Soy: Good for Health or Bad?

Soy is a legume that has been commonly eaten in Asian countries for centuries. Soybeans contain natural plant estrogens, which are said to help prevent breast cancer and osteoporosis by balancing estrogen levels in the body. However, studies have shown that soy contains high levels of phytoestrogen chemicals called lignans. If consumed at too high doses (>50 grams/day), these compounds can promote certain types of cancers, such as breast and prostate cancers.


Soy is, without a doubt, one of the most divisive foods on the globe. If you ask a few health professionals, “is soy dangerous for you?” they’ll tell you it is. And you’ll probably receive a dozen different answers.

While some believe it may alter hormone levels, harm thyroid health, and cause cancer, others claim it can enhance heart health, increase fertility, and lower cholesterol levels.

Is soy harmful to your health? And when it comes to soy, how much is too much? Continue reading to learn all you need to know about the health implications of this widely used yet controversial substance.

What Exactly Is Soy?

Soybeans are a kind of legume native to East Asia, although they are currently planted and farmed worldwide.

The soybean plant is used to make a variety of goods, including soy milk and tofu, in addition to the edible bean. It’s also fermented to make things like tempeh, soy sauce, and miso, a traditional Japanese paste created from fermented soybeans.

Soybeans are also utilized to produce a wide range of processed meals, including several vegan meat replacements and dairy-free yogurts and cheeses. For example, soy lecithin and soy protein isolate are often isolated from the plant and added to processed meals and supplements.

Is Soy Harmful to Your Health?

Soybeans are one of the most divisive foods on the market. Indeed, it appears as though a new article touting the risks of soy is released practically every week, describing the effects of soy on estrogen levels and hyping up the possible soy milk adverse effects in men.

Soybeans, like other foods, have both good and negative characteristics, as well as certain additional considerations for persons with particular health issues. Many soy products, in moderation, maybe enjoyed as part of a balanced diet.

To optimize the potential health advantages, choose organic, fermented, and minimally processed versions and match them with various other nutrient-dense meals.


Soybeans are high in protein and include various other essential elements such as manganese, calcium, and selenium.

A half-cup of tofu, for example, comprises the following ingredients:

  • Calorie Count: 88
  • Carbs: 2 grams
  • Protein content: 10 grams
  • Fat: 5.5 grams
  • Fiber: 1 gram
  • Manganese: 0.8 milligrams (39 percent DV)
  • Calcium: 253 milligrams (25 percent DV)
  • Selenium: 12.5 micrograms (18 percent DV)
  • Phosphorus: 152 milligrams (15 percent DV)
  • Copper: 0.3 milligrams (13 percent DV)
  • Magnesium: 46.6 milligrams (12 percent DV)
  • Iron: 2 milligrams (11 percent DV)
  • Zinc milligrams (7 percent DV)
  • Folic Acid: 23.9 mcg folic acid (6 percent DV)

Tofu also includes potassium, vitamin K, vitamin B6, thiamine, and riboflavin in each serving.


Soybeans include several strong substances that have been widely explored for their health benefits, including isoflavones, plant sterols, prebiotics, and others.

According to several studies, eating a diet rich in soy foods may help regulate cholesterol levels and promote improved heart health. For example, soy intake was shown to lower triglycerides, total cholesterol, and bad LDL cholesterol while increasing levels of healthy HDL cholesterol in a 2015 review published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

It may also have a number of health advantages for women in particular. Isoflavones, in particular, have been proven to boost levels of estradiol (estrogen) in the body, which may help alleviate some of the symptoms of menopause. In addition, isoflavone supplements were proven to reduce the incidence and severity of hot flashes in women in a review of 19 research.

Soy protein may also help women have more regular menstrual periods and increase their fertility. One research out of Rome, for example, discovered that phytoestrogens helped 213 women undergoing in vitro fertilization achieve a higher pregnancy rate.

Side Effects and Risks

Although soyfoods provide several possible health advantages, they also have a number of adverse effects and hazards that must be addressed.

Isoflavones, for starters, are phytoestrogens, which means they mimic the actions of estrogen in the body. As a result, many individuals avoid soy foods because of worries about their impact on hormone-related malignancies, including breast cancer.

Surprisingly, several studies have shown that soy isoflavones may be associated with a decreased risk of breast cancer. Higher use of soy products has been related to a 30% decreased risk of breast cancer in Asian women, according to a 2016 study.

Of course, it’s worth noting that these people eat non-GMO, fermented, and minimally processed soy foods, which contrasts sharply with many of the highly processed meals eaten in most Western nations.

Many people worry about whether soybeans are dangerous for males because of their phytoestrogen properties. However, studies on the effect of the soy diet on male hormone levels have shown varied findings.

For example, a study published in the Journal of Endocrinology reported that giving rats large doses of soy phytoestrogens for five weeks lowered testosterone levels and prostate weight. On the other side, a comprehensive study published in 2010 indicated that soy intake had no impact on hormone levels in males, while other studies have linked soy consumption to a decreased risk of prostate cancer.

However, if you have thyroid problems, you should limit your soy diet since some studies have suggested that isoflavones may reduce thyroid hormone synthesis in the body. A research from Loma Linda University analyzed the findings of 14 studies. It determined that people with thyroid issues don’t need to avoid soy entirely, but they should make sure they’re getting enough iodine to prevent negative health impacts.

Allergies to soy products are very frequent, with one research predicting that 0.4 percent of children had a soy allergy. Although many individuals outgrow their allergies, you should avoid soy products to avoid negative side effects if you have one.

Furthermore, genetically modified soy accounts for a considerable amount of soy produced in the United States, with some sources indicating that up to 93 percent of crops are genetically modified.

GMOs have been linked to a variety of health issues, including antibiotic resistance and an increased chance of developing food allergies. GMO crops have also been linked to detrimental environmental consequences such as reduced biodiversity and toxicity to particular animals, such as honeybees. Choosing organic soy products is a simple method to assure that your food is grown without the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).


  • Many individuals are left thinking, “Is soy dangerous for you?” because of all the confusing and contradictory information out there.
  • Some of the substances present in soybeans have been proven to help lower cholesterol, enhance reproductive health, minimize menopausal symptoms, and cut the risk of some cancers.
  • Because isoflavones imitate estrogen’s activities in the body, there are various possible soy side effects to consider in both men and females.
  • High doses, in particular, may have an effect on testosterone levels in males. However, research has shown mixed findings.
  • Furthermore, despite widespread worries about how soybeans may affect hormone-linked diseases such as breast cancer, numerous studies have revealed that less processed variants may actually protect against cancer.
  • Finally, soybeans are not only a common allergy, but they are also often genetically engineered, which may affect thyroid function in those who have low iodine levels.
  • Limiting your consumption and choosing non-GMO, less processed, and fermented versions wherever feasible will assist in reducing any negative health consequences while maximizing the potential benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is soy bad for you?

A: Soy is bad for you because it harms fertility. So, if you’re trying to get pregnant and want to have kids, you should avoid soy.

Is soy actually bad for you?

A: Soy is considered a healthy alternative to animal protein, and it has been shown that isolated soy proteins can be beneficial to your health. Isolated soy proteins are usually made by extracting the individual amino acids from raw soya beans into solutions of water or alcohol, which will then freeze-dry the resulting particles for storage in warehouses.

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