Soy Myths

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Fact or fiction?

There’s no denying that soy is quite the wonder-bean. But with so much information available about soy, it’s not always easy to be sure what’s accurate. So we’ve done our research to help you distinguish the truth from the tall tales.

There’s no denying that soy is quite the wonder-bean. But with so much information available about soy, it’s not always easy to be sure what’s accurate. So we’ve done our research to help you distinguish the truth from the tall tales.

General nutrition

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Reality: Soymilk such as Silk® has many of the same important nutrients as cow's milk, including calcium, vitamin D and protein. In addition, unlike many types of cow's milk, soymilk is very low in saturated fat and cholesterol-free. Find out more about Silk vs. milk.


Reality: Soy protein is one of the eight most common food allergens; a list that also includes proteins in milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish and wheat. However, these foods are not equally allergenic. In fact, soy allergy is relatively rare and much less common than milk and peanut allergies.1 If you know or suspect you are allergic to soy, consult your doctor for dietary guidelines and always read labels with care.


Reality: Soybeans—like other legumes and whole grains—contain phytate; a naturally occurring plant compound that may reduce the absorption of some minerals such as calcium and iron. However, research shows that calcium from fortified soy beverages is can be absorbed similarly to calcium from cow’s milk.2, 3 In addition, research indicates that soybeans can be a good source of nutritional iron.4


Reality: Soy protein has all of the essential amino acids—the building blocks of protein—and it is similar in quality to animal protein.5


Reality: Whole soybeans have protein, fiber, good omega-3 fats called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and a variety of vitamins and minerals such as folate and potassium. However, not all foods made from the soybean provide all of these components. Whole soybeans, soynuts, tempeh and edamame are examples of whole soyfoods which better preserve the nutritional attributes of the soybean. Most processed products such as soy supplements and isolated soy protein do not.


Reality: There are two types of soymilk commonly found on the market: those made from soybeans and those made from isolated soy protein. Soymilk made with soybeans, such as Silk, is made by crushing the bean and removing the indigestible fibrous portions, then blending the resulting "base" with water, flavoring, vitamins and other ingredients. This process preserves not only the protein but also other important components of the original soybean including isoflavones, essential fatty acids including an omega-3 fat and some fiber. Soymilk made from isolated soy protein is highly processed, made by chemically extracting the protein from the bean, then reconstituting the isolated protein with water and other additives.


Reality: Soy flour (used in some Silk Light products) is made by mechanically grinding soybeans. Soy protein powder (isolated soy protein) is a highly processed substance, made by chemically extracting and isolating the protein from the bean.


Reality: Studies don’t show that soy causes more gastrointestinal problems than other commonly consumed food.

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Reality: Soymilk like Silk and other soyfoods can be a nutritious addition to a child's diet. For most children, soymilk can be introduced around the same time dairy milk is typically introduced (usually around age one). Since all children are different, Silk recommends consulting your doctor before changing your child's diet. Silk soymilk is a good source of high-quality protein and has many of the same nutrients found in milk including calcium, vitamin D, potassium, riboflavin and vitamin B12. Soymilk and other milk alternatives should not be used as infant formula. Find out more about Silk vs. milk.


Reality: The medical and nutrition communities, as well as government agencies, agree that soy can play a valuable role in a healthy balanced diet for men, women and children alike. Soy is a complete plant protein, meaning that it contains all of the essential amino acids in adequate proportions. Soymilk such as Silk is also an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D: two nutrients especially important for growing kids. Find out more about Silk vs. milk.

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1 Vierk KA, Koehler KM, Fein SB, Street DA. Prevalence of self-reported food allergy in American adults and use of food labels. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2007;119(6):1504-10.

2 Zhao Y, Martin BR, Weaver CM. Calcium bioavailability of calcium carbonate fortified soymilk is equivalent to cow's milk in young women. J Nutr 2005;135(10):2379-82.

Weaver, C.M., Heaney, R.P., Connor, L., Martin, B.R., Smith, D.L., and Nielsen, E. Bioavailability of calcium from tofu vs. milk in premenopausal women. J Food Sci. 2002, 68, 3144-3147.

Lonnerdal, B. Soybean ferritin: implications for iron status of vegetarians. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009,89, 1680S-1685S.

5 Hughes, GJ et al. Protein digestibility corrected amino acid scores (PDCAAS) for soy protein isolates and concentrate: criteria for evaluation. J Agric Food Chem 2011 Dec 14;59(23):12707-12.