Soy. Plant-based Protein. Yea or Nay?

Yea or Nay? Let’s get the small matter of its name out of the way first. Soybean (US) or soyabean (Europe)? For the sake of simplicity, we shall just refer to it as soy.
Soy has been consumed for thousands of years, so one would think we should know all about it by now. Not so though. Studies of the effects of soy on the human body have presented conflicting results. On one side, the naysayers fear that it may cause gout, thyroid problems, and even breast cancer. On the other, there are reports and articles showing that it has no effect on gout, is effective in combating osteoporosis and also protects against breast and prostate cancer. Talk about extremes.



You would have probably at some point eaten soy or foods containing soy. From its minimally processed forms – such as edamame, tofu, tempeh, miso paste, soy sauce and soy milk – to baked goods, snacks, cooking oil, meat replacements and anything in between. We just can’t resist those crispy tau kee. Hey. It’s protein-rich. If you’ve recently decided to go plant-based, soy is most likely your new best friend.

Is Soy a Superfood?

In general, soy products are:

  • good source of complete protein – meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids.
  • good source of calcuim
  • rich in B9(folate) and K.
  • high in fibre
  • high in protein
  • low in carbohydrates
  • low in saturated fat as compared to meat
  • cholesterol free
  • lactose free
  • a good source of omega-3 fatty acids
  • a source of antioxidants
  • the nutritional equivalent of meat and eggs (great for those who follow a plant-based diet)
  • high in phytoestrogens.


Some benefits that elevate it to superfood level:

  • may reduce cancer risk. Multiple studies have associated soy with a reduced risk of breast and prostate cancer
  • may lower blood sugar levels
  • may lower blood pressure
  • may help lower cholesterol levels
  • fights against osteoporosis in menopausal and post-menopausal women


Here’s a comparison of the nutrient content of several popular options, per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) portion.

The nutrient content of soy products
Nutrients in Soy products healthline


Reservations about soy is partly due to the fact that it contains a high concentration of isoflavones, (phytoestrogen) and their effect on our bodies. While whole soy does contain phytoestrogen, they’re much milder than actual human hormones, so we don’t need to worry about hormones overload, according to Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN, a Chicago-based dietitian. Most of the side effects of isoflavones are associated with long-term use of supplements and not from dietary sources such as soy products.

Yay! it’s a yea for us.