Soy Myths

Fact or fiction?

There’s no denying soy is quite the wonder-bean. But with so much information available about soy, it’s not always easy to be sure what’s accurate. So we’ve done our research to help you distinguish the truth from the tall tales. 

There’s no denying soy is quite the wonder-bean. But with so much information available about soy, it’s not always easy to be sure what’s accurate. So we’ve done our research to help you distinguish the truth from the tall tales. 

General nutrition

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Myth: Soy beverages aren’t as good for you as cow’s milk

Reality: Fortified soy beverages such as Silk® have many of the same important nutrients as cow's milk including calcium, vitamin D and protein. In addition, unlike many types of cow's milk, soy beverages are very low in saturated fat and cholesterol-free.

The Healthy Eating guidance in Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide, asserts that fortified soy beverages like Silk can be used as an alternative to dairy milk every day:

“Having milk or fortified soy beverages every day provides the nutrients that you need for healthy bones and optimal health.” – Canada’s Food Guide

Find out more about the benefits of Silk vs. milk.

 

Myth: Soy is a major cause of food allergy 

Reality: Soy protein is one of the eight most common food allergens: a list that also includes proteins In milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish and wheat.  If you know or suspect you are allergic to soy, consult your doctor for dietary guidelines and always read labels with care.1

 

MythMinerals are not absorbed when soy is consumed

RealitySoybeans—like other legumes and whole grains—contain phytate; a naturally occurring plant compound that  may reduce the absorption of some minerals such as calcium and iron.  However, research shows that calcium from fortified soy beverages can be absorbed similarly to calcium from cow’s milk.2,3 In addition, research indicates that soybeans can be a good source of nutritional iron.4

 

Myth: Soy protein is inferior because it comes from a plant

RealitySoy protein has all of the essential amino acids- the building blocks of protein and it is similar in quality to animal protein.5

 

Myth: All soy is the same

RealityWhole soybeans have protein, fibre, good omega-3 fats called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and a variety of vitamins and minerals such as folate and potassium. All Silk soy beverages offer these omega-3 fats. However, not all foods made from the soybean provide all of these components. Soy drinks made from whole soybeans, soynuts, tempeh and edamame are examples of whole soyfoods which better preserve the nutritional attributes of the soybean. Most processed products such as soy supplements and isolated soy protein do not.

 

Myth: All soy beverages are the same

RealityThere are two types of soy beverages commonly found on the market: those made from whole soybeans, and those made from isolated soy protein. Whole bean soy beverages, such as Silk, are made by crushing the bean and removing the indigestible fibrous portions, then blending the resulting “base” with water, flavouring, vitamins and other ingredients. This whole bean process preserves not only the protein, but also other important components of the original soybean including isoflavones and essential fatty acids, including an omega-3 fat. Soy beverages made from isolated soy protein are highly processed, made by chemically extracting the protein from the bean, then reconstituting the isolated protein with water and other additives. 

 Myth: Soy upsets your stomach

RealityWhile any food can cause sensitivity in some people, clinical studies don’t show soy causes more gastrointestinal disturbances than other commonly consumed foods. Furthermore, fortified soy beverages are a delicious milk alternative for those who can't drink milk due to lactose intolerance. If you know or suspect you are allergic to soy, consult your doctor for dietary guidelines and always read labels with care. Find out more about Silk vs. milk.

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Children

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Myth: Soy is not an appropriate food for children

Reality: Fortified soy beverages like Silk and other soyfoods can be a nutritious addition to a child's diet. Since all children are different, Silk recommends consulting your doctor before changing your child's diet. Silk Original, Unsweetened and Vanilla soy beverages have 7 grams of protein, while Silk Chocolate has 6 grams. All Silk soy beverages are fortified with many of the same nutrients found in milk including calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A, riboflavin and vitamin B12. Soy beverages and other milk alternatives should not be used as infant formula. Find out more about Silk vs. milk.

 

Myth: Soy doesn't support growth and development in children

Reality: Soy can play a role in a heart healthy, balanced diet.6 Soy is a complete plant protein, meaning that it contains all of the essential amino acids in adequate proportions. Fortified soy beverages such as Silk are also an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D. Find out more about Silk vs. milk.

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1 Vierk KA, Koehler KM, Fein SB, Street DA. Prevalence of self-reported food allergy in American adults and use of food labels. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2007;119(6):1504-10.

2 Zhao Y, Martin BR, Weaver CM. Calcium bioavailability of calcium carbonate fortified soymilk is equivalent to cow's milk in young women. J Nutr 2005;135(10):2379-82.

3 Weaver, C.M., Heaney, R.P., Connor, L., Martin, B.R., Smith, D.L., and Nielsen, E. Bioavailability of calcium from tofu vs. milk in premenopausal women. J Food Sci. 200268, 3144-3147.

4 Lonnerdal, B. Soybean ferritin: implications for iron status of vegetarians. Am J Clin Nutr. 200989, 1680S-1685S.

5 Hughes, GJ et al. Protein digestibility corrected amino acid scores (PDCAAS) for soy protein isolates and concentrate: criteria for evaluation. J Agric Food Chem 2011 Dec 14;59(23):12707-12.

6 Food labeling: health claims; soy protein and coronary heart disease. Food and Drug Administration, HHS. Final rule. Red Regist 1999; 64:57700-33.