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04292022 The Truth About Soy

What do you know about soy? Soy is perhaps one of the most controversial foods as it provides health benefits and some risks. You might be wondering, what’s good about soy and what’s bad about it? In this article, we will get to know more of these.

Soy is a member of the legume family and have been a staple of Asian cuisines for thousands of years. Wide varieties of products have been prepared from soy such as roasted soybean, boiled soybean, soymilk, soy mayonnaise, miso, soy cheese, soy yogurt, tempeh, soy sauce, and tofu. Among vegetarians, soy foods like tofu are their popular meat alternative. Unlike other plant-based protein, soy is unique as it contains all nine essential amino acids needed for healthy muscles and bone, though the quality is not quite as high as of animal protein.

Approximately, 100 grams of boiled soybeans contains 12.4 g protein, amount almost comparable to 100-gram boiled lean meat with 15.6 g protein. Soybeans are great sources of vitamins, minerals, fibers, and are also low in saturated fats.

Similar to most whole foods, soy contributes numerous beneficial health effects due to its isoflavone content. Isoflavone is an antioxidant known to help in reducing cancer risk, protect heart health, lower blood pressure and blood sugar level, maintain bone health, and reduce menopause symptoms.

Moreover, there are concerns raised regarding high intake of soy products. While some are true, there are claims that still needs further investigation.

It is correct that it can cause flatulence and diarrhea due to its insoluble fibers but to those sensitive individuals. While the antinutrients in soy that decrease body's ability to absorb essential nutrients can be reduced by soaking, sprouting, fermenting, and cooking.

Some studies suggest that too much consumption of soybeans suppress thyroid function in some people and contribute to low production of thyroid hormones resulting to hypothyroidism, and soy isoflavones that mimic the female reproductive hormone estrogen, pose worry on hormonal imbalances among men though reports show conflicting results in the review conducted by D'Adamo and Sahin (2014).

The same literature review found out that consuming moderate amounts of traditionally prepared and minimally processed soy foods offer acceptable health benefits while minimizing health risks.

Though negative concerns were cited and possibly affect body processes, it would be difficult for a person to consume as much as 9 times larger than average intake with soy-based diet. As a general rule, a variety, balance and moderation in food intake is essential to get the best of health benefits.

Written by: NO II Bianca Estrella

References:

Better Health Channel. (nd.) Soybeans and soy foods. Retrieved from: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/soybeans

D'Adamo, C.R. and Sahin, A. (2014). Soy foods and supplementation: a review of commonly perceived health benefits and risks. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24473985/

Dukariya, G., Shah, S. Singh, G. and Kumar, A. (2020).  (Soybean and Its Products: Nutritional and Health Benefits. J Nut Sci Heal Diet 1(2): 22-29.

Food Nutrition and Research Institute – Department of Science and Technology. Philippine Food Composition Table. Retrieved from: https://i.fnri.dost.gov.ph/fct/library/starting_pg

Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health (n.d.) The Nutrition Source: Straight Talk About Soy. Retrieved from: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/soy/

Mikstas, C. (2021). Health Benefits of Soy. Retrieved from: https://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-soy-health-benefits