What's the Deal with Soy?

Updated on October 03, 2008
L.B. asks from Chicago, IL
8 answers

I keep hearing that kids, in particular girls shouldn't have too much. Estrogen perhaps? My one year old daughter will not drink cows milk and gets a combination of breast and soy formula for now. I'm vegetarian anyway and have no problem with her being vegan as long as she gets the nutrition she needs. Whats the best cow milk alternative? I'd like to avoid anything with a lot of sweetener, even if it is the so-called healthier alternative of evaporated cane juice or the like, and goats milk is super expensive!

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answers from Chicago on

L.-That is right Soy is BAD for the body with an exception edemame or miso. Soy in ANY other form the body treats like a toxin and will increase estrogen in the body. www.westonprice.org has a great article on it. From one vegan to another-I chose not to goat's milk even though it is the closest alternative to breast milk. I give my 10 month old rice milk, with rice protein and coconut oil in in to supplement. You can use unsweetened rice or almond milk. Trader Joe's prices are very reasonable.

I have more articles if you would like.

In great health!!

Detox Coach

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answers from Chicago on

This has been on my mind as well. I have been a vegetarian for over 20 years and have always eaten soy based products. Now that my son is eating solids, I wondered if I should give him any of the tofu and veggie-burgers that I am eating. I did some research and it really is all over the place - people either think soy is wonderful or absolutely terrible. Who knows what to believe anymore??!!

My opinion is that life, in general, is about finding proper balance. Just like you would not eat cookies and soda for every meal, soy probably isn't meant for mass consumption. But really, just like most things in life, I am sure having some in moderation is just fine. Perhaps having a combination of soy/almond/rice milk would work well to achieve a balanced diet. Of course, the best thing to do is follow your heart and do what feels right.

All the best,

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answers from Chicago on

I was just reading about soy milk and soy formula in Dr. Mercola's book, Take Control of Your Health. He says, "The estrogens in soy can irreversibly harm the baby's future sexual development and reproductive health, and it has been estimated that infants who are fed soy formula exclusively receive five birth control pills worth of estrogen every day."

Soy impedes sexual maturation of boys and it accelerates sexual maturation in girls. It has also been associated with thyroid problems. Soy milk is very highly processed and not healthy.



answers from Chicago on

HI L.,
This has been an on going conversation in my house as well. I am vegetarian and my husband and my children are not.

I have no problems with my boys taking soy (or eating meat for that matter). My husband did some research and was concerned about our boys and their soy intake, as my oldest has a dairy allergy and I am not a fan of cow's milk for a plethora of reasons.

Here is what I found by researching. Not everything here is my own words, and I can site it for you if you'd like more information.

For more than 35 years, soy based infant formula has been a safe, healthy way to support normal growth and development of infants.

There was a study that was conducted at the University of Iowa that supported the safety of soy-based infant formula. The study monitored the effects of soy-based infant formula on the growth and development of children and found that there were no significant differences in terms of growth and development between those given soy-based formula and those given cow's milk formula. Additionally, researchers conducted a multi-generation feeding study in rats aimed at examining the the long-term health consequences of early consumption of soy protein. The number of off spring, gender rations, birth weights, health and general appearance of soy-fed rats were the same as those milk fed controls.

The negative assertion has never been observed in any study involving humans.

Also, some people hear that there are phytoestrogens in soy and automatically think "estrogen" (why wouldn't they? The word is the same and sure, too much estrogen sounds bad). However, a plant estrogen is not the same as a human estrogen and really shouldn't have the same name. So, there is a lot of "scare tactics" online about the so-called dangers of soy. Most of what I found in the negative campaign against soy could not be substantiated by science.

Having said that, we feed our boys rice AND soy milk.

I have a lot of information if you'd like more. I have a lot of people ask me about these so-called dangers of soy, so I consider myself a soy nerd with all the research I have done.

I hope this helps.



answers from Chicago on

All I know is that my 6 year old niece has been on soy milk off and on throughout her life, plus God knows what vitamins & supplements. The last time I saw her my first thought was...she needs a bra. And we're not talking baby fat- I've seen little girls with baby fat- these were breasts. After reading some of your other responses- could there be a link?



answers from Chicago on

Rice milk is a good alternative. I had one of my sons on soy milk for awhile until his doctor suggested that I take him off. The phyto estrogens in the milk aren't good for boys. It is like giving them birth control pills because it suppresses the their testosterone . Now with girls it raises the female hormone so you may find early puberty issues and heightened sexuality. Crazy huh?



answers from Chicago on

I understand that almond milk is a good alternative to cows milk. In addition to what other have said about soy and hormones, I think the concern with rice milk or other non-soy alternatives is the level of fat content since babies need fat to help their brain develop. But I understand you can supplement that with cheese, avocado, fish oils, etc. as long as you are meeting the calcium / fat / protein need. And of course liquid. Good luck!



answers from Chicago on

Honestly L., soy based products are good for post-menopausal women. Soy in it fermented state is good too, miso, tempeh or edamame, in moderation, but not the GMO soy milks, etc. Soy is also a major thyroid suppressor which controls hormones in the body as well. That is why there is all the controversy with soy based products. Soy is also a major hidden allergen or one can also be soy-intolerant. Soy is a bean and does not get digested too well in most humans.

Trader Joe's sells a unsweetened, organic rice milk for $2.69 per half gallon on their shelf in the blue and white box. It is comparable to soy-milk and is easily digestable. (you probably gave your daughter rice cereal as her first foods?) You can add some Nordic Natural DHA fish oil to get some added extra fat which can be found at Whole Foods. This fat is great for brain growth and development. I give my 14m old rice milk with her 1/4 tsp of fish oil every morning and before bed.

Whole Foods also has a rice milk yogurt too.

Good luck with your decision, you did get some good info and websites to look up.

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