Both vegans and vegetarians have found themselves using soy milk as an alternative to cow milk, especially those allergic to dairy products. However, soy milk is not just a substitute drink, but is a nutritional beverage worthwhile to add to a balanced diet.
Too much soy milk can cause harm to the body when overly consumed, but in moderation it is a wholesome drink with health benefits and abundant nutritional value.
What are soy milk benefits? The benefits of soy milk are it contains micronutrients such as vitamin B, minerals like calcium, and antioxidants that play an essential role in overall health.
For instance, it has vitamin B, which helps form and maintain nerve cells and DNA. This also helps prevent anemia, thus reducing tiredness and fatigue.
High protein content in soy milk helps to build strong muscles and organs.
The presence of omega-3 fatty acids, considered healthy fats in soy milk, has been linked with decreasing the occurrence of dementia and Alzheimers.
Though there are a number of well intentioned benefits, overconsumption of soy milk has been proven to show concern for both males and females. The presence of isoflavone in soy milk provides a chemical compound known as phytoestrogen that mimics a weak estrogen in the body.
This article reviews the advantages of soy milk and whether they overvalue all the disadvantages. Answered below are frequently asked questions about soy milk benefits and how they can be useful for your body.
Benefits of soy milk
In moderation, soy milk offers various nutritional benefits. Stick with unsweetened and unflavored soy milk, and consume one to two cups per day on a semi regular basis to avoid a daily habit.
Here are benefits of soy milk:
- Helps people who are overweight to lose weight since it reduces the level of cholesterol in the body. [1, 2]
- The plant based beverage has low saturated fats and high protein, which assist in reducing obesity and focusing on muscle mass. [3, 4]
- Has low saturated fats, reducing the BMI and cholesterols level and the vitamins and minerals in soy promote good heart condition lowering the risk of heart diseases. 
- The presence of isoflavone in soy milk helps reduce the pain of hot flashes that occur during menopause. 
- Rich in calcium which helps in the formation of strong bones and lowers the risk of bone fracturing. [7, 8]
- The presence of antidepressant in soy milk like vitamin B6 and vitamin B complex releases serotonin in the body that improve one mood.
- High protein content in soy milk helps in hair growth. [9, 10]
Soy milk nutrition
The nutrition of soy milk depends on the soy milk brand and the additives or flavorings. The amount of added sugars and calories in soy milk differ depending on the brand one buys, and each package of soy milk has the nutritional facts on the label.
The following are nutrition facts for one cup of unprocessed soy milk:
- Sugars: 1 g with no additional sugars (it contains added sugars when processed)
- Fats 4 g with only 0.5 g of saturated fats
- Carbohydrates 3 g with only 80 calories
- Fiber 2 g
- Protein 7 g
Which is better, soy milk or almond milk?
Almond milk has less calories, but also has less protein. Therefore, it all depends on an individual preference, allergen restrictions and dietary choices.
Regarding calories, almond milk scores over soy milk since it has a lower number of calories (30 to 50) compared to soy milk that has about 80 calories per serving. If you are looking for for less calories to meet your weight loss goals, then almond milk may be better than soy milk for that reason.
Almond milk is also a great source of mono saturated fats, which are good for reducing cholesterol levels. On the flip side, soy milk contains phytonutrients that are good for fighting cancer and maintaining a healthy heart condition.
Soy milk has much more protein than almond milk, which is needed to build muscle mass and helps you feel fuller for longer.
Is soy milk healthier than cow’s milk?
Yes, soy milk is healthier than cow’s milk. Soy milk has as much protein as cow milk, but the number of calories and saturated fats are lower compared to milk.
The low levels of saturated fats also reduces the amount of cholesterol.
In addition, soy milk contains potassium which helps maintain low blood pressure, with supplementary vitamins such as B12, A, and Vitamin D that are very useful in the body.
Nonetheless, cow milk would serve as a better option for people who are allergic to soy products.
What are the pros and cons of soy milk?
The advantages of soy milk intake are optimal when overconsumption is avoided. Depending on the allergy and diet, there are pros and cons of soy milk to be aware of.
Some of the pros of consuming soy milk include:
- Ease the severity of menopause symptoms and improve cognitive performance for women in the postmenstrual stage. [11, 12, 13, 14]
- Improves heart health, thus reducing the risk of heart disease.
- Is rich in protein, a primary nutrient in forming muscular mass.
- Reduces BMI and cholesterol levels that can assist in weight loss, thus reducing the risk of obesity.
- Some of the micronutrients in soy milk, such as vitamin B6, assist in improving nerve cells.
- Contains calcium, an important mineral in forming strong bones and aids in prevention of osteoporosis.
Cons for consuming soy milk:
- Causes kidney stones due to a high number of oxalates.
- Increase gas and bloat due to indigestible sugars and healthy fats, especially for pregnant women,.
- Lead to hypothyroidism since it affects thyroid functioning when taken in excess.
- Hinder the absorption of other minerals such as zinc and magnesium due to the presence of an antinutrient compound called phytic acid.
Is soy milk good for gut health?
Yes, soy milk is good for gut health. In fact, soy milk contains fiber that is helpful as a prebiotic.
In addition, soy milk contains isoflavone, a phytoestrogen compound that acts as an anti-inflammatory, especially for patients suffering from inflammatory bowel disease.
The compound affects the gut microbiota due to its high protein and fiber content that increase the level of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli in the gut.
This alters the ratio of firmicutes and bacteroidetes that changes the microbiota level, reducing the population of pathogenic bacteria in the gut, thus lowering the chances of intestinal diseases.
Soy benefits the skin
Soy milk has a compound isoflavone that plays an integral role in lowering the appearance of skin aging. Thus, adding soy milk to ones diet assists an individual in eliminating dullness and wrinkles from the skin, creating a smooth and youthful appearance.
Additionally, soybeans are known for containing properties that keep the skin full of moisture, but not looking greasy.
Soy milk disadvantages
With all the benefits of consuming soy milk, it also has a downside when consumed excessively.
The disadvantages of soy milk include:
- Isoflavones in soy milk deplete the level of iodine and may cause thyroid impairment.
- Indigestible healthy fats and sugars cause gas and bloat in the stomach.
- May trigger an allergic reaction.
- Can cause respiratory disorders like asthma due to the coating of the gastrointestinal tract by mucus produced during digestive breakdown.
- Affect nutrient insufficiency due to the anti-nutrient phytic compounds found in soy milk.
- Inhibit the synthesis of proteins due to the presence of protease inhibitors that minimize the breakdown of protein.
Soy milk side effects
Most of the side effects of soy milk occur when one consumes a large amount. Here are some of the side effects that can occur as a result of consuming soy milk:
- When consumed by someone sensitive to soy products, it can trigger allergic reactions such as vomiting, itching, and skin rashes.
- Drinking soy milk can raise the level of isoflavone in a body, which can cause breast broadening, penis dysfunction, and low sperm count in men.
- Presence of phytoestrogen in soy acts like mild estrogen, which may raise the hormone in a female body that can cause breast cancer. (Only when consumed in excessively large amount).
Advantages of Soy Milk: Conclusion
From vitamin B to calcium and antioxidants, there are numerous benefits when consuming soy milk in moderation. These elements help to prevent anemia, build muscle mass and healthy organs, also helps to decrease chance of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Soy milk nutrition value varies depending on the brand and will be indicated on its packet. It’s always good to check the nutrition facts before buying it, and try to avoid flavorings, sweeteners and artificial additives.
There are clear pros and cons for drinking soy milk instead of nut-based milks. Nut milks have less calories, but soy milk is a clear winner when it comes to protein.
Compared to cow’s milk, soy milk is healthier due to high protein but low calories and saturated fats.
Every soy milk has a small amount of fiber, which is considered a prebiotic to aid gut health. Additionally, the isoflavones in soy benefits skin health to brighten and reduce wrinkles for smooth appearance.
Most negative soy effects require a significant amount of consumption. So, worry less, and enjoy a cup or two of soy milk as part of a balanced diet.