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Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Loving on Some Soy

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SoyWhat do you think of when you think of soy?  Tofu?  Soy milk?  Edamame?  Are you turning up your nose in disgust or reading on with excitement because you love soy?  You don’t have to be a vegetarian to eat soy.  In Asian countries tofu is often served alongside meat and of course sometimes in place of it.   

April is National Soy Foods Month so what better time to starting talking all things soy? You probably don’t even realize that there are a ton of soy options--beyond tofu! From soy bars to soy yogurts to soy burgers, there is a tasty soy food option to fit into your active lifestyle. Some of my favorite soy food products include:

  • Edamame
  • SoyJoy Bars (completely addicted to these--love them)
  • Morning Star Veggie Burgers (my fave is Tomato & Basil flavor)
  • Meat Alternatives: from soy sausage to pepperoni to faux chicken and ribs
  • Tofu:  extra firm for stir fry, silken for desserts, pudding, and smoothies
  • Tempeh (a patty of fermented soybeans)
  • Soy Milk
  • Soy Yogurt
  • Soy Nuts

 

Worried about some of the media hype you’ve heard about soy foods? Let me clear up some of these myths for you so you have a clear conscious to enjoy soy.

 

  • Soyfoods are safe for those at risk for breast cancer: Research shows that women who are at risk of developing breast cancer, or who are breast cancer survivors, can safely consume moderate amounts of soy foods.  No human trials exist to suggest a link between eating soy foods and tumor growth. A growing body of research suggests that eating a healthful diet that includes soy foods, especially beginning in childhood and adolescence, may protect against breast cancer later in life.

 

  • Men can safely consume soy: Males can enjoy soy without worry; a large review of the available research on the effect of soy consumption on testosterone levels and other reproductive hormones concluded that neither soy protein nor soy isoflavones affect reproductive hormone concentrations.

 

  • Soy does not contain estrogen: Although soy isoflavones, also known as phytoestrogens, have a similar structure to human estrogens, they act very differently in the human body and are significantly weaker (about 1000th the strength) than human estrogens. In fact, soy isoflavones may contribute to the protective health benefits associated with a diet rich in soyfoods.
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Tags: Healthy Eating , Nutrition Trends

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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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