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The Truth About Soy: Separating Fact from Fiction and its Health Benefits

Updated: Jul 18, 2023

In this episode of Be Well With Steph, the Podcast we explore the myths and health benefits of soy, a controversial topic in the health and wellness world.

Have you ever wondered what actual research says about:

  • Soy causing cancer?

  • Soy causing hormone imbalances in women?

  • If soy is bad for Men?

We break that down for you today, plus share some additional health benefits of soy.

Facts and fiction about Soy

Let's explore the myths and health benefits of SOY. Soy has been a controversial topic in the health and wellness world for some time now, with many conflicting reports on its potential health benefits and risks. So, let's dive in and separate fact from fiction.


Myth #1: Soy Causes Cancer

One of the biggest myths about soy is that it causes cancer. However, research has shown that soy may actually reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. For example, soy contains compounds called isoflavones, which have been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer in some studies. Additionally, a review of 35 studies found that soy intake was not associated with an increased risk of any type of cancer.


Myth #2: Soy Causes Hormone Imbalances in Women

Studies have shown that soy is actually unlikely to disrupt hormones in women in any significant way. In fact, soy contains compounds called isoflavones, which can actually help to balance hormones and reduce the risk of certain cancers, including breast cancer.


Myth #3: Soy is Bad for Men

Another myth about soy is that it can reduce testosterone levels in men and cause feminization. However, research has shown that soy intake does not have a significant impact on testosterone levels in men. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that soy intake had no effect on sperm count or quality.

 

Health Benefit #1: Soy is a Complete Protein

One of the health benefits of soy is that it is a complete protein, meaning that it contains all the essential amino acids that our bodies need. This makes it an excellent source of protein for vegetarians and vegans, as well as those who are trying to reduce their meat consumption.


Health Benefit #2: Soy May Reduce Cholesterol Levels

Soy contains compounds called phytosterols, which have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels in some studies. Additionally, a review of 35 studies found that soy protein intake was associated with a modest reduction in LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Soy consumption is therefore linked to lower rates of heart disease.


Health Benefit #3: Soy May Improve Bone Health

Soy is a good source of calcium and magnesium, both of which are important for bone health. Additionally, some studies have found that soy intake may help to reduce the risk of osteoporosis, especially in postmenopausal women.

It's important to remember that these health benefits are just part of a healthy diet and lifestyle, and shouldn't be relied upon as a sole means of preventing or treating health problems.

 

So, how much soy should you be consuming? The American Heart Association recommends consuming one to two servings of soy per day as part of a healthy diet. A serving size is around one cup of soy milk, half a cup of tofu, or one ounce of soy nuts.

It's also worth noting that not all soy products are created equal. Some processed soy products, such as soy burgers and soy hot dogs, may be high in sodium and other additives. It's always a good idea to read the labels carefully and choose minimally processed soy products, such as edamame, tofu, and tempeh.


To wrap it all up: Soy is a nutritious and versatile food that can provide a variety of health benefits, including reducing the risk of certain types of cancer, reducing cholesterol levels, and improving bone health. Despite some of the myths surrounding soy, it is a safe and healthy food for most people. As always, it's important to talk to your doctor when you’re considering making any significant changes to your diet.


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Stephanie Genco, Wellness & Nutrition coach for women who want a healthier lifestyle

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