Soy milk: good or bad? The best dairy alternative?

The VITL Nutrition Team / 12 Feb 2018

And we also want to know if soy milk is actually just regular milk introducing itself in Spanish?


A new study has been published claiming that nutritionally speaking, soy milk is the best dairy alternative. The study claims soy has the most 'balanced nutritional profile', however, it also states that one main drawback of this option is the presence of 'anti-nutrients'; substances that reduce nutrient intake and digestion. 

So, is soy milk good or bad? VITL's in-house Nutritionist, Kathryn Fielding weighs in...

Soy milk comes from processing soybeans and is an alternative for those with a lactose intolerance, however, did you know that there is a strong correlation between having a lactose and soy intolerance?

The main concern surrounding soy is the fact that it is a primary source of phytoestrogens called isoflavones, which are structurally similar to estrogen.

Soy isoflavones have weak estrogenic effects, meaning they mimic the effect of estrogen. Some experts are concerned about the use of soy in women with a high risk of breast cancer because increased estrogen can increase this risk. Some evidence has also shown that soy might increase breast cell proliferation in healthy women. On the other hand, some preclinical studies show soy might have a protective effect against breast cancer. So the jury is still out! But as there is an insufficient amount of reliable information about the effects of soy in patients with breast cancer, or with a history of breast cancer, soy should be consumed with caution. 

Additionally, soy may also worsen hypothyroidism by inhibiting thyroid hormone synthesis, resulting in an increased secretion of TSH. However, this may only occur in some post-menopausal women.

Which dairy alternative milk should we be having?

As rice milk has a high carbohydrate content and coconut milk is high in saturated fat (which is fine, so long as you don’t consume excessive amounts), we 're fans of unsweetened almond milk. Almond milk is a source of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) which are known to protect us against heart disease and to help increase insulin sensitivity, which helps to control blood sugar levels.