Soy is a hot grocery item, with various forms ranging from tofu, milk, edamame and cheese to soy sauce and textured soy protein products (burgers, hot dogs, chicken wings, etc.). But despite this increase in popularity, there are still some widespread misconceptions about soy bean products and their effects on the body.
Myth #1: Soy causes breast and prostate cancer.
There are claims that soy products can contribute to the development of breast cancer due to its estrogen content. But recent research on two decades of studies show soy helps to prevent breast cancer as well as cardiovascular diseases and “hot flashes during menopause and bone loss.”
The fear that soy can cause prostate cancer seems to stem from a study where rats consumed soy. However, since rats metabolize soy differently, the effect is largely different (Bastyr University). In fact, a study by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that men could reduce their risk of prostate cancer by 25% by consuming soy.
Myth #2: Soy negatively affects men’s hormones.
A common reason for men to avoid soy is the misunderstanding about the estrogen it contains. The prevailing myth is that the concentration of estrogen in soy will lower men’s testosterone. And while soy does have a plant estrogen called phytoestrogen, the effects of it are much weaker than that of human estrogen (Harvard School of Public Health), and not enough to create large changes.
Myth #3: Soy milk cannot replace cow milk because we need calcium.
Cow’s milk is one of the staple components of the American diet. For many, it’s an easy way to get nutrients like calcium for stronger bones. However, an Oklahoma State University study determined that soy protein helped bone formation and calcium retention more than milk protein.
Get tasty recipes that include soy from the Soyfoods Association of North America.