vegan muse

What’s Wrong With Soy Milk?

with 9 comments

Can soy milk be hazardous to your health? Robert Cohen, also known as the ‘Not Milk Man‘ of, thinks so and has provided us with a thorough response. For those of you unfamiliar with Cohen, he is the founder and executive director of the U.S. Dairy Education Board, which works to dispel the myth that milk is a perfect food.

Cohen’s response can be read here.

An excerpt from Cohen’s article:

“Do methanol, ethanol, and formaldehyde do your body any good? Do preservatives preserve health, or do they merely preserve enormous profits gained by manufacturers at the expense of your health?”

This is a must read for anybody currently consuming or thinking of introducing soy milk into their diet. Also, it is important to note that I have chosen not to discuss the environmental impact of soy cultivation but will do so in a future post.

Man cannot pretend to be higher in ethics, spirituality, advancement, or civilization than other creatures, and at the same time live by lower standards than the vulture or hyena.” – Jay Dinshah (1933 – 2000)

Be Well.

The following is in response to the comments left.

So now we find out that many of the processed soy products are not as healthy as once thought. No surprise here, right? I understand the frustrations when it comes to the ‘health industry’ as I too have been frustrated on several occasions. This is why it’s extremely important to perform exhaustive research. In reality though, who has the time? There comes a point when you simply must put your trust in knowledgeable people, those that embody the very definition of health and healthful living. John McDougall, M.D. and John Robbins are two such people.

I encourage you to read the following articles: ‘What About Soy?’, by Robbins, and ‘Soy – Food, Wonder Drug, or Poison?’, by McDougall. Both are extremely informative.

I will mainly reference Robbins article here as there is a slight time constraint placed upon me this morning. Please read the above two articles for completeness. This is your health we’re talking about!

In the ‘What About Soy?’ article, Robbins lists a nutritional comparison between cow’s milk and soy milk that I would like to share with you.

–> Cow’s milk provides more than nine times as much saturated fat as soy beverages, so is far more likely to contribute to heart disease.

–> Soy beverages provide more than 10 times as much essential fatty acids as cow’s milk, and so provide a far healthier quality of fat.

–> Soy beverages are cholesterol-free, while cow’s milk contains 34 mg of cholesterol per cup, which again means that cow’s milk is far worse for your heart and cardiovascular system.

–> Soy beverages lower both total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, while cow’s milk raises both total and LDL cholesterol levels, providing yet more reasons soymilk is better for your health.

–> Soy beverages contain numerous protective phytochemicals that may protect against chronic diseases such as heart disease and osteoporosis. Cow’s milk contains no phytochemicals.

–> Men who consume one to two servings of soymilk per day are 70 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer than men who don’t.

Soybeans, in their whole form, are complete proteins. This means that they contain all of the essential amino acids that are required for biological processes such as muscle repair and creation, as well as for skin, hair and nail growth and repair. Robbins writes, “One of the most recent, and most disturbing, stems from the fact that two-thirds of the U.S. soybean crop today is genetically engineered. These are beans that have been genetically altered to enable the growing plants to withstand being sprayed with weed killers, particularly Monsanto’s Roundup.” I’m sure most of you already know this.

Robbins concludes his article by saying, “There are legitimate questions about certain soy foods, and much we have yet to learn. Becoming soy-a-holics and automatically downing anything made from soybeans is not the road to health, but neither is shunning and stigmatizing soy foods. The anti-soy crusade has needlessly frightened many away from a food source that has long been a boon to humankind, a food source that can, if we are respectful of our bodies and of nature, nourish and bless us in countless ways.” I agree with Robbins. The important thing to remember here is that “… genetically engineered beans have more of the very things that are problematic, and less of the very things that are beneficial. This is yet another reason to eat organic foods. The best way to insure that any soy foods you eat are not genetically engineered is if they are organically grown.” Support the organic movement! As more and more people support organic farmers, the cost for their products will decrease – supply and demand.

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.” – John McDougall, M.D.


Written by Ethan Handur

November 4, 2007 at 15:39

9 Responses

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  1. You know, when you look at the nutritional facts of soybeans, they don’t really give you much of anything. Even pumpkin seeds have more vitamins than them. If you want to be vegan/vegetarian, why bother drinking or eating a “substitute” for the really thing, just because you don’t want to eat/drink a real animal product. They put so much crap in vegetarian burgers, cheese, milk, etc., to make them taste like the real thing that it’s probably better and healthier just to eat the real thing or not eat any of it at all.


    November 5, 2007 at 14:00

  2. Interesting.


    November 5, 2007 at 14:49

  3. I think you’re doing soymilk and your readers a disservice by only citing part of the article and no link to the rest of it. In Cohen’s article he says soymilk that is not made from whole soybeans is bad, not all soymilk. Also, I don’t know how much trust I’d put in that article, as he says people should make their own soymilk and then he advertises a soymilk maker with a phone number surprisingly similar to his Web site’s name.


    November 5, 2007 at 17:11

  4. Sorry, you did provide a link.


    November 5, 2007 at 17:11

  5. It would be interesting to read the research study they did about soymilk lowering the chance of prostate cancer by 70%. I really doubt that statement. Soy is not a miracle product. In fact, there are probably just as many if not more nutrients and proteins in hemp seeds and others, for example. Robbins article does not provide any references or citations, but McDougall’s does. The latter does offer quite a bit of really good information.

    And milk is really not that bad. I’m not talking about the milk being produced today in agro-farms. I’m talking about more or less organic milk, grown on regular farms, from cows that are not constantly pregnant, see the light of day, and are free to roam around. The regular milk you buy in stores is truly poisonous, not just because of the added hormones, but also the antibiotics, which increase resistance in bacteria.

    People have been drinking milk for thousands of years. The problems we have now are due to our inactivity. We still eat like we worked in a field 14 hours a day. Being a vegetarian is probably a lot healthier today, mainly because you don’t get as many calories from veggies that you get from meat. But you still have to make sure you’re getting all of your vitamins, like B12, and that the food you eat isn’t genetically modified to make its own pesticides.


    November 6, 2007 at 13:30

  6. The three leading killers in the West — coronary heart disease, stroke and cancer. This is fact. With respect to cancer, prostate cancer in particular, supporting material can be found in Robbins’ 2001 book entitled ‘The Food Revolution’. Since I do not personally own a copy of the aforementioned book, it’s somewhat difficult to supply exact references. What I currently can do is encourage you to visit your local library in search for his book. I believe he discuss cancer in Chapter 3, with all of the appropriate references present. It’s unfortunate that he choose not to list them on his website. I will borrow his book again (when it becomes available) and list the references on my website for completeness.

    As for Dr. McDougall, his knowledge and ability to relay that knowledge to the lay person are definite strengths of his. A well respected man, to say the least.

    Milk is really that bad. I would once again refer anybody to Robert Cohen’s ‘’ website for literary support, as one of many references.

    You do make some good points, one of them being that the milk sold in most stores is poisonous. As a species, we were never meant to drink cow’s milk. Really think about it. Doesn’t the thought of it completely gross you out? You are drinking a fluid from an animal that was intended for its offspring and its offspring alone. I have a feeling we could argue this to no end, but what it comes down to is yet another example of how human animals exploit non-human animals. This being a website about veganism, you surely expected such a stance (I would hope) :) There is a plethora of unbiased material in circulation that refutes the argument put forth by the dairy industry regarding the consumption of cow’s milk, even if saturated in anthropocentrism.

    Just because we’ve been drinking cow’s milk, as a species, for thousands of years doesn’t make it right. I could offer you examples of this thinking but have decided it probably is best to leave it at that as my reasoning lies on a foundation of compassion (ahimsa).

    I would like to say that your thoughts on how our society differs from past generations made for an enjoyable read. For the most part, I agree with you, namely “We still eat like we worked in a field 14 hours a day.” This, I believe, is simply a product of general industrialization. The path of least resistance if you will. Fast food restaurants are a prime example of this. You ended your comment by stating, “But you still have to make sure you’re getting all of your vitamins, like B12, and that the food you eat isn’t genetically modified to make its own pesticides.” I really enjoyed that thought.

    Thank you once again for your comments, dianarn.

    Be Well.

    Ethan Handur

    November 6, 2007 at 20:00

  7. Hehe, you’re right. Just look at nature… do you see any mammal drinking milk once it has become an adult? Milk is an elixir that contains growth hormones, vitamins, proteins, etc…. everything a baby needs to grow and develop. Humans are the only ones that continue to drink milk well after they have become adults. Maybe that’s one of the reason why girls in the USA begin puberty so much earlier than the girls anywhere else in the world. People in other countries drink milk, too, but it’s only here that we have such an abundant supply of it, chock full of added hormones given to cows to make them bigger & produce even more milk.

    I guess I’ve always known this, and that’s why I buy organic. It really is hard to break 23 years of conditioning… milk and cookies still sound good to me. And cheese. :)

    I should probably start trying harder to “wean” myself from it. But still no soymilk for me. You know, maybe that’s why people have created soymilk. They don’t want to drink real milk, but they still want their milk & cookies and cereal.


    November 7, 2007 at 2:47

  8. A mother’s breast milk contains everything a baby requires to grow and develop in the early stages. The argument here may centre on a question such as ‘what if a woman couldn’t produce enough breast milk to support her child?’ I believe such a problem could be remedied by nursing and/or increasing the pumping sessions but I’m far from becoming an expert on human breast feeding.

    The major problem here though is that the majority of the population is riddled with toxins that have made a home in their bodies. When a mother, who most likely would be full of these toxins, becomes impregnated, a process begins whereby all of the accumulated garbage, for lack of a better word, residing in her is transferred to her child. Upon delivery, the child is a product, in part, of that unhealthy nature – not as healthy as many believe because they have been the continuous receiver of disease for a lengthy period of time (up to 9 months). We can now imagine the effects this would have on a child when continuing to supply the disease(s) with different strains; one that resides throughout childhood; into adolescence; and finally reaching a maturation (of sorts) in adulthood. With respect to adulthood, the disease is so advanced that new and stronger composite strains have most likely been produced. Scary.

    “I guess I’ve always known this, and that’s why I buy organic. It really is hard to break 23 years of conditioning… milk and cookies still sound good to me.” I completely understand and respect that. Once conditioned, it’s not an easy task to change paths. With education and a calibration of our moral compass, our ways can be altered (for the better).

    “You know, maybe that’s why people have created soymilk. They don’t want to drink real milk, but they still want their milk & cookies and cereal.” Interesting. I feel that it’s all part of the process in ‘upgrading’ our conditioning. But conditioning is not necessarily a negative thing. For many people, comfort is found in the many mock animal products. If a safe alternative exists, I see no reason to worry. As we’re both aware of though, ‘safe alternatives’ are few and far between when speaking of many of the commercial soy-based products. I admittedly consume some of the commercial soy products but only as a treat :)

    Once again, thank you for your comments dianarn.

    Ethan Handur

    November 7, 2007 at 8:02

  9. dianarn,

    “Men who consume one to two servings of soymilk per day are 70 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer than men who don’t.” – The Food Revolution by John Robbins

    As promised, the reference for the above factual statement is:

    Jacobsen, B.K., et al., “Does High Soy Milk Intake Reduce Prostate Cancer Incidence?” Cancer Causes, Control 9 (1998): 553-7.

    I apologize for responsding two weeks after my initial post. The delay was due to Robbin’s aforementioned book just becoming available at the local library (November 18). Once again, I encourage you to read it as it has had a profound effect on my life (I can only hope the same for others).

    Be Well.

    Ethan Handur

    November 19, 2007 at 1:51

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