AskNadia: Is Soy Bad for Me?

Dear Nadia,

I have decided to start replacing some of my protein meals with soy.

Is soy bad for me?


Portland Oregon

Dear Janet,

Plant-based foods are good for lowering your cholesterol and believe to have some benefits to a healthy heart in addition to strengthening bones. This is good news for people with osteoporosis.

Soy is also believed to lower blood sugars.

The two most common concerns with consuming soy products are the possible link to breast cancer and thyroid.

The Breast Cancer Link:

The research is mixed about breast cancer. Some say if you have a genetic disposition for breast cancer, you should err on the conservative side and not use soy in your diet.

Others argue that the benefit of soy for strengthening bones and a healthy heart outweighs the concern because the increased probability of getting a tumor is insignificant.

The Thyroid Link:

Many soy studies are based on consumptions amounts that are unrealistic to the average consumer. There is no real evidence that soy benefits your thyroid or adversely impacts your thyroid. However, for people with iodine deficiency, soy can add to your deficiency.

Dr Mark Hymen says, “There’s no doubt that soy can affect your thyroid gland — the real question is, how much does it take? If you’ve read that soy is bad for your thyroid, you are probably reading claims based on a few poorly-designed studies that have been blown out of proportion.

Instead, consider this: A review of the research found no significant effects of soy on the thyroid except in people who are iodine-deficient — a condition that is rare in this country.

Another well-designed study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (iii) studied the effect of realistic amounts of soy protein on hormones, including thyroid hormone. It found that soy had no significant effects on these hormones.

Based on my assessment of this and other research, I am convinced that normal amounts of traditional soy foods pose no risk to thyroid function.”

Soy and Your Blood Sugars:

The Mayo Clinic reports that soy can decrease blood sugars. Caution is necessary for people who take oral medication or injectable medication to lower their blood sugars.

Reach out to your healthcare professional to discuss your consumption of soy and how it may impact your medications. There are other considerations for soy that include adverse reactions to certain medications. Including over the counter products like ibuprofen.

You might also be interested in reading our article on how other foods can adversely impact you medications-


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About Nadia:

Nadia was not only born into a family with diabetes but also married into one. She was propelled at a young age into “caretaker mode,” and with her knowledge of the scarcity of resources, support, and understanding for people with diabetes, co-founded Diabetes Interview now Diabetes Health magazine.

Nadia holds 11 nominations for her work as a diabetes advocate.

Her passion for working in the diabetes community stemmed from her personal loss. She has used her experience as a caretaker to forge a career in helping others.

Diabetes Health contributes free copies of the magazine to healthcare professionals who use the publication as an educational resource for patients with living with diabetes.










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