Why I do not drink soy lattes…

Content by: Guy Lawrence

soy latte calories

By 180 Nutrition

Do you hang out in cafes? We do! Do you drink soy lattes? Mmm, we don’t.

This post was inspired by a conversation I had recently in a cafe (of course …) so let me paint a quick picture for you.

The one thing I’m finding as 180 Nutrition continues to grow is that Stu & myself seem to be involved in more meetings. This is actually a compliment and we are always looking at different ways to make them fun and worthwhile.

Our usual criteria is:

  • funky cafe
  • great staff
  • stones throw away from the ocean

Just last week we had the NSW Police S.W.A.T team sitting next to us in a cafe. One of them approached us and it turned out that he uses our 180 protein supplement and also trains CrossFit. We hung out with them for 20min talking everything from CrossFit to diet and gave them bar samples and a t-shirt… relevant? No… Seriously cool? Oh yeah!

I try and stick to one coffee a day and anything after that I reach for the tea – but never the soy.

Turning up at these meetings, I can’t help but notice what different people order. Now I’m a live and let live kind of guy, as I certainly don’t like to judge. But it doesn’t take long before I get asked questions on health and nutrition, it simply comes with the territory.

During a recent conversation, I happened to mention that I ate 1 – 2 avocados a day as I have them in my 180 smoothies. The person I was meeting seemed quite shocked and their instant reaction was ‘what about the fat?’ They felt counting calories and a low fat diet was the way forward. This was said whilst they sipped on their soy lattes with honey (you can read my thoughts on honey & fructose here).

Without wanting to sound like a tool, my reaction was simple. I said I would rather eat half a dozen avocados a day than drink that soy latte. Naturally I had to explain myself as soy has been part of a traditional Asian diet for thousands of years so here are my thoughts on why I don’t drink it…

Why I don’t drink soy latte…

Milk can certainly be a heavily debated topic whether you drink the stuff or not. If you are lactose intolerant and you want a cup of coffee, soy seems like a natural healthy alternative. But here are a few things to consider before you order your next soy latte.

soy beansFirst of all, the soy bean is inedible for human consumption in its natural state:

For human consumption, soybeans must be cooked with “wet” heat to destroy the trypsin inhibitors (serine protease inhibitors). Raw soybeans, including the immature green form, are toxic to humans, swine, chickens, and in fact, all monogastric animals. – Wikipedia

This is very off-putting in itself. And the soy protein isolate, which is the main ingredient you find in many supermarket products is first mixed with an alkaline solution to eliminate fibre, then separated using an acid wash, and finally neutralised in an alkaline solution. The curd is then spray-dried at high temperature to produce a high protein powder. (Nora Gedgaudas).

This doesn’t sound healthy to me…

It get’s worse…

Soy is an estrogenic food. Think about this for a moment.

Isoflavones are a type of phytoestrogen, which is a plant compound resembling human estrogen. These compounds mimic and sometimes block the hormone estrogen, and have been found to have adverse effects on various human tissues. Soy phytoestrogens are known to disrupt endocrine function, may cause infertility, and may promote breast cancer in women.

Drinking even two glasses of soy milk daily for one month provides enough of these compounds to alter your menstrual cycle. Although the FDA regulates estrogen-containing products, no warnings exist on soy. (Dr Mercola)

With this in mind, soy consumption will cause decreased testosterone levels in men. Being a male this really doesn’t appeal either!

And to top it off…

I mentioned in a post recently that I had spent a bit of time with the Weston A. Price foundation. I feel that they are well researched and make for some compelling arguments when it comes to conventional wisdom and nutrition.

Here are some of the other dangers summarised from the Weston A. Price website:

  • High levels of phytic acid in soy reduce assimilation of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc. Phytic acid in soy is not neutralized by ordinary preparation methods such as soaking, sprouting and long, slow cooking. High phytate diets have caused growth problems in children.
  • Trypsin inhibitors in soy interfere with protein digestion and may cause pancreatic disorders. In test animals soy containing trypsin inhibitors caused stunted growth.
  • Soy phytoestrogens disrupt endocrine function and have the potential to cause infertility and to promote breast cancer in adult women.
  • Soy phytoestrogens are potent antithyroid agents that cause hypothyroidism and may cause thyroid cancer. In infants, consumption of soy formula has been linked to autoimmune thyroid disease.
  • Vitamin B12 analogs in soy are not absorbed and actually increase the body’s requirement for B12.
  • Soy foods increase the body’s requirement for vitamin D.
  • Fragile proteins are denatured during high temperature processing to make soy protein isolate and textured vegetable protein.
  • Processing of soy protein results in the formation of toxic lysinoalanine and highly carcinogenic nitrosamines.
  • Free glutamic acid or MSG, a potent neurotoxin, is formed during soy food processing and additional amounts are added to many soy foods.
  • Soy foods contain high levels of aluminum which is toxic to the nervous system and the kidneys.
  • Most soy contains GMOs and is largely genetically modified

You can read more from Weston A. Price regarding soy here.

When in doubt, the first thing I always do is follow the money. If it’s a billion dollar industry, I’m always a little concerned.

From 1992 to 2006, soy food sales increased from $300 million to nearly $4 billion, practically overnight, according to the Soyfoods Association of North America.

Soy is indeed big business, very big business.

From 2000 to 2007, U.S. food manufacturers introduced more than 2,700 new soy-based foods, and new soy products continue to appear on your grocer’s shelves.

So what can I have?

I stick to fermented (not unfermented) soy products such as natto, tempeh and soy sauce. Asian people have been consuming these for centuries, predominately as condiments.

As for a soy latte alternative, if you are drinking it because you are lactose intolerant, then I’d personally have a long black instead.

At the end of the day though, everything I’ve mentioned in this post is simply my opinion from my own experience and research. Everyone has access to the biggest library in the world… Google! Have a poke around and see what you come up with, we’ve love to hear your thoughts.

Recommended websites/reading:

Nora Gedgaudas – Ancestral Health

Healthline – Evidence-based information

Weston A. Price

Dr Mercola

Discover our Superfood Protein Blends Here

Guy Lawrence

This article is brought to you by Guy Lawrence. Guy is a qualified fitness trainer with over 10 years of experience in the health industry. Guy worked at the UTS Fitness Centre in Sydney Australia where he specialised in exercise nutrition and obtained his Certificate in Exercise Nutrition and Certified... Read More

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50 Replies to “Why I do not drink soy lattes…”
Kate Walker says:

Hi Guy

Thank you so much for your post on soy lattes … it was very timely for me, as I have 1-2 soy lattes daily, and I’ve been wondering whether this is healthy or not.

I’m a big fan of your 180 Nutrition protein supplement and also a fan of Sarah Wilson’s IQS program, so I’m constantly working on improving my diet and I find these blogs fascinating. I’m indebted to people like you and Sarah for doing such in-depth research, and then sharing it with the rest of us! Awesome 🙂

Anyway, I’ll be switching to long blacks (or something) from tomorrow onwards … so thanks again.

Cheers, Kate

180nps says:

Thanks Kate. By cutting out the soy lattes I feel you will be doing your health a great service!

florence says:

Interesting article as always, and one that rings true for me! I am an ex-vegan and I initially felt fantastic for years as I was eating mostly a whole food diet. Then as I got lazy and found myself increasingly reliant on processed soy foods (soy milk, soy faux meats of all descriptions, soy yoghurt) I felt unwell. VERY unwell. I truly believe they were doing more damage than good. I’m back on an omnivorous diet and I feel healthier although I have gained quite a shocking amount of weight (almost 10kg in 1 year).
My question is, as an alternative to soy milks, how do you rate almond milk (home made with only almonds, filtered water, sea salt… perhaps a little stevia and/or vanilla extract) compared with dairy milk (0rganic, unhomogenised) in terms of healthfulness? Which would you recommend over the other and why? Thanks in advance and keep up the great work! 🙂

180nps says:

Homemade almond milk is certainly a good alternative. If you are trying to lose weight I’d cut back on the milk even if it is unhomogenised because of the lactose/sugar content will not help the cause… Hope that helps.

Bo says:

Oh man!
Freaking out now.
Have at least 2 cups of soy milk EVERY day… and have had so for the last 8 years or so….
Must. Change. Today.

Donna-Lee says:

Hey Guy,
Thanks for taking the time to put these posts together. I am an avid reader, so I have a great deal of accumulated knowledge – to match the white hairs that my clever stylist covers regularly. Having said that, I continue to read, as i believe that I can always learn something new, or at least add to my knowledge base.
Regards, Donna-Lee

180nps says:

Thanks Donna-Lee… I enjoy writing them 🙂

paula says:

What are your thoughts on lactose free milk, and rice milk as alternatives?

180nps says:

I always check the ingredients of alternative milks, as I’m usually wary of what they put in them…

Shelley says:

I stopped drinking milk as it would irritate my stomach then I tried soy milk which made my face break out in pimples which I found out was common due to the plant based eostrogen u have outlined!
I also found rice milk too sweet and have since been sticking to oat milk as it tastes quite nice. Do u know much about oat milk whether it has any benefits or will it effect my efforts in trying to lose a bit of weight?

Rae says:

I love coffee and as I do not drink milk of any kind (I live a low carb lifestyle) I choose to order long blacks with a side of pure or pouring cream, there is virtually no lactose in cream, and it makes the coffee oh so luxurious. 🙂

180nps says:

I like the sound of that Rae… Will try one in the morning 🙂

Rachel says:

Ooh that sounds lovely

Susie says:

That sounds lovely but extremely hard to get the head around when so used to low fat diet! I’m slowly working on it with foods but love a creamy coffee so might have to give it a try. Love your posts! I take on board everything you offer.

Guy Lawrence says:

Thanks Susie!

Heather says:

Thanks for the idea, I changed from soy to pouring cream on the weekend and found that Aldi now have organic pouring cream with 35% milk fat..it was a delicious addition to my coffee.

Louise says:

Great post! I wish I had known earlier about soy not being such a great alternative for milk. After being told I had a strong intolerance to cows milk I started having soy milk and initially felt fine but with an autoimmune thyroid disease this was the worst thing for me! St least 2 soy lattes a day for 3 years and I wondered why I wasn’t feeling better. Finally stopped the soy and not only am I much better with more energy and don’t get puffy anymore, but my regular 40 day cycle went down to a regular 28-30 day cycle!

Tim says:

Be very careful with the Weston A Price info.

Here’s some well researched counter-arguments – http://zenhabits.net/soy/

For what it’s worth I use WPI (not SPI) and be very careful of Bonsoy – thebonsoydebacle.com.au


Tim says:

Couple of points.

Whilst soy is a big industry, the protein/supplement industry is just as big.

Read some more here: http://www.velonomad.com/articles/nutritition-myths/ (interview with a nutritionist/sports dietician).

With your avos comment – there’s a bucketload of calories (as quality fat, admittedly) in an avocado. I’d certainly not advocate more than 1 for most people as they just won’t burn it off.

I ride anywhere from 200-500km a week, work a farm, run, do weights, surf and still don’t have more than 1.

Russell says:

An interesting reaction to the “estrogen level” claims of soy (which I fully agree with!) is a couple of “scientific” studies suddenly appearing to debunk the claim of testosterone issues in men. As far as I am concerned just the horrendous processing of the soy bean should be enough to put it high on my avoidance list. You could probably push nuclear waste through enough processes to make it “edible” – it still doesn’t make it safe.

Andrew says:

Guy I have one thing to query about this article.

You mentioned that Soy is high in photic acid but aren’t a lot of the ingredients in the 180 products also high in photic acid and therefore guilty of causing deficiencies in minerals if consumed too often throughout the day?

How refreshing to find another bod who thinks the soy industry stinks! Here’s another fact. There is no soy on the earth that isn’t GMO …
They put soy and maize (corn, also GMO) in animal feeds in big commercial feed lots (cruelty, no nutritional value, cheap ass meats) to fatten beef, sheep and pigs. They feed it to milking cows in those big factory farms too. All good reasons to give soy a big miss.
Keep up the good work. :))

Tim says:

Liz, do you think that’s accurate?

Bonsoy is heavily marketed as non GMO as are many others. (Spiral Foods makers of Bonsoy are in trouble at the moment)

Then there’d be a lot of soy in Oz that isn’t GMO. Obviously Monsantos stuff in the USA mostly is, doesn’t mean it is everywhere else.

It’s a good reason to support your local farmer’s market wherever possible.

Tabs says:

Hi Guy,
thanks again for another great article.
“I stick to fermented (not unfermented) soy products such as […] soy sauce.” What about the glutamate in soy sauce and products which is supposed to have bad side effects for the brain including the nervous system, eyes etc.?
Proud of you!!

Donna Martin says:

What do you think about almond milk products? I have been off and on soy milk for sometime and after two weeks away in Thailand not drinking or eating any dairy I found I don’t enjoy it anymore, love my long blacks and if I am feeling decadent adding a dash of cream or full cream milk.

Sam says:

Hi guys,

This is a little scary! I’ve been having 2 soy drinks a day for many years and have been trying to solve lots of health issues, all of which are listed in the side effects of soy above! I will consequently be stopping drinking soy as of today and can’t wait to see the differences. Many thanks for the article!

Erin says:

This is funny – I was on my way to work this morning and wanted to try something different to my usual skim latte – was thinking about getting a soy latte thinking it may be healthier for some reason. I didnt end of up getting the soy latte and sticking to my usual. After reading this I am so glad I didnt go for soy!! Cheers, Erin.

Kat says:

I’m such a soy mocha girl, use to be a daily thing, then cut down to a weekly treat.
I managed to pick myself up a copy of Primal Body Primal Mind by Nora, recommended reading on your site. Great book, wealth of information.
After reading the chapter on soy, well bye bye soy mocha for me, no matter how great it tastes.
I’ll just stick to tea thanks,lol.

kay says:

I was raised on an organic farm. One of the foods I ate heavily was soybeans, edible not for fodder. No GMO in 1960’s. I would eat the young “beans” with the pod, green, like sugar peas. When our crop matured more, I would shell them and eat like peas. In the fall, I pulled up the plants, hit the dry plants against a cement wall, stored them dry in jars using like lentils during the winter.
Now I hear all these horror stories but many seem to be tied to processing and GMO, not fresh from the garden. Are the bean themselves harmful if you grow them yourself?

Melissa says:

Given your view on soy, I take it you avoid all soy products too, such as tofu? I love tofu… now i’m very torn!

Gabrielle says:

I don’t drink powdered soy. I have watched my friends make soy milk and tofu and it nothing like you say the powdered soy Milk is made. You can find Chinese recipes on the net. They are healthy . Most beans have ingredients that are harmful and that is why it is recommended that we soak them overnight. M glad you admitted it was you personal opinion. I was starting to wonder how much you were being paid out to discredit soy. If done the right way as in other beans it is safe. The Chinese have used it for a long time. There was a documentary on it, as did you, trying to discredit it. They said in one part of China people had Deformatives from it. Only they forgot to tell or admit, that toxic wastes had been dumped in that area!!! No I’ll stick with my soy. I’m even going to buy a mackine that will make it for me. Then I can make my own tofu. I feel very well on it when I eat it. In fact I must start eating it again!! Thanks for the reminder.

180nps says:

Thanks for the comment Gabrielle. Whilst I don’t agree with soy, I appreciate there are many that do. Food is a personal choice and I always encourage people to do their own research instead of simply taking the manufactures word for it. Cheers.

stacy says:

They have been drinking/eating soy since the 2nd century in parts of asia. So of course it must be bad for us.

Jess says:

I knew I couldn’t be the only person who isn’t a fan of soy! It makes me feel ill, I stick to almond milk these days for my smoothies.

Tracey says:

OMG! NEVER touching soy again! Thanks so much for your in depth explanation. I will be having ONLY my homemade almond milk (just filtered water and almonds….simple nothing else) or taking my coffee black from now on!

Juan says:

Interesting, have you Heard of shaklee. they sell soy protein,

Rebecca says:

I used to have a large soy latte every day and couldn’t work out why I felt like I was literally dying slowly. I put this down to a food allergy of some sort and spent lots of money visiting various doctors etc trying to identify to cause of this allergy. After visiting a naturopath and being told that soy is highly allergenic I cut the soy lattes out and replaced with oat milk ( there is a lovely barista in my building who was happy to experiment with various alternatives or me and is also happy for us to bring ourown milk for her to use). I feel so much better and even lost 9kg without really trying, and will never touch soy again !

Guy Lawrence says:

That’s awesome to hear Rebecca… Thanks for sharing! My your health journey continue 🙂 Guy

Melissa says:

I have been drinking 1-2 soy lattes everyday as cow’s milk wasn’t agreeing with me. I love coffee, but only with milk, not black. I tried an almond milk latte, but when the milk is heated, it really doesn’t taste good and looks pretty gross too. I think that’s the same with oat milk and rice milk. Any suggestions of what I can have instead? Should I go back to normal lattes? Not ready to give up coffee just yet…

Guy Lawrence says:

Personally I have a long black with a splash of coconut cream. I’m used to the taste now and look forward to it – Cheers, Guy.

Rachel says:

Just wondering your thoughts on the lactose free milks out there?

Admin Angela says:

Hi Rachel,

All lactose free milks are not made equally. I think this one is a good option http://www.barambahorganics.com.au/organic-milk/lactose-free-milk/. Hope that helps.

Angela 🙂

Neets says:

Great post. Thanks for sharing. I recently found out that I was lactose and fructose intolerant. I turned to soy milk (before I saw a proper dietician) and was forever bloated. Now I know why.

leoni says:

Soy is eostrogenic sure, but there are three different oestrogens and soy has the good one. please get your facts straight before scaremongering. The research about soy being cancer inducing was misread by the uninformed natural forming eostrogens are actually protective for breast cancer. Just be picky about the brand you choose and make sure its organic and non GMO. So those who enjoy a soy latte go for it. Those who enjoy a milk watch out as the milk is very dangerous with xenoestrogens caused by what the farmers feed and tread there dairy cows with. Main stream airy cows eat toxic food and are given antibiotics and hormones to produce more milk. So enjoy your milk as long as it is organic.

Lauren Bruins says:

Thanks for the post. I have switched from drinking cows milk to soy because I have done a lot of research around animal protein and decided less in my diet was a good idea.
However, I don’t feel great about switching to soy because I still regard it as a high processed food and try to stay away from anything that isn’t in its original form (or close to). I have tried long black and do enjoy it – I love coffee – but its just not the same as a milky one!
What are your thoughts on coconut milk? Particularly Coco Quench by Pure Harvest (doesn’t have the nasties from what I can tell).

Admin Angela says:

Hi Lauren,

Yes coconut milk is a good option. Coco Quench doesn’t have any nasties. Angela 🙂

kathleen says:

Im sorry, but this post contains much inaccurate information.
This post waa made in 2012, the year where pretty much everyone thought soy caused breast cancer.
However, in many recent studies by doctors, the compound in soy that “acts” like estrogen is actually not harmful to us. It may have a similar makeup to estrogen, but it does NOT act like it.
There are plenty of studies that prove soy does not influence the growth of any type of cancer, but actually decreases the growth.
In asian countries where people tend to consume a lot of soy, it was found that women had a 25% LESS chance of getting breast cancer compared to someone who ate a small amount of soy.

Also, you say it’s so horrible that since the soybean in its natural state is toxic, it’s ridiculous we eat it.
I’m going to assume you eat meat. Is any kind of meat in its natural state edible or non toxic? Well unless you were some sort of savage beast, I’m sure your not going to rip flesh out of a live cow with your bare teeth. Meat is HIGHLY processed (and it is a horrible process, I must say) and even after all the slaughtering and packaging is done, you still need to cook it because it can make you sick if it’s not cooked right! So I feel that is an invalid point you have.

Thank you and I hope you take this into consideration because there are actual facts out there instead of a conversation you had in a cafe.

Travis says:

Bonsoy is a fermented form of soy milk. adhering to traditional Japanese processes..using organic non gmo beans.

sofia says:

And the arguments continue to rage. Is it good or is it bad??
I stopped drinking it for years out of fear re cancer, hormones etc….; recently I’ve read position statements from reputable sources saying it was all bollocks and its now ok (like eggs used to be bad; now they’re good…)
What the heck????
I do think milk is the less processed/more natural product; especially products that are organic & unhomogenised… but sometimes I get sick of dairy and have Bonsoy instead, 1 or 2 a day now and then. I have no ill effects from either and I refuse to feel guilty when there is no solid evidence like reputable clinical trials just very small studies. There are more big studies that prove beneficial effects of soy rather than negative. PS You don’t think milk/dairy is big business????

Well, this is great to read. I learned so many things after reading this. Thanks so much for sharing!

Comments are closed.