk May Ease Menopause Symptoms
Additionally, research suggests that phytoestrogens reduce the severity of menopause symptoms — particularly hot flashes.
Is It Safe to Drink Soy Milk, or Can It Cause Breast Cancer?
Over the years, soy has gotten a bad reputation among people who believe that soy increases your risk of cancer, especially breast cancer. This is a common misconception based on animal studies that found that when rodents consumed high doses of isoflavones, they were more likely to develop breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, these animal studies may not be reliable, as rodents and humans process soy differently. Researchers also fed rodents an amount of soy that people would not get from a moderate intake of the compound from food.
In fact, for those looking to eat a diet that decreases the risk of cancer, whole soy foods are a smart addition. “[Whole] soy foods have been shown to decrease breast cancer recurrence and mortality in breast cancer survivors, and to reduce the risk of breast cancer and prostate cancers, as well,” says Hever.
How Much Soy Milk per Day Is Safe to Drink?
You can feel confident in drinking soy milk, says Hever, who follows guidelines from the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) for moderate soy consumption: one to two servings daily of whole soy foods, including soy milk, edamame, soy nuts, and tofu. For instance, if you are planning on having a tofu stir-fry for dinner, you can still include 1 cup of soy milk in your morning smoothie. The AICR adds that studies indicate that consuming up to three servings of soy foods per day is not associated with a higher risk of breast cancer.
Is There Anyone Who Should Avoid Soy Milk?
If you are allergic to soy, avoid soy milk.
Another consideration is thyroid disease. According to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, some research suggests that soy products may interfere with thyroid hormone replacement medications used to treat hypothyroidism, though soy isn’t thought to directly impact your thyroid’s natural hormone production. Talk to a doctor or endocrinologist before you incorporate soy milk into your diet if you have a history of thyroid disease, especially if you’re currently taking thyroid medications.
“Otherwise, it is an excellent food for everyone else,” says Hever. If you’re pregnant, you can consume soy. Likewise, if you have had breast cancer, it’s okay to consume a moderate amount of soy.
How to Choose a Healthy Soy Milk
There are a few considerations when choosing a soy milk. One is to look for a product that is unsweetened, says Hever. Sweetened versions can contain around 5 g of sugar per serving or more — for example, Silk’s original soy milk contains 5 g of added sugars.
If you want a little flavor, opt for unsweetened vanilla.
Hever recommends choosing organic if it’s in your budget.
Finally, read the label to make sure your soy milk is fortified with extra vitamins and minerals, including calcium and vitamin D. (Soy milk doesn’t naturally contain calcium. ) “This ensures the nutrients resemble cow’s milk the most,” says Schmidt.
Editorial Sources and Fact-Checking
- Organic Unsweet Soymilk. Silk.
- Rice Dream Original Rice Drink. Rice Dream.
- Go Coconuts Coconutmilk. Califia Farms.
- Spagnuolo C, Russo GL, Orhan IE, et al. Genistein and Cancer: Current Status, Challenges, and Future Directions. Advances in Nutrition. July 2015.
- Zheng X, Lee S-K, Chun OK. Soy Isoflavones and Osteoporotic Bone Loss: A Review With an Emphasis on Modulation of Bone Remodeling. Journal of Medicinal Food. January 2016.
- Chen M-N, Lin C-C, Liu C-F. Efficacy of Phytoestrogens for Menopausal Symptoms: A Meta-Analysis and Systematic Review. Climacteric. March 2015.
- Statement From Susan Mayne, PhD, on Proposal to Revoke Health Claim That Soy Protein Reduces Risk of Heart Disease. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. February 23, 2018.
- Simon S. Soy and Cancer Risk: Our Expert’s Advice. American Cancer Society. April 29, 2019.
- Soy and Cancer Survivorship. American Institute for Cancer Research. April 8, 2021.
- Original Soymilk. Silk.
- Straight Talk About Soy. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
- Soy Milk, Unsweetened, Plain, Refrigerated. United States Department of Agriculture. April 28, 2022.
- Almond Milk, Unsweetened, Plain, Refrigerated. United States Department of Agriculture. April 28, 2022.
- Unsweetened Original Oat Milk. Planet Oat.
- Goh YX, Jalil J, Lam KW, et al. Genistein: A Review on its Anti-inflammatory Properties. Frontiers in Pharmacology. January 2022.
- Lactose intolerance: Symptoms and Causes. Mayo Clinic. March 5, 2022.
- Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. U.S. Department of Agriculture. December 2020.
- Petersen KS. The Dilemma With the Soy Protein Health Claim. Journal of the American Heart Association. June 27, 2019.
- The Right Plant-Based Diet for You. Harvard Health Publishing. March 30, 2021.
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Soy milk: composition, calories, benefits and harms, who can use soy milk, contraindications for use – May 18, 2022
A good alternative to regular milk!
Is soy milk a newfangled trend or a healthier alternative to animal milk?
What is soy milk and how is it different from cow’s milk
Soy milk is the most popular substitute for cow’s milk. This drink is made from soybeans by water extraction (similar to coffee brewing). There are more and more supporters of such an alternative to regular milk not only among vegetarians, but also among ordinary people.
Advantages of soy milk over cow milk:
- contains easily digestible protein and has a moderate calorie content;
- suitable for people with lactose and animal fat intolerance;
- normalizes metabolism;
- lowers cholesterol;
- favorably affects the cardiovascular system, reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Chemical composition, nutritional value, calorie content of the product
Soy milk composition:
Fat – 1.99g
Protein – 2.94g
Carbohydrates – 3.45g
Water – 90.98g
Ash – 0.64
Calories – 45 kcal.
Benefits of soy milk
Soy milk contains valuable soy protein, which contains all nine essential amino acids. Such milk is a source of omega 3, lecithin, as well as vitamins and trace elements. Many varieties are additionally fortified with calcium and vitamin B12, which are low in soy milk compared to cow’s milk.
Soy milk is highly satiating and easy to digest. It is low in unhealthy saturated fats and completely free of cholesterol. The combination of these qualities makes it a useful and complete alternative to cow’s milk.
The main advantage of soy milk is that it does not contain lactose, which causes allergies in many people. Thus, unlike cow’s milk, soy milk can be consumed by people in whose diet lactose and cholesterol are prohibited, as well as those who are allergic to the milk protein casein.
Weight loss benefits of soy milk
Regular consumption of soy milk is believed to help you lose weight. The fact is that soy milk contains a lot of calcium, in case of a shortage of which there is an increased production of the hormone calcitriol. It slows down the process of processing and excretion of fats, and also prevents the accumulated fat deposits from breaking down. Accordingly, the use of soy milk to some extent helps to fight extra centimeters.
Harm and contraindications for use
Despite the large number of benefits, not everyone can drink soy milk. Contraindications include:
- allergy to soy;
- disorders of the thyroid gland;
- gastrointestinal problems;
- children under 5 years of age.
Like any other product, soy milk must be consumed in moderation, otherwise it can cause poor blood clotting and impair the quality of the thyroid gland.
Important! Frequent use of soy milk can cause infertility in men.
Uses of soy milk
Soy milk is not only used in coffee drinks. It has become widespread in cooking and even in cosmetology.
Anything can be cooked with soy milk, it can easily replace cow’s milk, not only without spoiling the dish, but also giving it a special delicate taste.
Soy milk is used to prepare cereals, puddings, smoothies, pies, pancakes, cheeses, sauces and other dishes.
Soy milk in cosmetology is used mainly for the face. It contains isoflavones – phytoestrogens, which help eliminate dryness and flabbiness of the skin, increase its elasticity and slow down aging. In addition, soy milk regulates the sebaceous glands, reduces the production of subcutaneous fat, so it is often used to treat acne. It is used as part of face masks with the addition of other nutrients.
Homemade soy milk recipe
Soy milk is not that hard to make at home. For this you will need:
- soybeans – 1 cup
- water – 1 liter
With this amount of ingredients you will get 700-800 ml of soy milk.
- Wash the soybeans and soak them in cold water for 6-12 hours. During this time, change the water at least 2 times so that the finished milk does not have unpleasant aftertastes.
- After soaking, remove the husks from the beans – they are easily removed. Rinse the cleaned soy again.
- Grind the soybeans in a blender for 2 minutes, adding a small amount of water.
- Transfer the chopped beans to a saucepan and pour in the remaining water. Put on fire and bring to a boil. After boiling, reduce the heat and boil the soybeans for 20-25 minutes. During cooking, be sure to stir the mass so that it does not burn and does not run away.
- Strain the milk through several layers of cheesecloth.
- Sugar and vanilla can be added to the strained milk while it is warm (optional).
- Cool and bottle. Store closed in refrigerator.
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benefits and harms for the body
Is it really more useful than cow’s
Do not self-medicate! In our articles, we collect the latest scientific data and the opinions of authoritative health experts. But remember: only a doctor can diagnose and prescribe treatment.
The craze for everything vegetable and the rejection of animal products is a trend that has not lost its positions for the last 6-7 years. Cow’s milk is a really controversial product, scientists have not been able to agree on its benefits or potential harm to the adult body. In addition, many people refuse to use it for medical reasons or due to taste preferences. Soy is still the most popular plant-based alternative to cow’s milk. We tell you all about its beneficial properties and whether it can completely replace milk of animal origin.
To begin with, soy is the only plant-based food known to contain a complete protein (i.e., made up of essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own). That is why soy milk is the only one of all the other plant-based alternatives that can replace human animal protein. 100 ml of soy milk contains up to 7 g of protein, depending on the production technology – in cow’s milk, a little more than 3 g. At the same time, cow’s milk is recognized as the best source of calcium for the human body – it contains the microelement in the most digestible form. Manufacturers of vegetable milk successfully solve this problem by additionally enriching the drink with calcium.
Soy milk is a rich source of isoflavans – plant substances belonging to the group of phytoestrogens (what they are and how they help in the fight against aging, we told here). Some studies show that these substances can reduce the risk of osteoporosis and relieve menopausal symptoms. There is an opinion that regular consumption of soy milk provides prevention of cardiovascular diseases, as it reduces the amount of “bad” cholesterol in the blood. There has been some debate about this for several years, as some scientists disagree with this statement, but at the moment, science is inclined to believe that soy still provides a cardioprotective effect.
Compared to other plant-based alternatives such as almond, oat or rice, soy milk is by far the best substitute for cow’s milk.