Soy milk is the most purchased milk substitute on the market. The 2017 Australian market research report claimed revenue of $158.3 million dollars for milk alternatives in that year. With a current growth rate of 4.8% over the last 5 years, this amount will continue unless we take action. The industry claimed that the biggest threat to sales was the rising growth in health consciousness.
In the spirit of increased awareness let me explain why I am against soy as a milk substitute for the general population. In the spirit of full disclosure; yes I did used to drink soy milk myself and loved it!
Soy beans have the highest rate of GMO production in the world, an incredible 90% of them. The beans were modified to resist the effects of pest control products such as glyphosate use, thereby increasing their exposure to pesticides. Soy beans in this form cause imbalances in our gut bacteria and contribute to leaky gut.
Soy beans contain phytoestrogens which means that they mimic the effects of oestrogen in our bodies increasing our levels. In Men this can present as evidence of female characteristics, and in women excess oestrogen levels have been linked to uterine fibroids, ovarian cancer and breast cancer.
To make the product feel and taste more like milk the products contain many additives with negative side effects for gut health, and your health in general.
I reviewed the top selling brands on the supermarket shelves (Sanitarium, Vitasoy, Australia’s Own & Aldi’s Inner Goodness) and discovered a number of concerning ingredients. Here is what I found:
Maltodextrin – It has two uses, as an artificial sweetener and a thickener. Usually made from genetically modified corn or wheat it can have some detrimental side effects such as bloating, vomiting, upset stomach and diarrhoea.
Corn Oil – Like soy beans an amazing 90% of corn is grown from genetically modified seeds and therefore has a high exposure to pesticides. The oil also has a high omega 6 content which makes it highly inflammatory for the body.
Carageenan – Used as a thickener and an emulsifier it has absolutely no nutritional benefits. Studies have shown that it can severely damage the sensitive epithelial cells that line your digestive system and even cause cell death. It has been found to cause IBS, IBD, food intolerances and even colon cancer. The side effects include inflammation, gastric ulcers, bloating and diarrhoea.
Additive 460. Banned in some countries, this is an anticaking agent and thickener, commonly found in grated cheese. Genetically modified it is fermented in the large intestine causing bloating, constipation and diarrhoea.
Additive 466. A thickener and emulsifier derived from genetically modified cotton. Also fermented in the large intestine it has been shown to aggravate food intolerances, is also a suspected carcinogen it is linked to cancer. Causes diarrhoea, vomiting, intestinal obstruction, flatulence and constipation.
Additive 340. Banned in Europe, it should not be consumed by anyone with bowel, liver, kidney or heart disease. Side effects include bloating, diarrhoea, dizziness and headaches.
Additive 331. Genetically engineered, it should not be consumed by anyone with food intolerances. May cause black, tarry stools.
Additive 450. Aggravates food intolerances and has been linked to kidney stones.
Additive 509. Banned in some countries it can cause intestinal ulcerations, haemorrhage, gastric ulceration, nausea and vomiting.
Additive 504. Used as a laxative it is not recommended for people suffering from diarrhoea.
If you have low oestrogen, or you still wish to consume soy milk then there are two brands that are free from detrimental additives. My number one choice is Pure Harvest Organic Soy (made in Australia), closely followed by Bonsoy Organic Soy (made in Japan).
Alternatively consider Coconut Milk, Almond milk or even Camel Milk none of which contain lactose. Always, always check the labels and do your research before purchasing.