Is Soy Good or Bad for You?

man question

Update (10/7/14):  I do not consume soy foods, because it is not good for my body.  Be careful when consuming soy foods and if you choose to eat soy foods, make sure they are fermented.  Always listen to your body.  – Evelyn Parham

I recall a time tweeting that I had Tofu Scramble for breakfast. Someone in my timeline replied “Friends don’t let friends eat tofu.” I was like what? I ignored the reply and went on about my day.

I also had a person send me a video about the dangers of soy, of which I was already knowledgeable. I ignored that too.

I have always wanted to write about soy, but I know this is a controversial topic.  I have put off writing about this topic for too long, now is the time.

It is best to find out what the research and doctors are saying about soy, because this helps you understand things better.

The Beginning of my Research

I started researching soy in 2005-2006, because of fibroid tumors. I remember taking Natto, which is a fermented form of soy. Those days, I wasn’t serious about much, just finding my way. So I ditched the Natto and moved on to something else.

I stayed away from soy like the plaque and just kept going my way. I didn’t get back into eating a plant-based diet until 2008, when I started the raw vegan diet.

I ate a raw vegan diet off and on from 2008-2010. I realized that a raw vegan diet wasn’t for me.  I leaned more towards eating a cooked vegan diet that includes some raw foods and I’m happy with that.

Vegan Diet

With any diet, you want to make sure you give your body what it needs for good health.

I began reading vegan books and in almost every vegan book that I read, they recommended soy foods as a source of protein.

If soy is toxic and bad for you why do people continue recommending it and including it in recipes? Conclusion, it is probably not all that bad.

There is Some Good

There are people out here who will persuade you not to eat any soy foods and that’s fine. You can survive on a vegan/plant-based diet without ever eating soy. But there is no reason you cannot eat traditional soy foods in small amounts, if you like.

Dr. McDougall explains it very well in a newsletter published in April of 2005, entitled Soy – Food, Wonder Drug, or Poison?  This article is very helpful and informative.  After reading this newsletter you will have a better understanding about what’s good and not so good for you.

Here’s something in the newsletter that is important to remember.

“We recommend that you use traditional soy foods, like soy milk and tofu, only as a small part of your diet, at most 5% of your daily calories. “Synthetic soy foods,” like meats, cheeses, and soy bars, should rarely, if ever be consumed.” – Dr. McDougall

If you are going to consume soy, make sure it is from a traditional source and not from a fake source.

Traditional Soy Foods

Have you ever noticed that when Asian people consume traditional soy foods, that it is in small amounts? I have and that should give you a heads up on how much soy foods you should consume.

The processing of traditional soy foods include:  grinding, precipitation, and fermentation. Resulting in most of the soy’s ingredients remaining intact. (Source)

Soy foods

  • Edamame – boiled soybeans
  • Tofu – soybean curds
  • Natto – fermented soybeans
  • Miso – fermented soybean paste
  • Yuba – by-product of soy milk
  • Kinako – soy flour
  • Soy sauce


If you consume soy foods do your best to eat the traditional forms of soy and make sure its organic, non-GMO (genetically modified organism), or make it yourself.

I’m not telling you to eat soy products, but I am saying that everything isn’t always as bad as people say.

Every time you turn around there is someone saying that a certain food is bad for you. Pretty soon there will be nothing left to eat, then what will you do?

Always do your own research and make the best decision for yourself. You know yourself and your body better than anyone, so follow your body’s lead.

Source of Information:  The McDougall Newsletter – April 2005 

Image: Danilo Rizzuti /


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About the Author

Evelyn Parham started this site in 2010. She enjoys writing, reading, and dabbling in photography and video editing. Learn more about her here.

22 Enlightened Replies

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  1. Aqiyl Henry says:

    I stay away from soy because along with corn, they are two of the genetically modified foods here in the US. I also stay away from it because of its high estrogen level.

  2. Zukidaru Ru says:

    thank you Evelyn, now there’s no doubt for me about soy, because I really like the soy milk because I think it’s very beneficial for health …

  3. cheryll says:

    i love soy! i drink soya milk because i’m lactose intolerant and i don’t want dairy products everytime i sing. so soy is best for me and i think it helps me improve my skin too 😀

  4. Samantha says:

    Soy is one of those touchy topics that almost everybody has an opinion on. Soy is heavily treated with chemicals/pesticides, which is why some say to eat organic…to eliminate those chemicals.
    When you look at the research…there are pros and cons. It can help with cancer as it acts as an estrogen, as stated in many medical studies. If you want to consume…do real research! Go to the actual published scientific studies and read the results.

    • Hi Samantha,

      I agree. People should read articles and the results from the published research. I have and it helped me a lot and others should do the same, especially if they are confused about soy or anything for that matter.

      Thanks for chiming in!


  5. Nicely presented, Evelyn.
    But why soy is toxic? What does soy contain that makes it toxic? what about the fresh soy beans, I hope they are not toxic.

    • Hi Jupitor,

      There’s a lot of information out that suggests that soy is toxic. That it messes up the hormones, thyroid and who knows what else, but this is mostly caused by soy foods that people consume that are highly processed. Some people say stay away from soy, while others say it’s okay. It is very confusing. But if we look at the Asian population who has consumed traditional soy for many, many years without any issues, then that should re-assure people that it can’t be too bad. But it does affect people differently..some people have allergies to soy.

      I don’t think fresh soy beans are toxic.

      Thanks for stopping by!


      • Steve says:

        Keep in mind that the traditional way to eat soy in Asia was fermented. Tofu is a relatively modern phenomenon. My ex-wife was advised by he urologist to avoid soy, so I started researching, and find a vast majority of studies are done by the soy industry. I have always been of the thought that just because it is natural doesn’t mean it’s good, asbestos is 100% natural (it’s a rock) and so is arsenic, I bet you don’t intentionally ingest either one. As for organic farming, be careful there also as the USDA guideline says just no artificial fertilizers, pesticides are not mentioned (why I grow my own)

      • Hi Steve,

        Thanks for sharing. This is all quite interesting. We must be careful with everything.

        I always wondered about the organic farming and I’m glad you shared that tidbit of information. I didn’t know that.

        Take care and thanks for chiming in!


  6. Michelle says:

    Great article on this. I had not really known much more about soy other than it was best to eat organic non-GMO. I didn’t even know what GMO meant!

    I don’t really eat soy except for the occasional item that has some soy in it like teriyaki sauce and soy crisps 🙂

  7. Jo says:

    Eating or not eating soy has been a hot topic for a long time. I’ve have personally been avoiding it more for its affect on the thyroid than its estrogen content. As you mentioned, as long as it is unfermented it is not so bad, as you already mentioned healthier versions of the soy..I don’t promote soy to be eaten on a regular basis, but most of the time the body can handle many things in moderation…It really depends on so much, for example, if you nourish the thyroid it will not be affected the same way by soy and so on..

    I used to came out strong about dangers of many things but realized it only makes people confused on what to do..

    • Hi Jo,

      It really is a hot topic.

      You’re right!

      I use to get so confused myself. As a result, I started doing more research about things and paying attention to how my body felt.

      Thanks for stopping by, Jo!


  8. Monqiue Koch says:

    Hey, Evelyn!
    I agree about making your own decision about soy. Many vegans tell me not to eat it based on articles they’ve read. I wouldn’t be surprised if the meat and dairy industries planted many of these stories to confuse and deter people from eating it. Now I feel like a conspiracy theorist. lol

    • Hey Monique,

      An older lady told me the same thing that you are saying. She said as long as you get organic and keep it to what I’ve mentioned you should be fine. Maybe she was on to something. 😉

      You never know.

      Thanks for chiming in!


  9. Tatianna says:

    I personally stay away from soy because it’s loaded with estrogen. I know as women we have to be careful not to overbalance the estrogen in our body.

    • Hi Tatianna,

      Soy does have phyto-estrogens and affects everyone differently. The problem is when people overdo it on this food. It’s not to be eaten in large quantities, if one chooses to consume it.

      I use to avoid soy too, but I still had hormonal issues. When I stopped consuming dairy and other animal-based foods that’s when my problems cleared up.

      Thanks for weighing in!


      • Tatianna says:

        Ohh yes the dairy will definitely throw you off balance. I cut the dairy out as well, It always made me gain weight and my stomach would always hurt. I always advice people to get rid of dairy from their diets.

      • Hey Tatianna,

        Dairy will mess you up in more ways than another.

        You’re giving people good advice. 😉