So what's the deal? Here's what you should know about the pros and cons of eating soy.
One of the biggest benefits of eating soy is that it can replace foods that may compromise your health, says Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Spokesperson Vandana Sheth, RDN, CDE. "If we are talking about soy in its whole form such as edamame, tofu and whole soy milk, then it is healthier than meat in the sense that soy provides an excellent source of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals — without the cholesterol and saturated fat found in meat," she says.
But Is Soy Really a Superfood?
Aside from the idea that eating more soy might lead you to eat less meat, there's not much evidence that soy itself produces health benefits.
The Darker Side of Soy
There have even been cases where women have eaten so much soy (think: 60 grams a day for a month) that they've temporarily shut down their menstrual cycle, Patisaul says. "The developing brain is also very sensitive to estrogen, as is the mammary gland and the heart," she notes.
So should you give up soy for good? Not necessarily. Eating some soy can be a healthy way to cut back on meat while still making sure you're eating enough protein. But too much of a good thing has the potential to take its toll on your hormones and your health. "For healthy adults, I think about soy the way I think about things like sugar, alcohol and caffeine," says Patisaul. "Moderation is key."
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