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What exactly is soy milk and is it really good for you?

Pervasively popular, soy milk is made by soaking dry soybeans in water. The milk “white” color and pleasantly surprising non-bean-like taste is certainly not natural — nor necessarily organic.

What exactly is soy milk?The resulting liquid, or “milk” is actually bleached, soybean water, fortified with added sugar, so as to make the taste, texture and color, acceptable to the delicate palates of us Westerners.

According to TLC.com “Soy is one of the more heavily modified crops (and one of the most useful for additives) and chances are in the United States that if the label says you’re eating soy, you’re eating genetically modified material.” (source)

Silk Brand Soy Milk

Popular soy milk brand, Silk, used to be owned by White Wave, an independent company and a pioneer in the organic industry, but according to the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), “the Silk brand is owned by Dean Foods and the brand is mostly conventional, not organic.” OCA states on their website “Dean Foods is an $11 billion agri-business giant and the largest milk processor in the United States.  [Dean Foods] owns over 50 milk labels around the country, including Horizon Organic, a brand that heavily depends on factory farms each milking thousands of cows.” OCA alleges that Dean Foods would not work with domestic farmers and their organic soybeans, “unless they could match the cheaper price of imported Chinese soybeans.” The Dean Foods website states that “Silk is conducting a Responsible Purchasing Survey among our soybean farmers and suppliers… to create a baseline snapshot of our current practices…” Nothing definitive here.

Organic Soy

Incidentally, according to the FoodConsumer.org website, “in order to be considered “organic,” only 70% of a product actually must fit that definition in order to be advertised as such.” Regardless, the whole processing of soy, organic or not is undeniably disturbing; Cornucopia and Natural News revealed that soy products, organic or natural, “are bathed in hexane, a gasoline by-product that is particularly volatile.” Claims of “High levels of phytic acid, trypsin inhibitors, toxic lysinoalanine and highly carcinogenic nitrosamines are all present in soy products” with no legislation to protect consumers from soy toxins in raw soy products.

According to SoyOnline, a website run by Golder Associates, an employee-owned company that claims to have international expertise in ground engineering, earth and environmental services “Infants exclusively fed soy-based formula have 13,000 to 22,000 times more estrogen compounds in their blood than babies fed milk-based formula, the estrogenic equivalent of at least five birth control pills per day.”

Soy is a plant based estrogen and infants consuming soy formula have been likened to consuming four birth control pills a day. “Soy is higher in phytoestrogens [plant based estrogens] than just about any other food source,” advises Food Renegade, a natural food advocacy website. “a leading cause of breast cancer… and low libido is unopposed estrogen, or estrogen dominance,” the author states. SoyQuick.com, a website that promotes healthy living using soy seems to want to mitigate this claim, stating that  “Certainly we don’t see these effects in cultures where daily consumption of soy is common.” Perhaps, but this applies to whole soy foods, a term SoyQuick.com validates, and conventional Western soy products, specifically soy milk, is highly processed and cannot be truly considered a whole soy food.

Soy and Sperm Count

According to research presented at a Harvard School of Public Health 63rd Annual Meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, “Estrogen-like compounds in soy foods can lower sperm count,” expressing warnings that “Men who eat soy foods and drink soy milk are less likely to father children and more likely to experience loss of libido.”

And for all the child-free vegans out there? If you think eating a soy burger is real food, read CHow’s descriptive take, “How Fake Meat is Made. Where’s the soy?

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  • Thanks Stephan. I’ve been trying to cut back on dairy after reading literature on the effects of dairy products causing skin inflammation among other side effects. I switched to soy, but now i’m confused… what is the best alternative to milk?

    Travis

    2:52 pm
    11/10/2012

  • This is interesting: “Judge Gives Green Light to Soy Lawsuit” – Soy, touted by industry as a health food, is being found not so healthy by prison inmates in California, Illinois and Florida. The incarcerated are suffering irreparable harm by being fed a high soy diet, resulting in two lawsuits seeking to return their diet to normal. Here’s the link: http://www.westonaprice.org/press/judge-gives-green-light-to-soy-lawsuit

    Stefan Pinto

    4:59 pm
    25/10/2011

  • What exactly is soy milk and is it really good for you?: http://t.co/JuPNuoF article by @StefanPinto

  • What is soy milk-is it really good for u? http://t.co/jMAxB6K @stefanpinto @mayhemstudios (not good for thyroid) @ShiCooks

    Andjelija (@Andjelija)

    8:20 pm
    03/09/2011

  • Hi Marianne – I used to drink Silk brand soy milk as well; in my morning cereal, in coffee, in protein shakes, in more coffee and warmed at night.

    Stefan Pinto

    1:19 am
    09/08/2011

  • What exactly is soy milk and is it really good for you?: http://t.co/YtryqDD

  • OMG! I work with hexanes-and we keep them stored in a metal biohazard cabinet because they are toxic! Worse than that-I love the taste of that Silk soymilk product! Yeesh-time to walk away from the product, sigh…

    Marianne

    1:05 am
    09/08/2011

  • This, from an article on Gizmodo: “most soy, a common ingredient in processed foods, is genetically modified.”
    http://gizmodo.com/5828883/you-could-be-eating-genetically-modified-cornand-not-even-know-it

    Stefan Pinto

    12:28 am
    09/08/2011

  • Wow, this is terrible! Actually I don’t drink as much soy milk as I used to. I used to drink more soy milk than when I drank regular milk believe that it would make me healthy. Read some information on soy and how it’s not that good for you to consume so much of it. I try almond milk and oat milk and now I am drinking goat milk which is a little bit tart but it is very creamy.

    Sophia

    6:00 pm
    19/07/2011

  • Soy milk is nasty.

    Michael H.

    2:32 am
    25/06/2011

  • Yep, and if it’s not clearly stated as non-GMO, it likely is that too. So far with soy, that means “roundup” resistance to Glyophosphate.  Soy has also been subjected to additional genetic modifications by the insertion of a toxin called “Bacillus thuringiensis Delta Endotoxin” (as science has already done with our Corn). This reclassifies the corn from your local grocery store as a pesticide, now regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), no longer the Food and Drug Administration, (or FDA).
    Now corn and other key foodstuffs we have eaten for thousands of years manufacturers it’s own poison on a genetic level.   Yes… really. Soy and Potatoes are next.  http://www.epa.gov/opp00001/biopesticides/pips/index.htm. 

    Greg

    1:16 pm
    21/06/2011

  • I think one of the things people believe is that soy milk is good because it is not milk. If your vegetarian what else are you supposed to drink? But it helps if you know what you are drinking.

    Adam Kastoria

    1:04 am
    21/06/2011

  • There is a big debate on this (and it also depends on what soy milk you buy). Also, I’m sure a lot of the studies have been backed by the corn/dairy/meat industries. It also depends on what soy products you buy (just the same as ANY products you buy from a supermarket) because there are all natural versions of the soy/veggie patties that vegans eat. Everything in moderation. In my opinion, people have been consuming TOO much dairy for many years anyway, so an alternative is always a good thing. A plain soy bean doesn’t really have that “bean” taste anyway.

    Marcus

    12:56 am
    21/06/2011

  • Stefan, I had no idea about this! Yikes! Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting it. I love your new blog. You’re a great guy, Stefan.

    Susan C.

    11:02 pm
    20/06/2011

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