I think the bottom line is that you need to eat a balance of different foods in order to reap the benefits of the nutrients that are found in different things.
For those interested, here is some health and nutritional info on soy based foods
These facts were taken from information prepared by Mark Messina, Ph.D. , author of The Simple Soybean and Your Health.
- Soy foods and Diabetes - May slow absorption of glucose into the bloodstream. May also protect against damaging effects of glucose-induced oxidation, common in people with diabetes.
- Soy foods and Reduced Cancer Risk - Rich in phytochemicals (plant-chemicals). While not nutrients, may be important for overall health and in particular, for reducing risk of cancer.
- Soy foods and Osteoporosis - Soy protein helps conserve body calcium better than that of animal protein. Compounds in soy called isoflavones may simultaneously increase bone formation while decreasing bone breakdown.
- Soy foods and Heart Disease - Soybeans are extremely low in saturated fat and free of cholesterol. Consuming 25 grams of soy protein daily has shown to lower blood cholesterol. Beyond cholesterol reduction, soy foods may favorably affect other risk factors for heart disease (i.e, makes arteries more flexible). Therefore, soy may be helpful for everyone, not just those with high cholesterol.
- Soy foods and Breast Cancer - Animal studies have found that adding soy to the diet reduces the number of breast tumors by 25 to 50 percent. Therefore, becoming a regular soy consumer early in life may be particularly important.
- Soy foods Meet Protein Needs - Soy protein is a complete protein. It is equal in quality to animal proteins, such as that found in milk and meat. Soy has been recognized as such in the new USDA food guidelines.
- Soy foods and Kidney Health - Evidence shows the type of protein in soy foods does not affect the kidneys in the same way animal proteins do. Soy protein does not cause the kidneys to work as hard as they must to break down animal protein. In susceptible individuals, substituting soy protein for animal protein may reduce the risk of developing kidney disease.
- Soy foods and Prostate Cancer - Studies indicate soy components may delay onset of tumor growth and decrease size of tumors present. As little as one serving of soy foods a day (ex: one cup soy milk or 1/2 cup tofu) may be enough to reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer.
- Soy foods as Part of a Healthy Diet - Making soy a part of the diet is one of the best defenses against disease.
Soy nuts (dry roasted), 1/2 cup (86g)
Total Fat: 18.6g
*Excellent source of: Folate
(0.65mg), and Thiamine
*Foods that are an “excellent source” of a particular nutrient provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value, based upon United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines. Foods that are a “good source” of a particular nutrient provide between 10 and 20% of the USDA Recommended Daily Value. Nutritional information and daily nutritional guidelines may vary in different countries. Please consult the appropriate organization in your country for specific nutritional values and the recommended daily guidelines.
Health Benefits & Concerns for Soy Foods
An analysis of many trials has proven that soy reduces both total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Trials showing significant reductions in cholesterol have generally used more than 30 grams per day of soy protein
; if soy protein replaces animal protein in the diet, as little as 20 grams per day may reduce both total and LDL cholesterol. Isoflavones found in soybeans appear to be a key cholesterol-lowering ingredient. While the cholesterol-lowering effect of soy protein or soy isoflavones is inconsistent in people with normal cholesterol levels, the effect of soy protein in people with high cholesterol is consistently beneficial.
Soybeans contain compounds called phytoestrogens, which are related in structure to estrogen; research has yet to determine the extent to which these or other compounds in soybeans are responsible for soy’s effect in both premenopausal and menopausal women. Soy is known to affect the menstrual cycle in premenopausal women, and societies with high consumption of soy products have been linked to a low incidence of hot flashes during menopause.
Doctors often recommend that women experiencing menopausal symptoms eat tofu
, soy milk
, roasted soy nuts
, and other soy-based sources of phytoestrogens. Soy sauce
and many processed foods made from soybean concentrates have low levels of phytoestrogens.
The commonly held belief that consuming soybeans or isoflavones such as genistein will protect against breast cancer is far from proven.
While Asian countries in which people consume high amounts of soy generally have a low incidence of breast cancer, the dietary habits in these countries are so different from diets in high-risk countries that attributing protection from breast cancer specifically to soy foods is premature. Similarly, women who frequently consume tofu have been reported to be at low risk of breast cancer. However researchers acknowledge that consumption of tofu might only be a marker for other dietary or lifestyle factors that are responsible for protection against breast cancer.
Some studies suggest that consuming soybeans in childhood—but not adulthood—may ultimately be proven to have a protective effect. Still other studies suggest that consuming soy might, under some circumstances, increase
the risk of breast cancer.
Scientists who remain hopeful about the potential for soy to protect against breast cancer under some circumstances recommend consumption of foods made from soy (such as tofu)—as opposed to taking isoflavone supplements. Several substances in soybeans other than isoflavones have shown anticancer activity in preliminary research.
Genistein is an isoflavone found in soybeans and many soy foods
, such as tofu, soy milk, and some soy protein powders. Some research has shown that genistein inhibits growth of prostate cancer cells, helps kill these cells, and has other known anticancer actions.
Some researchers believe that genistein may eventually be a potential treatment for prostate cancer; others are more conservative, saying only that enough evidence exists to recommend that future genistein research be devoted to prostate cancer prevention. Doctors remain hopeful that soy-based foods containing genistein and related isoflavones may eventually be proven to help protect against prostate cancer.
Fibrocystic breast disease
Fibrocystic disease has been linked to excess estrogen. When people with fibrocystic disease are put on a low-fat diet
, their estrogen levels decrease; after three to six months, the pain and lumpiness also decrease. The link between fat and symptoms appears to be most strongly related to saturated fat. Foods high in saturated fat include meat
and dairy products
, nonfat dairy, and tofu are possible replacements.
may be beneficial in preventing osteoporosis. Isoflavones from soy have protected against bone loss in animal studies. In one trial involving postmenopausal women, supplementation with 40 grams of soy protein powder (containing 90 mg of isoflavones) per day protected against bone mineral loss in the spine. And many trials show that a synthetic isoflavone, ipriflavone
, reduces the incidence of osteoporotic bone fractures. Although the use of soy in the prevention of osteoporosis looks hopeful, no long-term human studies have examined the effects of soy or soy-derived isoflavones on bone density or fracture risk.