Hello Erwin. Merry Christmas. Welcome aboard.
My vegan journey started 20 years ago when I ditched dairy. I replaced milk with soymilk because it was about the only plant milk available back then and I heard it was healthy.
As i transitioned to being more vegan I started getting concerned with protein and increased my consumption of soy milk and started including tofu in my meal plans, too.
However, I kept hearing "bad things" about soy. And eventually decided to do some research. Studying and understanding nutrition had been an interest of mine for years. Plus I actually enjoy a little research and analysis from time to time.
Going down the rabbit hole of myths, misconceptions, and outright lies about soy was my first first-hand experience with deliberate and accidental ..... um.... fake news.
If you hang around the internet long enough you encounter several common claims. Soy causes cancer, breast cancer, thyroid cancer, man boobs, and hormone issues.
If you are interested in reading the articles yourself (which is never a bad idea - after all, you don't know me from a hole in the wall), I have a folder of bookmarks I could post).
- There is little to no evidence that soy causes cancer. In fact, there is evidence that its consumption is related to a reduction of cancer risk.
- The breast cancer thing is more complicated and somewhat murky. there may be evidence that it reduces the risk of breast cancer but not always. The main takeaway is that more study is warranted.
- The thyroid cancer was my favorite thing to research. Soy milk has never been associated with thyroid cancer. But over 50 years ago there was a small study (like a dozen patients) in India with soymilk formula and infants. One infant developed a thyroid issue. Despite the results never being replicated (and dozens of attempts were made) you still see thyroid cancer and soymilk being linked. And... to this day you see that soymilk is not recommended as infant formula.
- Man boobs was another great example. Men's health ran an article on it. I still believe that it was mostly a result of lazy reporting but there may have been some dairy industry influence involved. Years and years later Men's Health finally printed an apology for spreading the rumor. Yes, there was a guy who grew man boobs. but he was obese, and maybe mentally unstable - he drank quarts of soymilk each day. And as far as i could tell there has only been that one case of manboobs that has been verified.
- The hormone stuff is something that I honestly don't fully understand. But soymilk does not contain hormones. There is a chemical called a phytoestrogen that our cells can mistake for estrogen but does not act like estrogen. It does bind to the cells that have estrogen receptors. It seems like it has been linked to relieving some of the symptoms of menopause and also reducing breast cancer.
On the protein issue. Damn, I have written in response to this so often that I should just do a copy and paste. Maybe this time.
I go to a gym a few mornings a week and sometimes talk to some of the guys there and they all overestimate their protein requirements. Regular people only need around .36 grams of protein per pound of body weight (give or take a few hundredths). (sorry you'll have to convert to kg on your own). the guys in the gym always talk about numbers between one and two. That is at least twice as much as they need. Although to be a little bit fair if you are trying to bulk up you probably do need more. But only as much as .8 g/lb
Maybe a better way of thinking about protein is as a percentage of your calories. I think between 20 and 30 percent is well established. The nice thing about this technique is that it works especially good for athletes. The more training you do, the more calories you burn. The more calories you consume, the higher the number of grams of protein you get. assuming you keep your protein intake in the same general proportion.
As a vegan, I find getting my average protein intake over 20% to be a bit challenging. Most veggies are under 20%. But thank goodness for soymilk and tofu which are both way over 20%.