What to think of soy?

[Article updated on 19/09/2023]

Consumed for millennia in Asia, we find soy more and more in our dishes. It is found in multiple forms such as tofu, plant-based steaks, desserts or juices.

Before reading on

I’m not an expert in this field, but I am passionate about nutrition and health.

The articles you’ll find on my site are the result of in-depth research that I’d like to share with you. However, I would like to stress that I am not a health professional and that my advice should in no way replace that of a qualified physician. I’m here to guide you, but it’s important that you consult a professional for specific questions or medical concerns. Your well-being is important. So be sure to consult the appropriate experts and take the best possible care of yourself.

Some say that soy is not good for your health, while others think it is good.

So, what do you really think about soy?

What is soy?

Soy, or you may have already heard that it is also called “soy”, is part of the legume family like lentils or white beans for example. It is a food very rich in protein and fiber, which allows it to fill you well when you eat it.

On the other hand, do not confuse soybeans with mung beans. Mung bean sprouts are often mistakenly called bean sprouts, but this is a mistake because mung bean sprouts are not soybeans.

So the nutritional contributions are not the same.

Are soybeans good for your health?

Soybeans have many health benefits.

  1. Due to their composition, soy-based foods are rich in fiber and fats, which are very good for cardiovascular health and promote lowering cholesterol.
  2. And above all, the soybean is one of the foods richest in proteins in the plant world, it contains molecules that we do not know how to make ourselves and which are essential for the proper functioning of our body (i.e. (say the 9 essential amino acids that we need every day).

Thus, 100 g of tofu, which is a type of cheese made from the curdling of soy milk, provides 10 g of good quality protein, or as much as around 100 g of meat or fish, while containing a little fat. good quality and almost no sugar.

Why do we hear a lot of bad things about soy?

It’s true that we’ve heard of this because soy contains molecules that “mimic” in our body the effects of the female hormones that women produce (estrogens).

…Except that the first studies were done on mice and mice do not react like humans to soy!

As a result, studies carried out on humans have never shown any particular risk.

It even turns out, according to several studies, that soy provides protection against breast cancer: it reduces the risk of recurrence by more than 20% and also acts against the side effects of treatment.

Studies even show that soy consumption during childhood and adolescence protects against breast cancer in adulthood. The same is true for the protective effects against prostate cancer.

Regardless, I always recommend that patients talk to their oncologist.

soy dish

Are there any risks of consuming soy?

Honestly, no!

…except for the possibility of allergic reactions to soy, to certain proteins but this is rather rare, or the excessive consumption of soy which would also be likely to unbalance hormonal treatments in the event of hypothyroidism, especially in cases of iodine deficiency, but again, this is rather rare.

Is there a consumption recommendation?

ANSES (National Agency for Food Safety) nevertheless recommends, as a precautionary principle, 1 soy-based product per day for children over 3 years old and does not recommend it for children under 3 years old.

And, always as a precautionary principle, because no adverse effects have ever been observed, 2 to 3 soy-based products per day for adults and 1 per day for pregnant or breastfeeding women.

To sum up :

  • Benefits: good quality protein, fiber and healthy fats
  • Disadvantages: Rare allergic risks or hormonal treatment imbalances
  • ANSES consumption recommendation: Maximum 3 soy products per day for adults.