Soy: Good or Bad?
Soybeans are a type of legume native to Asia. Soy has been part of traditional Asian diets for thousands of years. In fact, there’s evidence that soybeans were grown in China as early as 9,000 BC.
Today, soy is widely consumed, not only as a source of plant-based protein but also as an ingredient in many processed foods. Soy includes a wide variety of foods, including edamame, products made from whole soybeans, fermented soy foods, more processed soy-based foods, as well as supplements.
However, soy remains a controversial food — some praise its health benefits, while others claim it could be bad for you.
Soy is high in plant-based protein and a good source of many nutrients and phytochemicals. It has been shown to lower cholesterol, improve fertility outcomes and reduce menopause symptoms.
On the other hand, Animal studies suggest that soy negatively impacts breast cancer, thyroid function and male hormones, but human studies suggest otherwise. The majority of soy is genetically modified, so eat organic soy if you want to avoid GMOs.
The Bottom Line, soy offers several benefits, such as improving cholesterol levels, fertility outcomes and menopause symptoms. Yet, it remains controversial as weak evidence from animal studies suggests that it may be linked to breast cancer, poor thyroid function and interference with male hormones.
However, studies in humans show different results.
Overall, the benefits of incorporating soy into your diet most likely outweigh any potential risks, so feel free to eat whole or fermented soy foods in moderation.