The Myths and Facts About Soy Milk

I stop by Starbucks every now and then for my morning coffee. The other day I noticed they’d put some pamphlets on the checkout counter about how good their soy milk is for you. I’d like to share my thoughts on this.

Many people think of soy milk as a healthy milk substitute – including a lot of my clients – and I doubt Starbucks means its customers any harm. But you shouldn’t drink it.

Soy milk is bad for you. Not just the brand Starbucks uses. Any brand. It’s an unnatural byproduct of soy that your body can’t digest.

If you were to eat unprocessed soy, it would cause cramping, nausea and more serious health problems.

Here are a few of the pamphlet’s false claims about soy milk (and the truth about them):

Claim: “In countries where soy is a dietary staple, such as China and Indonesia, soy consumption has been linked to a reduced risk of certain chronic diseases.”

Fact: This is only half-true. The soybean itself is inedible. It contains toxins meant to ward off insect predators. These include:

* anti-nutrients that prevent your body from absorbing essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc.

* enzyme inhibitors that make it harder for your body to absorb protein.

(Both of these substances can give you abdominal pain, gas, nausea, cramps and other gastrointestinal problems.)

* hemagglutinin, a substance that promotes blood clots.

* goitrogens, which cause gout and thyroid problems.

Societies that depend heavily on soy-based foods use traditional preparation methods thousands of years old that neutralize or eliminate these poisons.

Tempeh, miso, natto and soy sauce are fermented products. The fermentation process destroys the toxins. Tofu comes from the pressed “curds” of the soybean. The rest is thrown out – and the bad stuff along with it.

Compare this with the industrial processes that go into making soy milk: washing the beans in alkaline or boiling them in a petroleum-based solvent; bleaching, deodorizing and pumping them full of additives; heat-blasting and crushing them into flakes; and then mixing them with water to make “milk.”

This only adds more dangerous chemicals without removing any of soy’s natural toxins. This is NOT a “dietary staple” in China, Indonesia, or any other country. And it shouldn’t be here, either.

Claim: “Also, interest in soy is rising because scientists have discovered that a soy component called isoflavone appears to reduce the risk of certain diseases.”

Fact: The opposite is true. Recent science suggests soy “isoflavones” are dangerous to your health.

Isoflavone isn’t actually a single substance, but a category of substances. Isoflavones include “phyto-estrogens,” plant-based compounds that mimic the female hormone. Eat enough of these and you’ll upset your body’s hormonal balance.

The young are especially vulnerable: research published just last year found that soy-based phyto-estrogens can cause “precocious puberty.” The study focused on a four-and-a-half year old girl who had developed breasts because her parents fed her too much soy formula.

Clinical research also links two of these phyto-estrogens, genistein and daidzein, to childhood leukemia and breast cancer.

Stick with a little milk or half-and-half in your coffee. It would be great if Starbucks offered organic dairy. That would be truly healthy. Keep some on hand at home and in the office if you have access to a refrigerator (and if you tolerate it). Better yet, switch to green tea.

As for soy products, the traditional fermented soy foods like tempeh, miso and soy sauces are safe and healthy. (Again, go organic if you can.)

To Better Health!


Written by Reed Davis, CN, Contributor to Holistic Nutrition on


Jan S
Jan S2 days ago

Thank you

Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne Rabout a year ago


Christel K.
Christel K2 years ago

Thanks that somebody finally tells the true story about soy. Soy is NOT good for you!

Sharon Stein
Sharon Stein2 years ago

AMEN., Sadly soya's in almost EVERYTHING!.....

Carla P.
Carla P2 years ago

Links to the studies your basing your opinions on, please.

Chazz York
Chazz York2 years ago

Good question Rosalinda.. Personally I think soy milk is good for us. I think it far more healthy for us than cow's milk. I also think beans are quite good for us. I am glad to see that I am not alone in that one.

Rosalinda Munoz
Rosalinda Munoz2 years ago

I would like to know where this theory comes from and in which studies this is based on?
I would love to know where this originated from that soy milk is that bad, therefore beans are also bad for us?

Rosalinda Munoz
Rosalinda Munoz2 years ago

I would like to know where this theory comes from and in which studies this is based on?
I would love to know where this originated from that soy milk is that bad, therefore beans are also bad for us?

Chazz York
Chazz York3 years ago

Sure there are Elizabeth. There is also Almond Milk, Rice Milk, Oat Milk, Cashew Milk, and many other types. All taste great and are perfectly great for replacing Cows Milk. In all honesty Soy Milk is not an unhealthy drink at all. It is cooked and the heat takes care of the unhealthy parts that are mentioned. Think about it this way, In the orients where Soy Milk is sold far more readily sold and used or consumed for more commonly than Dairy Milk, there are no higher instances of illnesses which are stated as linked to soy usage. It would be rather hard to go into any stores in the orients without finding soy milk rather abundant for customers. Not only that, the soy when used to produce insecticides are modified so that the hormone which detours the desire for breeding is extracted and used for the insecticide. The insects stop reproducing and die off when it's lifespan is spent. The same plant hormone used for the insecticide has been found to have no effect on mammals or humans either one. Some will claim that soy milk sold in stores is raw.. NO it is NOT.. It is heated to the proper temperature to kill off the unhealthy substances. Sometimes it is really important to search for information that is truly independent, rather than following the information produced by soy or dairy proponents either one.

elizabeth osborne
Elizabeth o3 years ago

But what about those who of us who are lactose intolerant? Is there even a good option to replace cow's milk?