Soy milk—it’s not as healthy of a choice as you think it is. So then why do so many people choose to drink it? In an effort to join the health revolution, many households have switched over from dairy milk to soy milk. Unlike milk from a cow, soy milk contains no lactose. So, for people who avoid dairy, such as vegans or those who have a lactose intolerance, soy milk seems like a good choice. Fortified soy milk is even a good source of protein, iron, B vitamins and calcium, while being low in saturated fats and cholesterol. Sounds good on the surface, right? The only problem is that research has shown that consuming soy milk can put your health in serious danger. Let’s take a look at some of the ingredients in soy milk.
The ingredients in soy milk are:
- Soy milk (Filtered water, whole soybeans)
- Cane Sugar
- Sea Salt
- Natural Flavor
- Calcium Carbonate
- Vitamin A palmitate
- Vitamin D2
- Vitamin B12
Most of those ingredients probably sound familiar to you. And they don’t seem all that bad, right? Give the list another read-through. Have you heard of carrageenan? This particular ingredient may be one that you’re unfamiliar with. Carrageenans are a family of linear sulfated polysaccharides that are extracted from red edible seaweeds. They’re commonly used int the food industry for their gelling, thickening and stabilizing properties.
The Havoc Carrageenan Can Wreak
So what is so bad about carrageenan? Plenty of thickening agents are okay for you to consume, right? Not in this case. Not only is the body not able to digest carrageenan, it has no nutritional value whatsoever. Even though it’s derived from a natural source, it’s destructive to the immune system. It triggers a negative immune response that causes inflammation. Furthermore, research has linked carrageenan to a higher rate of colon cancer, along with gastrointestinal inflammation that can cause IBS, spastic colon, chronic diarrhea and inflammatory bowel disease.
That’s a whole lot of nope in one ingredient.
But the dangers of soy milk go beyond just carrageenan. There are numerous other reasons why you should avoid soy milk, all of which are listed below. While the type of food you decide to put into your body is a personal choice, staying informed is the best way to make a decision that benefits your health. Soy milk has been a topic of controversy for years, but there is a significant amount of evidence that proves it can have harmful affects on the body.
Top Ten Reasons to Avoid Soy Milk
1. Contains Toxins
Soybeans contain large quantities of natural toxins that affect estrogen levels. Drinking just two glasses of soy milk a day can significantly alter the hormones in a woman’s body, disrupting the menstrual cycle. This in turn can have an affect on ovulation and fertility.
2. Causes Red Blood Cells to Clump
Soybeans contain haemagglutinin, a clot-promoting substance that causes red blood cells to clump together. Normally, your body knows how to clot blood on its own. However, blood clots are not always a good thing, and can lead to cardiovascular and other health issues. For example, blood clotting may lead to lethal conditions such as embolism or stroke.
3. It’s Genetically Modified
About 99% of soy is genetically modified, so it contains one of the highest pesticide contamination levels. You can find organic soy products, but with all the other dangers listed here, it’s not really worth the risk.
4. Prevents Proper Mineral Absorption
Soybeans and soy products contain high levels of phytic acid, which inhibits the assimilation of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc. If your body doesn’t properly absorb these minerals, it can lead to dangerous deficiencies and conditions. This includes, for example, anemia, diabetes, and a compromised immune system.
5. Dangerously High Levels of Aluminum
Soy foods contain high levels of aluminum, which is toxic to the body. It negatively affects the nervous system and the kidneys, and it’s been linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
6. High Cooking Temps
Fragile soy proteins are exposed to high temperatures during processing to make soy protein isolate and textured vegetable protein. While this may seem harmless, the opposite is true. The process makes these soy products dangerous for human digestion.
7. Increases Growth of Breast Cancer
Soy contains toxic isoflavones – genistein and daidzein. These comonents can stimulate the growth of existing breast cancer.
8. Leads to Infertility and Breast Cancer
Soy contains plant estrogens called phytoestrogens, which disrupt endocrine function and can lead to infertility and breast cancer in women.
9. Messes With Your Thyroid
Soy foods have high levels of goitrogens which block production of thyroid hormones. This interferes with iodine uptake in the thyroid, which triggers the thyroid to release thyroid-stimulating hormone, or TSH. From there, it leads to the growth of thyroid tissue, which then develops into a goiter.
10. Nitrates, potent carcinogens, are formed during the spray-drying process. These are the same chemicals that hot dogs and lunch meats contain, and they can be extremely harmful to your health. For example, nitrates may cause pancreatic cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and may cause harm to your unborn child.
Soy Milk Alternatives
If you’re wanting to avoid dairy for health reasons, good for you! You likely already know that there are great milk alternatives available on the market, but you don’t have to choose soy. For example, there are numerous great-tasting nut milks that are chock-full of nutritional benefits. These include almond, cashew, coconut, and macadamia, to name a few. You can also find nut-blends, such as almond-cashew milk. Additionally, you can make your own nut milk, right at home! This is preferable because many of the nut milks you buy in a store consist mostly of water.