Is Soy Good for You — Or Not?

The Short Answer from a family medicine physician

Q: Is soy good for you or not? I’ve heard conflicting reports.

I wouldn’t shy away from incorporating this lean plant protein into a healthy, Mediterranean-style diet. Research suggests that soy may help lower cholesterol, reduce cancer risk, reduce menopausal hot flashes and provide other health benefits.

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But I would advise moderation. The data from soy studies has been inconclusive.

For example, about 10 years ago, research suggested that taking soy for hot flashes might increase breast cancer risk. But those studies typically involved high doses of soy and were conducted in mice, not in humans. Later studies found no link between eating soy in moderation and breast cancer risk.

So until the evidence is clearer, I advise my patients to eat moderate amounts of soy.

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— Family medicine physician Michael Rabovsky, MD

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