Soy Milk: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

One of the first plant-based milk alternatives on the market, soy milk helped millions avoid dairy when veganism was in its infancy and lactose intolerance was less known. Now that there are more milk alternatives to choose from, you might be wondering how soy milk nutritionally compares.

In fact, many concerns have been raised about the safety of soy milk consumption. Over the years, it has been accused of disrupting hormonal health, harming people with thyroid disease, and even causing several types of cancer. Understandably, you might think twice before putting a box of soy milk in your shopping basket.

But should soy milk have such a bad reputation? Here, we’ll take a closer look at its nutritional value and potential health benefits. If you want to learn more about a plant-based diet and how it can benefit your health, check out our Plant-Based Diets for Beginners Learn more tips.

Soy Milk: Nutritional Information

nutrient Serving Size (1 cup) Daily Value Percentage
fat 3.6 g
carbohydrate 12 g
protein 6.3 g
Dietary fiber 0.5g 2%
sugar 8.9 g
calcium 300 mg twenty three%
iron 1 mg 6%
Vitamin D 2.7 micrograms 14%
Potassium 300 mg 6%
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) 0.45 mg 35%
Cobalamin (vitamin B12) 2.07 mcg 86%

How long is the shelf life of soy milk?

Just like milk, soy milk can also be divided into two categories: UHT (ultra-high temperature)/shelf-stable and fresh/refrigerated. UHT beverages undergo extensive heat treatment to extend their shelf life, while refrigerated ones do not. Therefore, they have different usage dates and storage guidelines.

Shelf life Soy milk usually has a shelf life of 6 to 12 months. Refrigerated foods tend to have a much shorter shelf life—usually a few weeks from production—and stay fresh for about a week after opening.

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What are the benefits of soy milk?

Soybeans are one of the best sources of complete plant protein. One cup of cooked soybeans provides nearly 30 grams of this macronutrient, so if you don’t use the best vegan protein powder soy milk is a great way to meet your daily protein needs.

According to published in nutrients (opens in new tab), Soybeans also contain high amounts of calcium, manganese, and selenium, as well as highly bioactive polyphenols called isoflavones. published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (opens in new tab) It has been shown that a high intake of soy products may reduce the risk of dying from several different types of cancer, including breast, stomach, colorectal, prostate, and lung cancers, as well as cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.

Many of these positive effects are attributed to isoflavones. According to published in molecular (opens in new tab) Magazine, these polyphenols may play a variety of important roles in the human body. It was suggested that they could prevent hypertension, regulate blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol levels, prevent atherosclerosis, and reduce inflammation levels. Soy isoflavones have also been shown to improve arterial flexibility, help improve gastrointestinal health and prevent bone loss associated with osteoporosis.

woman pouring soy milk on cereal

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Much less research has been done on soy milk, but it can be assumed that this plant-based milk alternative will show similar benefits, albeit less pronounced due to its high water content.

However, the results of existing studies are mixed. A comment was posted on Functional Foods Magazine (opens in new tab) It was found that regular consumption of soy milk may significantly help lower blood pressure, improve blood lipids, and improve waist circumference. Meanwhile, no significant differences were detected in body weight, “good” HDL cholesterol, fasting blood glucose, or markers of systemic inflammation.

Another comment was posted on Complementary Medicine (opens in new tab) The journal assessed the effect of soy milk on blood lipids and found no significant association between the two factors.

However, due to its affordable price and easy availability, soy milk remains popular among vegans, vegetarians, and health-conscious consumers. You can easily find cheap soy milk boxes at most grocery stores and supermarkets across the country, and there’s often a range of different brands and flavors to choose from. What’s more, most manufacturers add a lot of vitamins and minerals to their drinks that can be in short supply in plant-based foods, making them a convenient meal for vegetarians and vegans Supplements.

Is soy milk bad for you?

Soy and soy milk may have many health benefits, but there are also some risks and considerations.

If you compare soy milk with cow’s milk, the latter absorbs protein better in the gut. What’s more, soy milk contains several compounds commonly known as antinutrients. Antinutrients can interfere with the natural digestive process and reduce the absorption of certain nutrients in the gut. According to published in the Journal of Agricultural Sciences (opens in new tab), several such compounds are present in soybeans. These components can lead to reduced intake of micronutrients, especially vitamin A, vitamin B12, and vitamin D, and can even affect red blood cell formation. Thankfully, modern manufacturing processes are getting better at removing most of these antinutrients.

man drinking soy milk cappuccino

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Another concern relates to the potential negative effects of soy isoflavones on thyroid function and iodine metabolism. It has also been suggested that they may interfere with the absorption of synthetic thyroid hormones. However, researchers have thyroid (opens in new tab) The journal pooled the results of 14 different trials and concluded that there is no evidence that soy consumption poses any risk to hypothyroid adults or people with iodine deficiency. Nonetheless, to minimize any potential problems, consumers of soy foods are advised to ensure that their iodine intake is adequate.

Because isoflavones can mimic the effects of female reproductive hormones, many have been concerned about the potential negative effects of soy on men’s health. But there is evidence that this is not the case. According to published in reproductive toxicology (opens in new tab), isoflavones do not affect levels of testosterone, estradiol, estrone, or sex hormone-binding globulin in adult men.

Certain soy milk can also contain a lot of added sugar, especially if they are flavored. Since consuming too much sugar can be bad for your health, be sure to check your products for artificial sugars.

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