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The Darker Side of Soy Milk

Orange Icon  The Darker Side of Soy Milk

Orange Icon  The Darker Side of Soy Milk

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If you've been to the grocery store lately, then it's impossible to miss the endless aisles of SOY products.

It's as if "soy" is the new buzzword in the health-food industry.

Is that really the case?

Soy's "Health" Facts

Soy's claim to fame is that it's a supposedly safe alternative to animal byproducts such as milk. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has concluded that "soy protein included in a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of CHD [chronic heart disease] by lowering blood cholesterol levels." Because of this, actions have been taken to add soy to everything from school lunches to baby formulas.

So soy milk should be a great addition to your diet, right?

Unfortunately, the long-term results are not conclusive. Although the idea of substituting milk with soy milk is a great concept, the effect on your body can be less than kind.

An article by Scientific American states that "recent research with animals shows that consuming large amounts [of soy] could have harmful effects on female fertility and reproductive development." The impacts can be dangerous for a developing fetus or infant as well, and soy consumption can result in permanent reproductive issues. Not only that, but since the brain can be impacted, behavior and brain chemistry can be affected too.

It doesn't stop there -- Lauren of Empowered Sustenance also has her list of reasons of why to avoid soy milk.

And the effects on men's health are downright scary. Studies show that in animals - specifically male rats - the outcome can be downright unnatural. Because of its plant estrogen, soy can cause abnormal growth of breast cells in males, known unflatteringly in the general parlance as "man boobs." And, according to Men's Health, a Harvard study published last year in the journal Human Reproduction also found a strong association between men's consumption of soy foods and decreased sperm counts. These effects can be emasculating, both physically and psychologically.

As a mother, this research is alarming. I don't think many people would want to risk compromising the health of their families simply to avoid cow milk. Luckily, there are plenty of healthy alternatives to soy milk.

Healthy Alternatives to Soy Milk:

Milk Alternatives

  1. Hemp Milk: Thick, creamy, and perfect for coffee and baking. Because hemp can leave a slight aftertaste, try different brands to find the one that you like best.
  2. Oat Milk: Also somewhat sweet and good for cereal and baking.
  3. Almond Milk: Loaded with protein and fiber and low in fat. This is the most common nut milk, though others such as cashew and hazelnut are available at some health-food stores.
  4. Coconut Milk: Canned for baking or boxed for cereal and ice cream. Or make your own!
  5. Raw or Organic Milk: Milk at the grocery store is full of hormones and stripped of its nutritional value. Try a local co-op, or research other raw milk sources in your area. At the very least, always buy organic milk.

The bottom line? Experiment! Milk doesn't have to be a dirty word. By branching out, I'm sure you'll fall in love with one or all of these options, just like I have.