Soy milk is one of the products processed from soybeans. Although it called milk, but this drink is not milk products because it contains no lactose. Therefore, soy milk be an alternative for those who allergic to cow’s milk (lactose intolerance). Soy milk also contains several important nutrients. However, the researchers find any negative effects of soy milk on human health. What is it? Is it true that soy milk can be harmful?
Content of Soy Milk
Soy itself, which is the manufacture of soy milk, has a variety important nutrients, including:
Soy is a non-animal sources of protein are important. For vegetarians, non-animal protein is essential to meet the daily protein requirement. Several types of proteins contained therein include arginine, lysine, lecithin, glycine, leucine, niacin, isoleucine, tryptophan, phenylalanine and threonine. These substances are good for fetal brain development, repair damaged tissue, maintain organ function and strengthen immunity.
2. Vegetable fat.
Soy also contains vegetable fats and omega-3 is good for health. Unlike cow’s milk, soy milk contains a little of saturated fat and no cholesterol. It is good for health. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in 2009, said that as part of low saturated fat and cholesterol beverage, 25 grams of soy protein a day can lower cholesterol levels and even lower your risk of heart disease.
3. Fiber and Iron.
Soy milk contains 10% of fiber and 8% iron.
4. Folic Acid.
Folic acid is believed good for fetal neurological development during pregnancy.
Carbohydrates are very important as a source of energy of our body.
Soy milk also contains vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin B1, and vitamin E.
Pros and cons of soy milk
However, in the 1990s began circulating news about the negative effects of soy milk and other non-fermented soy products. One of them is caused by the presence of Phytoestrogens (a substance in soy that act like estrogen hormone). Phytoestrogens are also known as natural estrogen from nature. Phytoestrogens are good for women, especially during menopause to alleviate symptoms of menopause are less comfortable. However, phytoestrogens was allegedly going to be bad, especially in men, children, and pregnant women who are expecting a baby boy.
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Several studies have found an association between breast cancer with excessive consumption of soy, although the study was conducted in experimental animals.
1. Dangers of soy milk – In pregnant women.
Soy milk is good for pregnant women who do not like the taste of cow’s milk. Nutrient content of soy milk is also not less than cow’s milk, as described above. However, there are various studies that found that the phytoestrogens in soy milk will disrupt the sexual development of male infants later in adulthood. This study shows the relationship between genistein (a substance in soy) and sexual development of male infants, but was limited in experimental animals. This has not been done in humans.
2. Dangers of soy milk – In children and infants.
There are several studies that found negative effects of phytoestrogens in children and infants. Among others were developmental disabilities of sexual organs in boys, thyroid disease, sexual organ development in girls is faster (early puberty), endocrine disorders that cause infertility, etc.. However, according to Kenneth D.R. Setchell, Ph.D., a professor and researcher at Children’s Hospital Medical Center Cincinnati, he believes that these negative effects will not show up. He said that the research was limited in experimental animals, not humans.
3. Dangers of soy milk – In Men.
Lots of articles and news about the adverse effects of phytoestrogens in soy milk for men. Estrogen itself, when given to men will inhibit testosterone causing feminization such as breast growth, loss of libido and impotence, decreased of sperm count, etc.. Research in 2008 by Jorge Chavarro, MD, ScD about “Human Reproduction” said that soy products such as soy milk can lower sperm concentration. This risk is greater in men with obesity.
However, there is still no study that found that phytoestrogens can cause these negative effects. The pros and cons of soy milk and non-fermented soy products are still being debated among researchers. There are no clear rules regarding the maximum limit of the consumption of soy per day, which can cause these negative effects. The absence of strong study of the negative effects of soy in humans make a lot of experts set soy products, especially soy milk is still safe.
However, like other substances, excessive consumption can cause negative effects in the long term. Not recommended to consume soy milk for those of you who are allergic to nuts or people with phenylketonuria. Again, it all depends on you. You may opt to pros or cons to this soy milk.