Confused about Soy?

Confused about Soy?

It seems like everyone is confused about soy.  You can find just as many benefits as you can side effects.  Do a google search and you will literally find content claiming soy lowers cholesterol levels but can also cause issues with reproductive health.

With more and more people experimenting with a plant-based diet, there is a lot of attention (and confusion) on what to eat.

And what not to eat.

Soy has gotten a bad rap lately but when you ask why, not many people know the answer or understand the explanation.  I am going to try and break it down for you.

According to, soy provides all of the amino acids that a human needs and almost all other plant foods fail to meet those protein requirements.  The article continues to explain that consumption by Asians has shown lower heart disease and cancer, compared to levels in the West.  She attributes the discrepancy when compared to the West to the confusion with soy protein isolate (SPI) which is found in many high protein plant based products like nutrition bars, meat alternatives and protein powders.  The problem is that SPI is processed, extracted, filled with pesticides, not a whole food and may likely be genetically modified soy.


Soybeans represent the richest source of isoflavones, plant derived compound that interacts with estrogen receptors and has been linked to reducing menopause symptoms as compared to hormone replacement therapies which can pose some risks  like blood clots, stroke, breast or uterine cancer.  Soy and menopause also have some mixed results, largely due to ones capacity to breakdown the nutrients.

The Verdict

There doesn’t seem to be a strong case for either supporting or avoiding soy.  It’s likely the asian communities that show reduced cholesterol and cancer rates are also avoiding highly processed and packaged food.

Here are some general tips for soy consumption:

1) Everything in moderation.  It’s best to have a balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains.  We don’t thrive off of eating one type of food only, so mix up your dishes and remember to eat the rainbow!

2) If you do eat soy, choose only natural, non-GMO (genetically modified organism) options.

3) Pay attention to how you feel after eating soy products. If you don’t feel good (physically or mentally) it’s not worth it and there are other ways to incorporate plant based protein in your diet.

4) Get regular check ups and talk to your medical professional about specific issues and all the alternatives available. Consider a holistic or integrative practitioner for even more expertise.

Jenn Bodnar

Jenn Bodnar is the owner of  Yoga Digest and has a genuine belief that yoga can benefit everyone. She is 500ERYT having attended multiple teacher trainings, facilitating yoga teacher trainings and studying and practicing yoga since 1999. Jenn is an avid fitness professional, who has taught and managed group fitness for many years. As a former competitive triathlete, gymnast and dancer Jenn loves the balance of strength, flexibility, perseverance and freedom that yoga provides. She is mom to three awesome young men and loves being active and outdoors with her family and friends. Jenn oversees LifePower Yoga studio in North Dallas, is a self proclaimed health food chef and hopes to leave a positive footprint by inspiring others to choose happiness. “Watching people grow through yoga is one of the most amazing miracles to witness.”