Soy is a legume that lauded by nutrition experts for its numerous benefits such as being a plant protein that’s cholesterol-free and vegan-friendly. However, some dieticians and experts claim that soy is not good for male reproductive hormones.
They argue that soy contains estrogen which diminishes men’s testosterone levels, and this leads to low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, depression, reduced muscle mass, and a host of other problems.
So what’s the truth about soy intake in men? Are soybeans and their byproducts such as soy milk, tofu, and soy sauce bad for the male reproductive system or is this just a misconception? Well, let’s dig deeper:
Is Soy Bad for Men?
The answer is NO! Soy and its products are not bad for men. The most common misconception about soy is that it causes hormonal imbalances in men.
In a past study conducted on male animals to ascertain the effects of soy on the reproductive system, one set of animals was fed on soy while another group ate regular plant protein.
Findings indicated that there were no adverse effects on the reproductive system of male animals that ate soy protein.
Dietary Cholesterol and Testosterone
Another research was conducted to analyze the relationship between soy and male reproductive hormones, including testosterone. The findings concluded that soy did not have any significant effects on testosterone levels.
So, regular intake of soy will not cause adverse effects such as a reduced sex drive, erectile dysfunction, increased estrogen levels, or other reproductive issues that have been linked to soy in the past.
While testosterone synthesis starts with cholesterol, the cholesterol involved is the one that comes from internal body sources—it is not dietary. Therefore, soy being cholesterol-free and having low levels of saturated fat does not affect the production of male hormones in the body.
Is Tofu Bad for You?
Just as soy is not harmful to men, soybean products such as tofu and soy milk are also harmless to the body. Tofu is made from coagulated soy milk, and the product is mostly used in cooking.
Tofu and soy milk are both healthy sources of plant protein. They have low levels of saturated fat and are cholesterol free. Tofu and soy milk are excellent substitutes for individuals looking to eliminate unhealthy cholesterol from their diet.
Soy Protein for Building
Is it okay to use soy protein as a substitute of whey protein for bodybuilding? The answer is yes. Soy protein is as useful as whey protein in bodybuilding. It contains amino acids which help increase muscle strength and density.
Soy contains isoflavones which produce antioxidant effects to reduce muscle soreness and inflammation after exercise. For these reasons, soy protein is excellent for use as a pre- and post-workout drink for bodybuilders. Incorporating both soy and whey proteins into your workout regimen can help you enjoy the best of both worlds.
Dangers of Soy
As we have seen, a lot of controversy surrounds the use of soy. The legume has numerous benefits for both men and women, but this does not mean that it has no drawbacks. While a moderate intake of soy per day is healthy for the body, excessive consumption of the bean can have adverse effects.
First, specific forms of soy, especially those used in food bars and supplements have been linked to increased risk of breast cancer. However, phytoestrogens in whole soy foods can protect you from breast cancer. Accordingly, individuals are encouraged to buy foods made from whole soybeans such as tofu, soy milk, tempeh, and soy yogurt.
Soy is an excellent source of plant protein. It has numerous benefits, but there is a lot of misconception surrounding its use in men. As discussed above, soy is safe for use by both men and women.
However, certain processed forms of the product can be harmful to your health. If you have concerns about the consumption of soy or its effects on your reproductive health, don’t hesitate to consult a doctor.