I've read things that say soy is worse than smoking 4 packs of cigarettes a day, drinking a quart of vodka, and eating nothing but ding dongs, BUT I've also read things that say that that's BS and soy is one of the best things you can eat, and is good especially for post menopausal women. Anyone really KNOW what the deal is? is it good or bad? Does anyone know conclusively? For me personally, I've always been vegetable/fruit oriented (I was 7 and LOVEd brussel sprouts) and didn't like meat/milk as much (cept for cheese), so to me it makes sense when I hear that we are the only mammals who drink milk after we've been weened, and from another animal as well. And sometimes I just don't like eating an animal. It gives me the heebeejeebees. So anyone have a clue why soy is bad/good?
There is a lot out there pro and con soy, so one just has to sift through it and decide what feels best for them.
Personally, I am sticking to miso, tempeh, tofu - the fermented soy products (though some argue that tofu is not fermented); and switching to rice milk and rice cheese. Also, I don't eat soy every day.
A meta-analysis of 38 controlled clinical trials concluded that soy protein consumption (average intake, 47 g/day) was associated with an average reduction of 9% in total cholesterol, 13% in LDL cholesterol, and 10% in triglycerides, with no change in high-density-lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. In a randomized, double-blind trial, soy protein (56 or 90 mg of isoflavones per day) was substituted for animal protein in the diet of 66 postmenopausal women with hyperlipidemia.[8,9] Non-HDL cholesterol was reduced 7%, a significant change, and HDL cholesterol increased 3-5%. No significant effect on total cholesterol or triglycerides was seen. A randomized crossover study in 26 men with and without hyperlipidemia found that soy protein (isoflavone content not specified) substituted for animal protein significantly reduced LDL cholesterol levels by 6% in both groups. No significant difference in total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, or triglycerides was noted. Significant reductions in total cholesterol (6%) and LDL cholesterol (7%) were observed in 51 perimenopausal women randomized in double-blind fashion to receive either a soy protein supplement (34 mg of phytoestrogens given once daily or in divided doses twice daily) or placebo and then crossed over to the other treatment. Triglycerides and HDL cholesterol were not significantly affected. Crouse et al. conducted a randomized, double-blind study in which soy protein supplements providing 37 or 62 mg of isoflavones per day significantly reduced total cholesterol (4-8%) and LDL cholesterol (6-8%) in 156 healthy men and women. Triglycerides and HDL cholesterol were not affected. Soy protein may protect against cardiovascular disease by means other than cholesterol reduction. Most studies have not demonstrated a clinically significant antihypertensive effect of soy consumption. However, one study did note a significant, 5-mm Hg decrease in diastolic blood pressure in normotensive perimenopausal women given a soy protein supplement twice daily (a total of 34 mg of phytoestrogens per day). Animal and in vitro studies suggest that soy isoflavones slow the progression of atherosclerotic plaques and may alter cellular processes involved in lesion development.[3,13,14] In a small, placebo- controlled crossover study in 21 women, soy isoflavones 80 mg/day improved systemic arterial compliance (elasticity) by 26% compared with placebo. Another study, in which isoflavones derived from red clover were given to 17 women, produced similar results. Soy protein may also protect LDL cholesterol from oxidation.[3,17,18] To date, no studies have evaluated the effects of soy protein or isoflavones on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.<<<<
I think for something to be considered heart healthy there has to be enough evidence that the food/nutrient plays a significant role in reducing or eliminating a risk factor for heart disease. In this case, there seems to be enough to implicate soy in reducing LDL levels.
As a personal side note, I replaced cow's milk with soy milk a few years ago, as well as consuming several other soy products (i am a vegetarian). Personally, I would rather consume soy milk than the milk they produce in this country (unless I buy only organic but it is outrageously expensive and spoils quickly). However, I do agree that the use of pesticides and GMOs raises is cause for concern. To eliminate those potential problems would require growing much of your own food and buying only 100% organic (if that even exists).
Thanks for the links. I'm still confused, (sorry there's just way too much to read through about soy) but I'm drinking rice milk. If rice milk has calcium in it, is it as healthy as milk? Is it an equal replacement?