Is soy milk bad for you?
Before diving into the topic is soy milk bad for you? let’s go back in time to where all this began, so you can appreciate the longevity and value of soy itself.
Soybeans were one of the most important crops in East Asia long before written records began.
There is substantiated evidence that soybean (Glycine max) was domesticated between 7000 and 6600 BC in China, between 5000 and 3000 BC in Japan, and 1000 BC in Korea.
Soybeans were introduced to Java in the Malay Archipelago circa around the 13th century or probably earlier.
Has time passes, in the 17th century through their trade with the Far East, soybeans and their products were traded by European traders
(Portuguese, Spanish, and Dutch) in Asia, and supposedly reached Indian Subcontinent by this period.
By the 18th century, soybeans were introduced to the Americas and Europe from China.
Soy was introduced to Africa from China in the late 19th century and is now widespread across the continent and all over the world.
They are now a major crop in Brazil, United States, Argentina, India, and China.
How Soybean Is Grown
The first stage of growth is germination (Germination refers to the process by which an organism grows from a seed or a spore),
a method that first becomes apparent as a seed(s)emerges.
This is the first stage of root growth and occurs within the first 48 hours under adequate growing conditions.
The first photosynthetic (the process by which green plants and some other organisms use sunlight to synthesize nutrients from carbon dioxide and water) structures,
the first plant structure to emerge from the soil.
The first true leaves develop as a pair of single blades(leaves). Subsequent to this first pair, mature form compound leaves with three blades.
Mature trifoliolate leaves, having three to four leaflets per leaf, are often between 2.4 – 5.9 inches long and 0.79–2.76 inches broad.
Under ideal conditions, stem growth continues, producing new leaves every four days. Before flowering, roots can grow 1.9 cm (0.75 in) per day. source
Flowering started by day length usually begins once days become shorter than 12.8 hours
This characteristic is highly variable, however, with different varieties reacting differently to changing day length and the amount of sunshine available
Soybeans self-fertile flowers are borne in the axil of the leaf and are white, pink, or purple.
Depending on the soybean variety, leaf growth may cease once flowering begins.
Strains that continue developing after flowering are termed “indeterminates” and are best suited to climates with longer growing seasons like Northern Europe
Often soybeans drop their leaves before the seeds are fully mature.
The shell of the mature bean is hard, water-resistant, and protects the cotyledon and hypocotyl (or “germ”) from damage.
If the seed coat is cracked, the seed will not germinate.
The scar, visible on the seed coat, is called the hilum (colors include black, brown, buff, gray, and yellow) and at one end of the hilum is the micropyle
or small opening in the seed coat which can allow the absorption of water for sprouting.
How soymilk is made
Procuring the raw materials
Soy milk manufacturers very often work directly with farmers so that the best variety of soybean that will produce good soy milk is grown
(one manufacturer gives the farmers the seeds for the soybeans they require).
Generally, soy milk producers seek larger soybeans(which are more per grain than the average beans) called clear Hylem.
Once the soybeans are harvested and brought to the plant, then the beans are cleaned in a grain elevator
( Grain elevators are used to receive, clean, store, and transfer bulk grain. The flow of grain and its processing through the facility cause grain)
or bin on or off-premises.
The process may begin with the blending together of four to six tons of soybeans at one time.
Some factories have two or more production lines running at one time, and thus use several tons of soybeans in a day. source
Soy milk requires only soybeans and water (and steam) for its production
Soy milk is mostly fortified with calcium, vitamin D, and certain B vitamins.
Highly concentrated flavorings, such as vanilla, carob, chocolate, and almond are often added to the finished product to enhance the taste
Many companies add sugar and salt to the drink to make it more palatable to the consumer.
The Manufacturing Process
The soybean is a low acid food (low acid food Vegetables are naturally low in fat and sugar, and they help reduce stomach acid. )
and as such, is a good host for the breeding of harmful bacteria.
Thus, the manufacturing process is “aseptic” (free from contamination caused by harmful bacteria),
meaning that at a certain point in its production,
the soy milk is sealed off from any air because it might introduce dangerous bacteria into the product.
The development of successful, affordable aseptic manufacturing of soy milk has been of tremendous importance in the mass production of this beverage in a safe and clean environment.
The initial phases of the production of soy milk do not have to be sealed off to air;
only later does this happen
Nutritional Facts of Soymilk
There is a wide array of soy milk on the market, and the amount of calories and added sugar will vary depending on what you purchase. Always read the nutrient facts label on your preferred brand’s packaging. The nutrition facts for one cup of a popular organic unsweetened soy milk are displayed below. As shown below, soy milk packs a lot of nutrients into a small cup. It is high in protein, low in sugar, and contains a couple of grams of fiber for only 80 calories. (* The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.)
- The soybeans are steamed and split in half. This loosens the shell of the bean. A vacuum sucks off the softened outer shell
- then the beans must be cooked in order to neutralize a specific enzyme that makes them indigestible to humans
This cooking occurs in the Enzyme Invalidator, in which the de-shelled soybeans are cooked using high pressure,
Water, and high temperature (creating very hot live steam) to invalidate
- The cooked soybeans then transfer into the first rough grinder or mill. Water is added to the machine and the bean pieces are roughly ground in this first milling
- Even though they were grounded once, the cooked soybeans are still coarse. therefore the fine grinder is further used to pulverizes the bean pellets into small particles. The hot slurry is white in color with minuscule particles of insoluble soybean particles.
- A large centrifuge (A centrifuge is a laboratory device that is used for the separation of fluids, gas, or liquid, based on density)is then used to extract the tiny bits of soybean that are insoluble and cannot be included in the finished product. These particles (trash)are separated from the soy milk slurry (A slurry is a mixture of solids denser than water suspended in liquid) using the centrifuge. A rubber roller is then used to press the soy milk slurry against the surface of a drum within the centrifuge, forcing the liquid (milk) inside the drum while the fibers remain on the outside of the drum. The drum is then scraped of these fibers.
The Manufacturing Process (source)
Good quality soybeans are harvested, cleaned, hulled, and pressure cooked. Next, the cooked soybeans are ground by a number of grinders that transform the beans into a milky slurry.
The slurry is placed in a centrifuge that extracts any insoluble bits of beans. The separated soy liquid called jun is blended with vitamins, flavorings, and sugar and then sterilized and homogenized.
The hot milk is cooled and packaged in such a way that it is never exposed to air.
- The jun (Jun, or Xun, is a fermented drink) is injected into large tanks where flavorings, sugar, and vitamins are mixed separately in smaller tanks. Ingredients of the smaller tank are immersed into the larger tanks, thus blending the flavors with the raw milk.
- it is essential that the jun be sealed within the equipment until the end of the manufacturing process
- After the manufacturing process is completed, the mixture is then moved from the sterilizer, the hot milk is sent to the homogenizer. Which breaks down the fat particles and prevents them from separating from the rest of the mixture. In the homogenizer, A homogenizer is a piece of laboratory or industrial equipment used for the homogenization of various types of material, such as tissue, plant, food, soil, and many others,
- Next, the hot milk is piped to the cooling tank. Here, the hot milk passes next to the cooling plates that lower the temperature of the soy milk to room temperature. The cooled milk is sent to the aseptic (sealed) tanks and held here in preparation for packaging. Here, the soy milk is refrigerated, pressurized, and sealed to ensure no bacteria thrives in the milk source
PROS AND CONS
- Soy appears to be beneficial for fertility
- people who ate the most soy experienced significantly fewer hot flashes and night sweats, compared to those who ate the least
- Eating soy in place of meat will probably protect your heart, soy could help lower levels of bad cholesterol
- Soy foods don’t affect thyroid function in people with healthy thyroids
- a great source of protein
- children consumption of soy reduces the risk of bone degradation in later life stages
- Soy milk is rich in omega-3 fatty acids
- lower blood pressure
- It’s a good source of potassium and can be fortified with vitamins A, B-12, and D, as well as calcium
- It contains as much protein as cow’s milk
- It contains very little saturated fat
- Elevated levels of soy may lead to unbalanced hormone levels, which can be a factor in cancer risk.
- Soy foods have been shown to interfere with the body’s absorption of thyroid medication
- soy may create the risk of male infertility soy protein may not be the most effective post-workout supplement of choice.
- Most of the soy produced in the United States comes from genetically modified plants, which means they get more per acre and are more pest-resistant
Frequently asked Questions
Q- Is soy milk bad for you?
A-Short answer NO. Soy milk is said to be a whole soy food and has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and potential heart-protective properties
Q-Is soy milk bad for men?
A-Absolutely not, Soyfoods, including soy milk, are not bad for men. In fact, consuming soy isoflavones (plant chemicals that are part of a class called phytoestrogens) is associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer.
Q-Is soy milk good for you?
A -Short answer YES-soy foods play a role in a cancer-protective diet, but consuming 25 grams of soy protein daily can help decrease “bad” LDL cholesterol
Q- Is soy milk vegan?
A– Yes, soy milk is made from soybeans and water and is fortified with vitamins and minerals. It is vegan.
Q- Is soy milk gluten-free?
A- Yes, soy milk is gluten-free and you can safely drink
Q- Is soy milk have lactose-free?
A-The short answer is Yes- cow’s milk traditionally has lactose. Soy milk doesn’t contain lactose and you can enjoy it even if you are lactose intolerant.