Soy, what’s the dealio?
Posted on January 26, 2012
I have a small problem that has manifested itself in the form of a shiny gold card, labeled with my name. It chips away at my bank account in $10 and $20 increments. As hard as I try to keep that card tucked away deep in my wallet, it manages to resurface time after time… after time. That dark soy peppermint misto had me at first swig.
My thoughts each morning are a variation of the following: “It’s okay, you were up late last night, you need it,” “You have worked really hard this week, you deserve it,” “It’s morning, and it’s coffee… let’s go get some!” As hard as I try and stay away from that warm, green logo that shines like a beacon on my dark, gloomy walk into the office, I just can’t do it. I’m tired and want sometime to make my morning better. Starbucks to the rescue.
Sometimes on the weekends, when I’m really lucky, my gem of a roommate glides into my room delivering my cup of happiness to me in bed. Did I mention she’s my hero? And no, I didn’t also make her pick up my dry cleaning… although she does look like she could be my personal assistant in this photo. Oh wait, I can’t afford an assistant because I spend all of my money on freaking COFFEE. I don’t hate it. (Sorry for the blurry pic. Clearly I was shaking from excitement.)
So, if it weren’t already obvious where I was going with this… I drink a lot of coffee with soy milk. As I question anything I drink/eat (except for the Cool Ranch Doritos I inhale while anxiously watching The Bachelor), I wanted to know more about soy milk. This lead me to the great soy debate: is soy bad for you? Does too much of it cause certain types of cancer? Well, what doesn’t cause cancer?
As soy contains hormones, it’s obviously important to drink your soy mistos in moderation… however, more recent research has shed a little more light on the validity of the claim.
Soy contains a compound called phytoestrogens, which are found in soybeans (phyto means “plant”). Phytoestrogens are similar to estrogen, which is a hormone found in a woman’s bloodstream, but is a much weaker hormone than estrogen. Phytoestrogens attach to the estrogen receptors in a woman’s body, blocking her natural estrogens from being able to attach and stopping estrogen’s cancer-inducing effects.
In fact, women who include these plant-based hormones in their routine are less likely to develop breast cancer, compared with other women. In January 2008, researchers at the University of Southern California found that women averaging one cup of soymilk or about one-half cup of tofu daily have about a 30 percent less risk of developing breast cancer, compared with women who have little or no soy products in their diets.
And what about the guys? After drinking all these hormones that are typically found in a woman’s bloodstream, you would think they might start applying the newest NARS lipstick shade of the month, slide on their $990 pair of high heels, and start complaining about how bloated they feel. Actually, au contraire my friends… these hormones are very weak, and have no adverse effects on men. In fact, they may aid in preventing cancer: an analysis of 14 studies, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, showed that increased intake of soy resulted in a 26 percent reduction in prostate cancer risk. Researchers found a 30 percent risk reduction with non-fermented soy products such as soy milk and tofu. (source)
You know what this means? I now have a valid excuse to trot into Starbucks every morning… I’m curing cancer! Win, win.