All about soy milk in one place a popular dairy alternative in the west – has long been consumed as a traditional breakfast beverage in China, Japan and other parts of Asia. In many countries, people with lactose intolerance often choose soy milk, as do vegans and those who regard it as a healthier version of cow’s milk.
But the advertised benefits of soybean health raise some questions. Soy is a common food allergen and many brands of soy milk purchased from stores contain sugar, enhancers and other dubious additives.
What is Soy Milk?
A vegetable-based beverage called soy milk is prepared by boiling soybean in water, then grinding and squeezing to separate insoluble fiber from the resulting liquid. Commercial soy milk ranges from mild to rich and sweet. Some brands use thickeners to add a creamy mouthfeel associated with full-fat dairy products.
Soy milk contains a similar amount of protein per serving, making it more nutritious to cow’s milk than other plant milk such as almonds, rice and coconut.
How to Use Soy Milk |
Soy milk can be a substitute for cow’s milk in coffee drinks, cereals, for yogurt or ice cream, in distemper and in a one-to-one ratio in cookies, although the taste and texture may not be quite the same. If you use sweetened soy milk, you may need to adjust the sugar otherwise. For savory dishes, sweetened soy milk usually works best and you will get better results in dishes that do not rely on the creaminess of whole milk dairy products.
Soy milk brands abound in grocery stores, but you can better control the ingredients if you make soy milk yourself.
How does soy milk taste?
Asian soy milk retains a remarkable aroma of beans, but soy milk produced for Western markets loses some of it when pasteurized for long-term packaging; added sugars and other natural and artificial flavors further mask the taste of soy. Fans of soy milk describe the aroma as nut or somewhat herbaceous.
Storage of soy milk
Soy milk from the grocery store should be stored in the refrigerator, whether open or not; unopened soy milk in a stable container may be stored at room temperature for a long time, but must be immediately cooled when opened. Use any open soy milk for eight to 10 days.
You can freeze soy milk so that it does not spoil, but this significantly degrades the quality. This procedure affects both taste and texture.
Nutritional value and health benefits of soy milk
Soy milk contains an average of 7 grams of protein per 1 cup serving, which puts it exactly on par with cow’s milk. But one disadvantage of using soy milk as a substitute for cow’s milk is the relatively low levels of calcium in soy. It contains about 1/4 of the calcium found in cow’s milk.
Enriched brands have a comparable amount of calcium, but human bodies do not absorb enriched calcium as easily as natural ones. Keep in mind that unless labeled “unsweetened”, soy milk purchased from the store most likely contains added sugar. Some brands healthy benefits of soy milk contain fillers such as carrageenan, an indigestible thickener accused of causing inflammation in the digestive tract.
Advertising campaigns show the health benefits of cow’s milk – it is high in protein, vitamin D and calcium and is a source of good fat. Fat provides energy and makes you feel full long after you eat them, which can help you lose weight.
Soy milk is naturally low in cholesterol-free saturated fat. In contrast, breast milk contains about 20 milligrams of cholesterol per cup. So for people with high cholesterol or certain types of heart problems, soy milk can be a smart alternative to cow’s milk.
Myths about soy milk
Soy milk contains naturally occurring isoflavones or phytoestrogens, a compound derived from plants with “estrogenic activity” that mimics the effects of natural estrogen. Some studies have linked high consumption of phytoestrogens and an increased risk of some cancers, but with no clear evidence.