If you've been to the grocery store lately, then it's impossible to miss the endless aisles of SOY products. Soy isn't just in tofu and soy milk, in fact, it's almost impossible to avoid in most processed foods.
It's as if "soy" is the new buzzword in the health-food industry.
But is that really the case? Not so much.
Soy "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, now you're thinking, "soy milk should be a great addition to my diet, right?"
The scary truth about soy
Unfortunately, I believe that soy milk is much worse than conventional cow's milk. Although the idea of substituting milk with soy milk is a great concept, the effect on your body can be less than kind.
The effects on men's health are downright scary. 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.
Now, let's talk about the thyroid. The plant estrogen in soy damages more than the reproductive system in adults and children. People who consume high amounts of soy protein energy bars, often complain of fatigue, low energy, depression, hair loss, damaged skin, and weight gain - all symptoms of low thyroid function. When tested for hypothyroidism, those than rely on soy as a protein source, almost always test positive.
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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:
- 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.
- Oat Milk: Also somewhat sweet and good for cereal and baking.
- 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. I love to make my own to avoid unnecessary preservatives
- Coconut Milk:Delicious and full of healthy fats. The canned version is great for baking, homemade ice cream, and sauces. Or make your own coconut milkfor light delicious smoothies or a great addition to your morning coffee.
- 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? DITCH THE SOY! Milk comes in all shapes and sizes, and if you know which one is best for your health and weight loss goals, you will be on the fast track to success in no time.