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Question:

Is soy milk good for you? — Norman, RI

Christine Palumbo

Answer:

Soymilk is the extracted liquid made from ground whole soybeans and water and it can be quite healthful. It does not have naturally occurring calcium but must be fortified with it. It comes full fat or low fat. There are no current standards of identity for soymilk; so the amounts of protein and isoflavones vary greatly. Isoflavones are are phytoestrogens or weak estrogen-like substances made from plants. These plant compounds, known broadly as phytochemicals, are under intense scrutiny these days as scientists try to understand their nutritional value and their possible disease-fighting role. You can read more about soy in our Foods in the News article.

The level of protein (4-10 grams per 8 ounces) is listed on the Nutrition Facts label, but the amount of isoflavones is not required to appear. The low fat soymilks generally have less protein and few isoflavones, so in this case, the higher fat milk is a better choice.

Another desirable component of soy, genestein, is low in low fat soy milk. Look for full fat soy milk that's fortified with calcium for the most nutrition.

About Christine Palumbo


Christine Palumbo, MBA, RD has been a nutrition communications consultant since 1989, providing dietary counsel and analysis on various nutrition, health and weight management topics to corporate clients and news media outlets nationwide. An active member of the American Dietetic Association (ADA), the Illinois Dietetic Association, Chicago Dietetic Association for more than twenty years, she has served on a variety of boards and practice group committees within those organizations. In 1981 and 1982, Palumbo was honored by the Chicago Dietetic Association and the Illinois Dietetic Association, respectively, as the Recognized Young Dietician of the Year.

Palumbo has been featured as the expert speaker in numerous national health panels and has published many articles and pamphlets regarding nutrition and healthcare. She has been featured in national women's, health and business magazines, daily newspapers and local and national radio programs. Palumbo has also appeared on numerous local and national TV news programs, including a segment on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 1997 on the health benefits of drinking water.  


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